March 16, 2010
It would be difficult to overstate the importance of a properly structured geotargeting strategy to the success of a good percentage of PPC campaigns. We’ve discussed geotargeting for PPC many times before on the blog, so if you are confused, go ahead and read about it. But to get the value out of this post you need to know that there are basically two reasons geotargeting could make or break your account:
Everyone Can’t Be Everywhere
Some products or services can only be offered to people within a certain distance from your actual physical location, so you better only show your ads to people either within that distance, or who are using search queries that contain your location. This is important to remember for local businesses, who often also have small PPC budgets, and for larger businesses with multiple locations. Targeting the people searching in a certain area with keywords and ads that are specialized for that area is much more likely to return success.
The World is Not Homogenous
In addition to the somewhat specialized case above, some…many…all? products or services are going to have geographical locations in which they sell better. If you use the data available to you properly, you can determine where these are and devote more resources to a population you’re more confident will convert.
There are a few ways to find out where your high-value location targets are. For one, you can use analytics data to determine continents, regions, or cities where your conversions are concentrated. Depending on the analytics package you use, you’ll have different levels of detail available, but in any case, this can be a helpful place to start. For those without analytics availability or who just want more detailed information, sourcing this information directly from your conversion data can be a viable option if you have the right tools.
For some people, leads come in the form of form submissions that ask for data such as city, state, and zip code. On top of that, for sales or revenue-based clients, you have shipping and sales address information available. That means that you have all sorts of potential to geotarget your PPC campaigns.
So What to Do?
Almost everyone can get this data compiled into a spreadsheet, which is great but can be overwhelming. A year’s worth of conversion data? This could be 32,428 rows in excel, and sounds completely daunting to sort through to try and find conversion location patterns. Which basically gets us to the point I’m trying to make: the idea overwhelmed us, too, until a team member discovered this very neat website: BatchGeo. You just paste in your properly-formatted spreadsheet information and it maps the locations of your whatever- sales, leads, high-value customers- on a Google maps map. It can even handle missing information and can map city/state combinations, address/zip code combinations, and zip codes only. It’s free, and it has been an extremely helpful tool for us in identifying areas in which leads are concentrated. Whether you’re using this kind of raw data for geotargeting now or not, it won’t hurt you to plug the data in and see how the map looks- you might get a useful surprise!