How to Optimize Your Geo-targeting

  • Categories:

    Paid Media

  • Date:

    August 31, 2016

How to Optimize Your Geo-targeting

Paid Media

Have you thought about your geo-targeting strategy lately? If you think you have it nailed down, you may want to think again.

Geo-targeting is a vital element of any programmatic buying strategy. And the best part is, it offers so many options that you can build a customized location targeting plan down to a ZIP code or IP address.

Targeting geographies are generally broken out by country, state, city or ZIP code. Advertisers can also target by Nielsen DMAs (TV market geographies), congressional districts, areas of interest such as local attractions, universities and airports (including devices connected to WiFi and Bluetooth), and commercial interest areas such as malls and shopping centers.

Prioritizing your geo-targeting can be a great way to handle a competitive situation, grow your market share, introduce a new product, publicize an event or downplay a temporary service disruption. Here are five strategies that are easy to implement.

Modify your bids by geographic priorities

Setting bid modifiers allows the programmatic bidding platform to automatically adjust bids by specified locations such as a city, state or ZIP code. If you want to be more competitive in that location, instruct the system to increase bids by a certain percentage of your standard bid; if you want to be less competitive, decrease your bids. For example, if your original bid is $1.00 and you instruct the system to increase it by 20 percent, it will automatically bid up to $1.20. If you instruct the system to lower your bid, it will fall to no more than $.80. This can get interesting if you weight or index geographies based on sales potential or competitive opportunities.

Implement radius targeting around specific locations

Are you holding an event or setting up an exhibit at a tradeshow? Does your business only deliver within a certain radius of your location? Try radius targeting. You can choose how wide your radius will be, such as a three-mile radius around a store or a two-hour drive from an event or store location (approximately 130 miles?). If attendees will be flying into town for your event, consider starting with a broad radius; as the event approaches, hotels fill and flights become more expensive, narrow your radius to driving distance.

Add location extensions to your ads

Adding location extensions allows your ads to include physical business addresses, phone numbers and other information like business hours. Coupled with other targeting methods such as branded competitive keyword targeting, your ads will appear to customers looking for similar competitive products or services. On mobile devices, location extensions will also allow a customer to see maps and directions to your store or business, or click to call your business for information. 

Reach neighborhoods with certain household incomes

Google Adwords allows advertisers to select household incomes within the United States only. Options include the top 10 percent, 11 to 20 percent, 21 to 30 percent, 31 to 40 percent and lower 50 percent. Layer this targeting option on top of location selections, but proceed with caution. If you select household incomes and locations in addition to other targeting options (such as contextual or keyword targeting), your targeting may be narrowed so severely that your ads will rarely show. A better way to use this targeting is to apply a bid modifier, bidding higher for selected household income targets, layered over a general geo-targeting strategy. 

Exclude specific geographies

There may be any number of reasons to exclude a specific trade area. This can be simply done by excluding locations as you set up your geo-targeting; on the other hand, if something happens mid-campaign, you can easily modify your geo-targeting or apply a bid modifier telling the system to take a standard bid and drop it by 100 percent for that specific location. 

Looking for programmatic buying or geo-targeting strategy assistance? Contact Kent Panther at This world is where we live, and we’re happy to help. 

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