Today, every business needs to understand how to do online marketing. Its one of the cornerstones of an overall effective marketing strategy, and it’s the only way to reach outside of your immediate area. Sure you can have salespeople who sell your products in other parts of the country, but if you’re like most businesses that are in a competitive marketplace, chances are that a competitor in another city can produce your product at a more efficient cost. Today’s marketing professional has many opportunities to sell the products using many different mediums, including Search Engines and Social Media platforms. One extremely interesting feature of these platforms is that they allow the marketer to “geo-fence” or “geo-locate” using the user’s IP address to serve ads. The ad is then only served to people in the marketers’ specified areas – and they can be extremely specific with the areas they designate. So in this entry, I want to look at how MarketAreaReports.com (MAR), can use your house data to establish locations to target in Google AdWords.
Let’s face it, Google is the most powerful and most accessed search engine today. According to this website, Google’s market share in the United States is roughly 75% of all search traffic. What does this mean? It means that for every 4 people searching for your product, 3 of them will come from a Google referral. What else does it mean? It also means that your business’s online pay-per-click or organic search traffic is at the mercy of Google’s search algorithm for serving an advertisement or organic link to the person doing the searching. This is both good news and bad news. The bad news is that you need to make sure that your website is SEO’d to the moon, in order to be organically found on Google’s first or second page – face it, who goes past the second page when searching for anything. The good news, on the other hand, is that using Google AdWords, you can pay to have an advertisement on the first or second page. I say this is good news because if you’re creative enough, you can find some keywords (using Google’s keyword planner) to find words that you can pay for to get your content in front of some eyeballs. The unfortunate part is that many other marketers are doing the same thing, so you literally have to bid against everyone else, but everyone has a daily budget – and there’s a lot of searching going on.
With that said, I want to look at Google AdWords, but let’s get something out of the way real quick. I’m not trying to sell you on Google AdWords, or that you absolutely have to be using it. I’m also not going to go into how to use Google AdWords, or how to keyword plan, develop bid strategies or how to incorporate it into an overall marketing plan. What I want to look at is how to use Google AdWords “locations” feature to most efficiently spend your ad dollars, because let’s face it, if you’re like most companies out there, your daily AdWord budget can get sucked up pretty quick, especially if you’re bidding on expensive search terms.
Google allows you to start an AdWord campaign pretty easily – Make an account, pick the words, set your bid amount and budget, set the location and voila! Your daily budget gets sucked up quicker than a Ben Franklin in a Las Vegas casino. As I said, there’s a strategy to refine, because Google is very good about using your daily budget. So let’s assume, you’ve done your keyword planning research and you understand how AdWords functions on a basic level. One of the primary settings that you’re going to need to establish is the “Locations”. It can be as straightforward as going to campaign, clicking the “Locations” button and typing in New York, NY. Done! Location set. Only one problem, if you’re moving company that wants to bid on the word “Moving Company” and you happen to be in New York, then Google’s keyword planner tells us that it’s a whopping $24.55 per click. So let’s say you’re a new business and you want to spend $1000 per month on Google AdWords, that’s approximately 40 clicks! But what if your product is one that people tend to use because they live near your location. I like to look at membership organizations, specifically workout facilities because they are a perfect representation of hundreds of business types, where a certain demographic travels from a particular type of neighborhood. In the map below, you’ll see an example of an analysis that MAR ran for a client to establish they’re neighborhood or block group attractiveness.
The idea behind neighborhood attractiveness is establishing which neighborhoods to target based on models that MAR has created. The way that the neighborhoods are reported is based on green – High attractiveness, vs low attractiveness which is red. One can see that in the case of this business, the neighborhoods that are in green do not form a nice pattern around the location, in they tend to be on the east side of the location. So how does this help with Google AdWords Locations? I’m getting to it.
So once we’re at the point that we’re ready to use the Locations selection tool, most marketers will simply select their location and choose a radius. The problem with adding a radius is that we end up pulling in areas that we’re not really wanting to target. One might argue – who cares… we’re just expanding our reach anyways. Well, the fact is that in a place like downtown Los Angeles there are approximately 150,000 people in the green areas on the map and another 100,000 in the yellow area, and the red areas are the most prominent color! Remember, we’re trying to be as targeted as we can be in order to serve advertisements to the people who are the most likely to be interested in our product while conserving our ad spend. Do we really want to serve a $2.00 to $5.00 ads to someone who is very unlikely to visit our establishment based on their location? Remember at $1,000 a month budget, that’s only 16, $2.00 ads per day. And at a $60k annual online ad budget, you’re still only getting 80 ads per day. How many conversations are your expecting per ad click? See the map below to see why even the tightest radius rings can be wasteful.
So how does MAR solve this problem? While it would be nice if google used our nice neighborhood shapes, MAR has solved this problem by being extremely selective about how we add the radii rings into Google’s Location selection option. See after we establish attractiveness, we can reverse append the address that’s nearest to the centroid of the green neighborhoods. From there we can systematically draw radii rings to cover all the green sections. It’s not perfect, and yes, we’ll pull in a small amount of the yellow and red areas, but not nearly as many unattractive neighborhoods as simply centering the location and setting a radius. See below, and take note how we can nicely cover the green neighborhoods by choosing the right addresses and the right sized radius circles.
As the last step, we need to add the locations we’ve selected into the Google AdWords Location tool. See below to see the selections being loaded into the Google AdWords UI.
This concludes MARs process for using your current customer data for helping your business better refine its use of Google AdWords. We hope that it has helped you get a better understanding of how to use your own data to make better marketing decisions. MAR understands that saving part of your marketing budget so that it can be invested in other places or just paying Google for better leads, can be a critical part of your online marketing efforts. Feel free to leave a comment below, or reach out to us if you’d like to discuss how MAR can help your business be better targeted.