Pay per click advertising is a game of numbers.
You need to constantly find ways to improve your return on ad spend (ROAS), especially if you have a tight budget and need to make it go further to win leads and customers. You want to ensure that every single cent is working towards your goal without driving up your cost per click.
That's where geo-targeting can work for you.
Targeting the entire world with your PPC ads may seem like a good idea, but in reality it's not the smartest strategy. Your ads don’t need to be seen by everyone, everywhere.
A well-targeted local PPC strategy can ensure your message is getting in front of the right people - in other words, those who are most interested in your products and services, and are most likely to convert.
In this article, you'll learn how to create a geo-targeted local PPC campaign that drives the best return on ad spend.
What is geo-targeting and Local PPC?
Geo-targeting, or local PPC, is a paid advertising strategy as part of your digital marketing that is designed to target an audience within a specific geographic area. By using geo-targeting strategies in Google Ads, you can reach potential customers in a specific location with your relevant message or offer.
Why target customers by geographical location?
A geo-targeted PPC campaign can bring tons of advantages to businesses.
First, by creating your ad copy and landing page using location-specific content and offers, you are more likely to engage customers. Your content will resonate with them, perhaps because you are using terms or keywords that only locals would know. If you are doing this with your PPC campaigns, and your competitors aren't, potential customers in this location are more likely to choose you.
Location targeting is a huge tactic for mobile search.
At least half of all mobile searchers are looking for local results, and 61% of those searches will lead to a conversion.
Those are big numbers, with huge potential for local businesses. Now consider that local search results are more likely to lead to a visit to a physical store within 24 hours, and you have another reason to get local with your campaigns.
Another reason for local PPC ads?
If your ad and landing page are more appealing to users, it looks better to Google too. This can help you improve your ad Quality Score, which means you can drive a better ad placement and lower cost per click - all of which helps your return on ad spend.
How to set up location targeting optimization in Google Ads
Setting up location targeting for your Google Ads is easier than you might think - and that's because Google Ads offers a range of options to suit your specific business goals.
You can target users by location according to these criteria:
Countries: Target whole countries where you sell your product or service. This targeting approach is generally used by larger companies and enterprises that operate in broad geographical areas.
Areas within a country: Target states, cities, or postal codes within the same country. This is a good option if your business only works in a specific state or area of the country.
Multiple locations: Target a group of locations, up to huge 1000 locations within one country.
Radius of location: Select a radius around a specific location. For example, if you own a brick-and-mortar store, and know that customers will travel up to 50km to your store, you might choose a 50km radius around your physical address. This form of geotargeting is great for driving foot traffic to your location or reaching people for delivery. If you are a local business providing delivery to a certain radius around your postal code, you can specify that as your radius.
How to set up local PPC campaigns
Here's what you need to do to set up local PPC ads:
Select your campaign in Google Ads, click on “Settings” and choose “Locations”.
Click on “Edit” button under locations to set your targeting options.
Click on the search tab and start typing in your location. It will offer a drop-down menu of relevant matches to choose from.
To the right of the location suggestion, Google Ads will show you the estimated reach. This is how many users in this particular location (or people who are interested in this location) fit within your targeting settings.
Remember, the data is based on the number of signed-in users on Google.
You can choose to Target or Exclude each location you click on in the drop-down menu:
Target allows you to add those locations to your targeted areas list.
Exclude allows you to exclude these areas and prevent your ads from appearing in those specific locations, which saves your PPC ad budget.
Advanced optimizations for Local PPC ads
If your business delivers within a selected radius, or you're a local business with a client base within a radius around the business, some advanced optimizations will help target your PPC campaigns even more precisely.
First, click “Advanced Search” and a pop-up window will appear giving you the option to search for locations to target or exclude.
This includes search by radius, aka "proximity targeting".
This is where you can set a distance radius around a specific location using the Radius option. Enter a location that will be the center of the radius (such as your store location), then specify the distance around it that you are going to target in miles (mi) or kilometers (km).
Next, you can also add multiple locations with Google Ads. Click “Add locations in bulk”, then type or paste in up to one thousand areas at a time to target and exclude in bulk.
