New Engen perspective on geographic targeting
Geography is an important factor for search campaigns all over the map. Location can correlate to differences in search volume, demand and customer value, which varies depending on the products or service you sell and the unique attributes of each geography.
Let’s say you sell shoes… You may find that you see higher conversion rates on snow boot-related keywords in the Midwest and lower conversion rates on those same keywords in California or Florida. Because of these differences in conversion rate, you would want to bid more aggressively in geographies where conversion rates are higher and less aggressively in geographies where conversion rates are lower.
Geographic profiling. Google only tracks data for specified geographies if they are added as targeted locations within your account, so before digging into options for geographic profiling, you'll want to make sure you have added as many targeted locations (including countries, states, DMAs, cities and zip codes) to your account as possible.
Pro-tip: When you add "United States" as a location in New Engen Search, all states will also be added as targeted locations. If you would like to add additional levels of targeted locations (e.g. DMAs, cities or zip codes), you'll need to add them manually or via bulk upload.
Options for geographic profiling
There are a few different options for geographic profiling within an account. If you have a new account without much historical data, you may want to hold on geographic profiling until you're targeted locations have had time to collect data and you're able to determine if your campaigns are performing noticeably differently by location. If you notice differences after they have had time to collect data, you can move on to the geographic profiling options below.
Option 1: Separate Campaigns with Geographic Criteria Inclusions
In this case, you would create separate campaigns for each geographic sub-group and apply geographic criteria accordingly. For example, you might create city campaigns (e.g. Snow Boots Seattle, Snow Boots Portland, etc.) which would include positive location criteria only for the geography noted in the campaign name, and possibly additional sub-geographies (e.g. zip codes). This would mean keywords within each campaign would be specific to each location.
- Pros: Fine control of bids on keywords serving in specific geographies.
- Cons: Results in massive keyword duplication and growth, which could result in campaigns that are more challenging to manage, report on, etc.
- I would use this when: The value of geographic profiling is substantial and worth the extra system demands and effort from maintenance of duplicate campaigns and keywords.
- I would not use this when: I am early in a campaign’s life cycle or simply testing a hypothesis.
- Lessons Learned: This will quickly increase the number of keywords in your account potentially causing you to bump into account limits. Upon launching these campaigns, be sure to track them closely to ensure that initial bids were set competitively in each geography. If close, the engine will be effective in taking the bids forward. If you receive very little traffic where you expect lots, consider manually adjusting bids.
Option 2: Location Bid Adjustments
Instead of creating campaigns specific to each geography, you would apply location bid adjustments to each geography based on performance differences. If, for example, your campaigns have more success in California and less success in Oregon, you could apply a positive bid modifier (+10%) for California and a negative bid modifier (-5%) for Oregon. In this example, a baseline max. CPC of $1 would increase to $1.10 for California based auctions and decrease to $0.95 for Oregon based auctions.
- Pros: Simple way to adjust bids for keywords in specific geographies.
- Cons: Limited to % multipliers by geography either up or down (-90% to +900%) across entire campaign.
- I would use this when: When I want to raise or lower the “sea level” of all bids in a particular geography relative to all other geographies. When I want to adjust bids quickly, possibly as a first step before moving to finer control of keyword bids as in other options for geographic profiling.
- I would not use this when: When I have very broad campaigns and believe that the value in different ad groups may be drastically different from one geography to the next.
Option 3: Geographic Partitions
This option creates a duplicate set of keywords for a single Google-defined campaign.
- Pros: Simple to do through Google Ads.
- Cons: Limited to one geography per partition, thus limits ability to tailor geographies that are not Google-supported (e.g. metro areas or regions).
- I would use this when: The only case this would make sense is if the geographies that are important align tightly to those that google defines (e.g. Country, State). Even then, I would not choose this option because it limits ultimate flexibility.
- I would not use this when: The geographies do not align well to google-regions (e.g. Tri-State Region: NY, NJ, CT would have to create 3 partitions, each with own keywords and bids).