PPC Money-Waster #5: Inappropriate Geographic Targeting

There are varying levels of wasteful spending when it comes to geographic targeting. I’ll start with the worst examples of geographic targeting that I’ve seen, and work my way down to the less egregious examples.

Country-Wide Targeting

I really shake my head when I’m sitting here in Burlington, Ontario, doing a search with clear local intent, for say, plumbers in Burlington, and I see an ad for a Calgary plumber show up! The reason you see this periodically is that the default geographic targeting option is to target your entire country. If you’re a local business, with a local service area, you don’t want to be advertising nationally. This is a sure-fire way to burn through your daily budget in a flash, and have hardly any of those clicks come from local customers. (Yes, someone in Toronto will click on that that ad for the Vancouver landscaper!)

Too Broad of an Area

One question I always ask of my clients is where they draw their customers from. Oftentimes, they simply rhyme off all the various far-reaching areas from which they’ve ever acquired a customer, and if it were up to them, they would target all of those areas with their advertising. The areas that you target with your advertising, and the area that you’re willing to service are two very different things. In this case, I’m particularly thinking of local businesses who go to their clients rather than businesses with a storefront whose customers come to them.

What we’ve experienced firsthand is a much poorer quality of visit that comes from some far-reaching localities which are not a part of the client’s core service area. Even when using city-specific landing pages, it doesn’t always result in profitable advertising. Oftentimes the user/customer wants to deal with a local business, and without that friend of theirs telling them that they have to do business with you, no matter how great your website is, that person is still going to want to deal with a local business. This idea also extends to offline advertising. You’re typically going to get a better return on your direct mail, print & directory advertising dollars in your core service area than you’re going to get in areas outside of your core service area.

Using a Single Campaign for a Large Geographic Area

Although it creates more work in terms of managing the account, when you have a larger geographic area to target, it can be useful to create separate campaigns for separate cities or regions depending on your circumstances.

Creating separate campaigns for specific geographic areas can:

–          Allow you to employ relevant location extensions

–          Create geographic-specific ad copy

–          Use geographic-specific landing pages

–          Make it easier to spot trends both in AdWords and Google Analytics 

About Steve Gould

Steve Gould is the President of Fidelity Internet Marketing. We help small- and mid-sized business owners understand what web marketing is all about & drive qualified visitors to their website that turn into customers.