Beginner’s Guide to Geotargeting

Ad targeting is getting more and more advanced all the time, allowing you to segment customer lists into super-specific interests or search intents. Geotargeting is one method that’s made targeting even more sophisticated. When done properly, geotargeting can get customers’ eyes on your store without dealing with high ad spend. Follow along with this guide as we shed some light on the basics of geotargeting. 

What Is Geotargeting?

Image showing a map location with a map of users/geotargeting concept

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Geotargeting is a form of advertising that uses location to target ads to people in a specific area. Unlike remarketing or retargeting, which target advertisements to certain consumers based on their past behavior (such as visiting your website or abandoning a shopping cart), geotargeting doesn’t rely on consumers’ behavior; instead, it relies on their geographic location.

The algorithm detects a searcher’s location or assumed location and displays results based on that location, if possible. When you target your ads geographically, you’ll have a better chance of appearing within that group of search results for people in that location, making it easier for them to discover your business. Whether someone lives in the area or is traveling through, your geotargeted ad could help them find the service or business they’re looking for.

And evidence shows that it works. According to a study from Factual, 83% of marketers responding to the survey noted higher response and engagement rates with location-focused ads.

Geotargeting can be loosely or narrowly defined. For example, you might specify a whole city or state, or you can narrow your targeting to include a small radius of 10 miles from the person’s location. You can decide what the right option is based on your advertising goals.

Should I Use Geotargeting?

Person searching for local businesses using Google Maps

Image by Pixabay from Pexels

Not everyone needs to use geotargeting. This form of advertising is best for businesses that are specific to one location. Or, if you have multiple brick-and-mortar locations, you can use geotargeting to make sure your ads pop up in results for each particular area. 

Say you own a bakery in New York City, and you want to make sure that people living or visiting New York City can find it in search results. However, searchers might simply type “new york bakery” rather than “new york city bakery” into Google’s search, which could point them to bakeries scattered around New York state rather than the city.

You want your ad to be hyper-specific to New York City to get those potential customers in your bakery. So, you’d use geotargeting to exclude coming up in results for New York state that aren’t close to your location and add New York City to your targeting to ensure that you land in those results.

Online businesses that serve people across the country or globe don’t necessarily benefit from geotargeting unless there are a few locations you’re looking to get more customers from.

Geotargeting: Best Practices

If you’ve determined that your advertising campaign can benefit from geotargeting, try to incorporate the following tips for targeting success:

Use Exclusions Wisely

While targeting the appropriate locations is the most critical step in geotargeting your ad campaigns, excluding the wrong places is just as crucial. As in the example above, you want to make sure that New York state businesses aren’t taking over your results for New York City searchers. By excluding New York state and adding New York City to your targeting, you’ll pinpoint the right audience for searches. Basically, think about where your customers won’t be and exclude those places from results. You’ll end up with a better ad spend from more targeted results.

Be Careful with Hypertargeting

As you ad exclusions and included areas, your targeting will become more specific. That’s exactly what you want to do, but you’ll want to take care not to hyper-target a location. Hyper targeting is targeting a super-specific area, like a radius of a few blocks outside your store. While this sometimes works, it really depends on the location and search interest. For types of businesses that don’t get as many searches as others, this hyper-specific targeting could leave out a lot of people in the area looking for a store like yours.

Understand Search Intent

Getting to know your audience and understanding search intent is vital when you’re creating ad campaigns. For instance, searchers looking up “5k Seattle” and “Seattle gyms” might be looking to increase their fitness routine in the city. An athletic clothing company in Seattle can bank on these searches by targeting their ads to match this search intent for Seattle citizens or travelers. Try ShareThis’ data solutions to get insight into consumer interest and intent that can help you shape your campaigns. 

Pay Attention to Your Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

CPC is the amount you spend per click on an ad. The more clicks you get with the fewest ad impressions, the lower your CPC will be. With Google Ads, you can always check on your CPC for each ad campaign. Proper geotargeting can reduce your CPC, but it might take some time to learn what locations are and aren’t working for you. Check on your campaigns at least weekly to make adjustments as needed.

Geotargeting can play a pivotal role in the way you target your ads. As with any ad campaign, make sure to split-test your geotargeted campaigns to ensure that you’re using targeting that brings you the results you want. Try these ad copy tips to make your ads stand out in search results.

When you’re running any type of advertising campaign and collecting data on your website visitors, consumer privacy must be paramount. ShareThis’ Consent Management Platform streamlines the process of obtaining visitor consent to collect and use their data, helping you to maintain compliance with privacy laws like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. It’s not only simple to install, but it’s also totally free to use!

About ShareThis

ShareThis has unlocked the power of global digital behavior by synthesizing social share, interest, and intent data since 2007. Powered by consumer behavior on over three million global domains, ShareThis observes real-time actions from real people on real digital destinations.

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