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Geographic Targeting In An Enhanced Campaign World
AdWords enhanced campaigns will force many advertisers to change their campaign structures. One of the benefits that have been touted for enhanced campaigns is that you will need fewer campaigns, thus making AdWords easier to manage.
For mobile targeting, this is true, as the ability to target mobile devices is now gone. However, for the targeting features that are left, such as location targeting, you might not want to consolidate your campaigns just for easier management.
In today’s column, we will examine how locations affect your campaign structure and if you should change your structure to match the new enhanced campaign benefits.
Location Bid Modifiers
Most accounts do not have the same conversion rates by geography. In some cases, the changes are small; but in other cases, the changes can be quite dramatic.
In this instance, the CPA of San Antonio is double that of Philadelphia. Therefore, we would not want to bid the same for each of these locations. Before enhanced campaigns, in order to bid separately by location, we would need to create a campaign for each location and set bids based upon the keyword CPA by region.
With enhanced campaigns, this will not always be necessary. One of the great new features is bid modifiers based upon locations. With bid modifiers, you can automatically adjust your bid for each location being targeted.
For instance, we can set our keyword bids as normal based upon some global CPA numbers, and then tell AdWords we would like to bid 32% higher for the Philadelphia region and 39% lower for the San Antonio region.
Before you can set a bid modifier for each location, you must add them to your campaign targeting section. If you don’t add each location to your campaign targeting, then you will not be able to set a bid modifier by location.
The good news is that this is very simple. You set bids as normal and then automatically adjust your bid by region.
The main limitation is that this is a campaign-only setting. If you have some keywords that do better in San Antonio than Philadelphia, but overall San Antonio is worse so you’d want to use a negative bid modifier, you cannot exclude keywords from the bid modifiers nor have bid modifiers at the keyword level. Of course, having that level of control would be incredibly difficult to manage by hand, so using campaign bid modifiers is a nice middle step.
The bad news is that these changes just affect the keyword bids for the entire campaign. They do not allow you to adjust the budget or ads for each region. In some cases, you still want to make different campaigns for some locations.
If you are a national company that has never tried to manage bids or budgets by locations, this is a great feature to get you started examining how various locations affect your CPAs so you can start to bid them separately or even target the users differently by location.
Please note, the geographic bid modifier only works with CPC bidding, either manual or enhanced. As with all bid modifiers, it is not compatible with CPA bidding or budget optimizer. The only exception is that you can bid –100% (setting your bid to $0) to not show if the auction uses that bid modifier.
Several years ago, one of the main issues with splitting out your campaigns by region for bidding purposes was that you might have a single budget target, and you didn’t care which region received the click and spent your money, as long as the correct bid was used and you didn’t go over your total budget.
The shared budgets feature fixed this issue for advertisers and created the opportunity to easily use multiple campaigns without fretting over how to split the budget between campaigns.
Some companies have budgets by region. This is common in areas where there are co-op marketing budgets involved, multiple franchise locations, or physical store locations. If you want to maintain budgets by region, then you still want to maintain separate campaigns by region as you cannot split a budget between regions with enhanced campaigns.
If your regions are large, such as the northeast, southwest, and so forth, then you can use bid modifiers within those regions to tweak your CPCs; however, your overall structure of keeping your regions separate for budget reasons is still sound with enhanced campaigns.
One of the main reasons to separate locations into various campaigns is to ensure that the ads speak to that particular geography. The most common instance of this is adding the region to the ad’s headline. However, it is also done to match offline promotions or test responses to offers by region.
If you have split out your campaigns for the purpose of using different ads by region, you will not want to reconsolidate your campaigns as you will lose your ability to specify specific ads by geography. So, if your main reason to use multiple campaigns is for ad serving, you will want to leave your campaigns separated.
The last major reason campaigns were split up by region was for extension usage. You might have different sitelinks, offers, or location extensions you wanted to use by campaign. As none of the extensions have a geographic ad serving component (except for the location extension), if you want different offers or sitelinks by region, you still need separate campaigns.
With location extensions, you can decide to bid differently for someone who is within the reach of your location extension. If you first add your location extension as a location target, you can then set a bid adjustment for someone in that radius.
If you have physical locations where you want the customers to come to your business, this is a welcome change as someone who is within a mile of your restaurant is usually worth more than someone who is 30 miles from your location.
Enhanced campaign bid modifiers make it easier to manage location-based bids if all your keywords have similar CPAs by region. The ability to set a bid adjustment based upon the user’s proximity to your location is also a welcome change. If you want a simplistic AdWords account, and yet have the ability to set different bids by region, the new enhanced campaign features are a very welcome change.
If you are an advanced advertiser who wants to change budgets, ads, extensions, or individual keyword bids by region, when you upgrade to enhanced campaigns, you will not want to consolidate campaigns just for location targeting purposes. You will still need to consolidate campaigns based upon device types, but you won’t do it for location purposes.
If you have segmented your campaigns by location, you can still take advantage of bid modifiers within the campaigns as locations often have sub-locations (states have metros, metros have cities, etc.) that will commonly have different CPAs by each region which you can micro-manage with bid adjustments. If you are using location extensions, then please take advantage of bid modifiers by location extension reach.
The launch of enhanced campaigns is one of the biggest changes Google has ever implemented, and it will change how AdWords accounts are created, structured and managed. While enhanced campaigns gave additional features to location based bidding, this new campaign type should not force you to reorganize most account structures based solely upon location targeting considerations.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.