Three Tales of PPC Geotargeting Successes

With the roll out of bid modifiers by geo, tailoring your PPC strategy to specific geographies has never been easier. We here at SEER have been playing around with a few different ways to think about and test geo strategy. (Please read the following in your best Ira Glass.) Today on our program, three mini case-studies on PPC geotargeting strategy. Act One. Finding Travelers. Act Two. Pushing Inventory. Act Three. Fighting the Weather. Stay with us.

Act 1

The Conundrum

Sure, one way to target people in New York is to set AdWords geotargeting to New York… this will ensure that ads are shown to anyone living in the state, from Albany to Manhattan. But what if someone lives in Los Angeles (or anywhere else) and is doing research for their move to New York? What’s the best way to target them with PPC? If you geo-target to NY, you will miss out on this entire audience. And with over 40K zip codes in the US alone, it would take forever to pick and choose where to set targeting.

The Fix

One solution may be to set targeting to “People in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location.” For max control over targeting, you can also get creative with your keyword match types. The solution for one SEER client was to use open ended Modified Broad Match keywords. With the geotargeting set to all-US, SEER built out geo campaigns with keywords such as:

• +from +New +York +to

• +flying +to +New +York

• +cheap +flights +to +New +York

This cast a net that helped catch people from around the US:

•San Francisco

• Los Angeles

• Minneapolis

• Atlanta

And more. This has been a far more time efficient method than building our exact & phrase keywords.

The Return

By creating campaigns built around just a handful of Geo’s - California, Florida, Texas, Illinois, NY, LA, San Fran, Chicago, and DC - SEER saw a 231% ROI & brought in over $15K over just a month and a half. This was in addition to the revenue we were already seeing.

Act 2

The Conundrum

Another client sells and rents their products all over the country and have local offices that manage their inventory. This allows them to have products readily available all over the country as needed. The problem comes when certain areas have a lot of inventory of a certain product that are sitting idle and they want to get out in the field. We previously tested breaking out different geo locations into their own campaigns based on supply but didn’t see much success.

The Fix

A few months pass and here we are, with a lot of inventory in certain locations that the client wants to push, but we don’t want to lose visibility in the rest of the country. Instead of breaking out these areas into their own campaigns, we increased our bids by 20% for the locations that we need to sell sell sell! This is easy to do, as we also have our campaigns separated by product type.

The Return

We saw this test work well for certain products with our conversions increasing by 200%, and not so well for others with conversions decreasing by 16% (search volume did not decrease). Although results varied, this was definitely a great strategy to increase visibility to push inventory in specific geo locations. We are continuing to use this strategy for our campaigns.

Act 3

The Conundrum

The client’s product demand is tied to cold temperatures, limiting our window of profitability to just a few precious months! Geo bid modifiers helped a bit, but didn’t let us move fast enough to stay on top of the changing weather in different parts of the country.

The Fix

We created 12 duplicates of each campaign targeting the following regions:

• Alaska

• Central

• East North Central

• Florida

• Hawaii

• Northeast

• Northwest

• South

• Southeast

• Southwest

• West

• West North Central

This allowed us to easily spot seasonal trending in each region and quickly optimize bids and budgets for those specific areas in response to changing temperatures.

The Return

This strategy allowed us to remain profitable longer into the spring season by pulling back in areas with waning demand but maintaining full coverage in regions still performing strongly. As a result we saw revenue and return on ad spend both increase by 100% from April 2013 to April 2014.


Join the conversation

What outside the box strategies are you seeing success with for your clients? Share with us in the comments below!

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