In today’s tough economy, B2B Marketers are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. If you need to squeeze more juice out of your search marketing budget, consider implementing two proven techniques designed to better utilize limited funds and improve marketing ROI: geographic targeting and ad scheduling.
In this two-part series, I’ll explain how to implement each of these campaign targeting techniques. Today’s column focuses on the benefits of geographic targeting—even for a U.S. based national PPC programs.
Analyze results based on searcher location
Have you exhausted all of the typical PPC best practices, yet still need to improve campaign performance? Consider this: You may be spending your money in all the wrong places… literally.
Most B2B marketers, who strive to reach a national audience, run only nationally-targeted PPC campaigns. And typically they don’t take the time to analyze campaign results by searcher location.
It’s time to dig deeper! This type of geo-analysis just might be the key to more efficient media spend and improved results. It can also deliver a significant competitive advantage.
There are several tools that enable marketers to collect geographic data on searchers’ locations. For this article, I will focus on Google’s Geographic Report.
Geographic reporting tools
From the Google AdWords Report Center marketers can pull a Geographic Report for any/all campaigns and ad groups. Google provides this data by day. From there, marketers can export all of this information into Excel and create/analyze a summary of geographic results. I recommend analyzing at least six months of historical data—a year is even better—to account for possible seasonal anomalies.
Within campaigns and ad groups, analyze results by searchers’ geographic location (determined by IP address). For nationally-targeted campaigns, you can view geographic data by country, region, metro and city. I recommend analyzing results by state first. Take a look at various success metrics such as volume of conversions, cost per conversion, and conversion rate.
You’ll likely find some interesting results. Very rarely do national campaigns perform equally well across all regions.
Isolate the best and worst performing locations
What to do with this data? I recommend that you create individual, location-specific campaigns for the best performing locations and eliminate (or greatly reduce your investment in) under-performing locations.
For example, let’s say you find that the nationally-targeted campaign is performing very well in the state of California but not so well in Texas. Here’s how to proceed.
- Duplicate your national campaign
- Set the geo-targeting in the new campaign to California only
- Exclude California from the original campaign
Marketers need to decide how important it is to serve ads across the entire nation. Some companies feel they must have a PPC presence in every state. If this is the case, I recommend excluding Texas from the national campaign and creating a separate Texas-targeted state campaign with a lower budget and reduced bids. This approach ensures that ads are still being displayed to searchers in this state, but you’re not wasting as much money.
If you don’t need a national presence, simply exclude Texas from the original national campaign, so that no money is spent in this underperforming region.
Spend your money in all the right places
This type of geo-analysis allows you to track results and optimize campaigns based on state-specific results. And most importantly, marketers can allocate PPC budgets granularly, with more money dedicated to the best performing regions and less money (or no money) dedicated to the worst-performing locations.
Bottom line: Make sure you’re spending your dollars in all the right places! In the next column, I’ll show you how to analyze whether you’re spending your money at the right time.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.