Chelsea's Blog

Geo-targeting

Posted on: November 11, 2009

Geo-targeting is a crucial method to implement when using search engine marketing.  According to Gregory Go and his Online Business Blog, Geo-targeting means “having the ability to target a marketing or advertising campaign at a limited set of visitors based on their physical location and  language. Advertising programs that support geo-targeting allow you to control where your ads are displayed based on parameters like country, state, city, or even within X miles of a postal address.”

This concept seems quite interesting to me, because if a company has a web presence, why wouldn’t they want to have boundary-less communication with all web users? It seems like even if the company has limited locations, they should want increased awareness of their product or service regardless of location.  However, after further researching this topic, it makes sense as to why it is implemented.

There are numerous reasons to apply a Geo-targeting strategy to a company’s search engine marketing efforts.  Geo-targeting is useful for small businesses that are only able to serve a certain geographical area, or for bricks and mortar stores who have a new web presence and can only deliver their product or service through the physical location. In simplified terms Geo-targeting is useful when your online presence is used to promote an offline business.

Geo-targeting is an important thing to consider.  As highlighted in this Geo-targeting Tutorial, online advertising reaches everyone in the world that can access a website. So if your website wants to run an advertising campaign targeted to one region only, you will need geo-targeting.  For example a certain advertisement will be shown only to people from certain countries, or different ad campaigns could be shown to visitors from different countries. This way, the advertisements are highly targeted to a geographic location. Another use of Geo-targeting is localization. Suppose your website is written in two languages, say English and German. By default, the English version is served. However, if a visitor comes from Germany (or any other German-speaking country), your website could send the German copy by default.

A blog entitled Using Geo-Targeting to Boost Your PPC Result by Melissa Mackey explains many uses to help companies increase profitability. The entry explains how to use geo-targeting to target key feeder markets. For example, a national campaign is costly; however, running the campaign in three surrounding areas of the main location is profitable.  Another example is  Mackay states “As you can imagine, bidding on “free coupons” and “sweepstakes” nationally costs a fortune. However, bidding on these terms in a single designated marketing area is surprisingly affordable. Better still, geo-targeting provides a great source of leads for the client from individuals looking for freebies who probably weren’t initially seeking out the advertiser’s product or service. If you’re looking to build an e-mail database of prospects in an inexpensive way, running a geo-targeted online contest that requires an e-mail address to enter can be a very effective way to add to your e-mail database. Geo-targeted ads also tend to get good quality scores, resulting in lower click costs than can be had on national campaigns. Lower CPCs translates to lower cost per conversion and higher ROI.”

In the following video, Google’s Matt Cutts talks about how Google deals with Geo-targeting.

 

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