Case Study: Geo Segmentation & How It Can Help Your PPC Campaigns In 2013

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Granularity is an important concept for many PPC accounts today. In fact, the way you segment your campaigns and ad groups can have a huge effect on key metrics like conversion volume and CPA. This granular segmentation is particularly useful for those larger accounts that drive a lot of volume and spend quickly. After successfully testing this on one of my larger PPC accounts, I’ve really come to appreciate granular targeting strategies and here’s why:

 

The Situation

I’d been working with a client in the automotive equipment industry and had been looking for ways to expand reach and decrease CPA. Initially, we had set up two generic campaigns that were targeting both the US and Canada. Traffic volume was great, but something had to be done since the CPA was steep and difficult to control.

After learning that Canada had been driving several profitable leads, we wanted to expand our Canadian market as soon as possible. Rather than simply adding the new geo targets to the generic campaigns, I recommended that we segment our efforts and target these provinces exclusively with new campaigns. So I ended up doing exactly that by simply replicating the two generic campaigns for each respective province and tweaking the campaign targeting settings. Here’s what it looked like:

BEFORE

AFTER

 

The Results

I’ve been running with the new geo-specific campaigns for about two months now and the results have been substantial:

Despite a 43% decrease in CPA, conversions increased by 151% compared to where we were initially! Obviously this was a huge win for this particular client, but I’ve found this strategy to be quite successful in a few of our other accounts here at Hanapin as well. This is why it is important to pay close attention to your most profitable geographic areas and target your PPC campaigns accordingly.

If you’re unsure of how to go about finding your most profitable locations, AdWords and Analytics offer actionable data and reports that can help. In the example above, the AdWords Dimensions tab proved to be a great resource as shown below:

In addition to the Dimensions tab, Analytics also offers detailed location information that can be viewed on several levels (country/city/etc.) in the Map Overlay report as shown below:

 

Closing Thoughts

Considering how easy it was to replicate the new campaigns and change the geo targeting settings, I would recommend this tactic to anyone with a larger account. Although the results may not be this drastic for everyone, this strategy has nonetheless proved to be an extremely effective way to decrease CPA and increase volume simultaneously.

In closing, I’d like to ask if any of you have tried similar strategies in your own PPC accounts? How did you set up and geo-target your campaigns? What were the results? It would be awesome to hear about some of your experiences, so feel free to share those below. As always, thanks for reading!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ryabov.alex Alexey Ryabov

    Thank you, Dave.

    Yes, of course we are using this things in our accounts. For example, I have had advertising campaigns for logistic company. And I created campaigns for each geo region, and I used unique landing page and ad text for each campaign. In this case, I had huge CTR!
    In our country we have 3 main geo regions: Moscow, St. Peterburg and all other areas. This regions have very different PPV (profit per visit). We very often division advertising campaign for our federal clients at 3 parts. And we have less CPA, in result
    Happy New Year!

    P.S. Please excuse me for my English. I have started learn it recently.

    • http://twitter.com/daverosborough Dave Rosborough

      Alexey,

      Thanks for sharing, it sounds like you’ve done a lot with granular geo targets in your accounts. I’m glad you mentioned that you’re using specific landing pages as well; that can be a very powerful combination since you’re then able to cater to several different audiences and increase relevancy.

      Anyway, thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

  • Ben

    HI Dave,
    When would you use the map overlay report in analytics as opposed to adwords report?

    • http://twitter.com/daverosborough Dave Rosborough

      Ben,

      This is a great question, thanks for asking. The biggest and best difference (in my opinion) would have to be the integrated revenue data found in the map overlay report. Oftentimes, conversions are not created equal, so being able to distinguish what your best performers are from a revenue standpoint can be extremely beneficial.

      For example, let’s say that you have a campaign that drove 5 conversions and generated $50 in revenue. Let’s say you also have another campaign that drove only 1 conversion, but generated $200 in revenue. By taking a look at the map overlay report, you can then identify your highest revenue generating geo locations.

      Another advantage in my opinion is the ability to use your organic traffic data as well. Perhaps there are profitable locations you aren’t currently targeting through your paid ads, but have been successful from an organic standpoint. The map overlay report can help with that too.

      Hope this helps, thanks for reading!

  • http://twitter.com/ian_williams Ian Williams

    I use this. In one of my accounts I see lower CTR but higher conversion rate, which I’m not sure how to explain. I also see variations in which metric improves from area to area, although I rarely see both metrics go up.