These locations can be countries, cities, postal codes and more.
By default, your Google Ads will be shown to users based on where they are likely to be physically located or the places they are interested in.
However, you can override this by using the suggested location options to limit your PPC ads to appear only for one type of location.
How to make Location Bid Adjustments
Are you targeting multiple locations in one country? To get the best return on ad spend, it's worth working out the potential of each location in terms of CPC and based on the demand for your services in those locations.
There are tools that let you do this, like the SEMrush CPC Map tool.
This tool shows an interactive map that displays the average CPC for one of 17 industries, including online banking, travel, real estate, insurance, etc., in a particular state or region. You can use it for mutual countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, India, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Russia, and South Africa.
You can also use the map tool to check the average volume of queries related to an industry in different locations.
Let's say there is a low demand for your services in Las Vegas, and the CPC is high, you can choose not to target this state with your local PPC campaign.
Simply create your local PPC campaign with bid modifications at the state level based on:
How well those states perform for your industry
Cost of advertising in those locations
Actionable geo-targeting tips for smarter Local PPC
As with any PPC strategy, it pays to test, experiment and monitor the results of your local PPC ads to get the best results.
To help get the maximum return on your budget and marketing efforts, use these top tips for local PPC campaigns:
1. Exclude any locations where customers will not be
Location exclusion is just as crucial to the success of your campaign as choosing the locations you want to target. Why waste money on the wrong audience? Location exclusion can also be an effective way to avoid high demand target locations.
Simply use the exclusion option in Google Ads to prevent your ads from being shown in parts of your targeted areas. So if you know your services aren't required in Tampa, Florida but you still want to reach the rest of Florida, you can exclude Tampa.
2. Include location-specific keywords in your ads
Consider how people are searching for your business. Some people type in a location-specific search, by adding a city or location to the search query. For example, they might search "real estate Seattle".
You want your ad to match the search query. By including location-specific terms in your ads you can hone in on your target audience and even remove the unqualified traffic who will never convert.
This is also where you can experiment and use different location terms, such as tourist destinations and even street names. It's all about matching the user intent - people who see your geographically relevant ads and click on them will be more qualified and more likely to convert into new customers.
3. Use local terms and phrases
Speak your customers' language. If you want to target local customers and really resonate with them, use words and phrases in your ads that only they will know. In other words, sound local. For example, think about foodie terms that only they use, or slang that is hyper-local to that area.
The trick here is to do your research - look at local magazines and newspapers, forums and social media sites.
4. Enable local extensions in your ads
Ad extensions are extremely beneficial to your paid marketing campaigns, and especially so for local ads. Try these two ad extension types:
Location extensions: Show your business address, phone number, and a map of your location on your ad. You need to ensure that your Google My Business (GMB) profile is super accurate and up to date with the right information. It needs to be linked to the ad, as your location extensions are based on your GMB profile.
Call extensions: This extension lets you include a phone number in your ad so people can call you straight away (if on a device that can make calls) or see a phone number. There's no better way to get people to take immediate action from your ad! A handy tip for call extensions is to schedule your phone number to show only during your business hours, so you don't have people call you when nobody is there to answer.
Test and monitor different ad extensions to see which ones work best for your ads.
5. Find local insights
Google Trends is a great way to find out which locations are interested in what you offer. The Google Trends tool is typically used for SEO and content marketing, but advertisers can use it to refine their local ad campaigns. Start by seeing where a particular keyword is most popular based on country, city, region, etc.
Another way to identify local trends is to watch local news, local events, influencers and personalities. You're looking for events that will spike demand for products and services like yours. This hyper-local knowledge will also help you create relevant, targeted ads that will resonate with consumers.
Over to you
Let's face it, your PPC ads don't need to be seen by everyone on the planet. Even the most popular products and services you’re advertising will be limited to a handful of countries, cities, or regions at most. So why pay to have your products seen by everyone, when you can optimize your local PPC ad campaigns for specific locations?
Going local with your PPC ads is the best way to maximise your budget and get the best value for money. Try local PPC ad campaigns today.
Looking to improve your ROAS? Speak to our Growth Gurus today to get insights on your campaigns with a free audit.