Google Ads geofencing – often referred to as location targeting – is a Google mobile-optimized advertising strategy where enterprises can provide mobile users with targeted ads whenever those users enter a specific location or geographical area. With geofencing, companies can deliver messages right to the mobile user’s phone.
One of the immediate benefits of geofencing is that it helps you better manage your digital marketing budget by only targeting people that are closest to your business. After all, not all businesses have an e-commerce platform capable of shipping products to anybody, anywhere. Some businesses are brick-and-mortar, service, or retail locations where their revenue is driven entirely by local customers coming inside their business. For these companies, geofencing is a great way to reach their local mobile audiences on the move. So, what do you need to do to leverage this mobile advertising platform?
1. Start Small and then Expand
It’s tempting to want to create a virtual map that covers a large geographical area. Unfortunately, if it’s too large it’s likely to become too expensive. You could end up paying a high cost-per-click (CPC) without seeing higher store traffic. Geofencing works when potential customers enter a given targeting location. If you target too large a location with the mindset of attracting more customers, those customers may be too far away from your location to be able to come to your store.
It’s best to target a smaller area first and then expand as results come in. See how your chosen keywords perform and how many actual opportunities and customers you win before you expand your targeting location.
2. Choose Targeting Options Wisely
Once you setup your virtual map, you’ll be presented with two targeting options. The first is targeting by “presence” and the second is targeting by “search interest”. You can choose either one or both, but it’s important to understand how each works. Google automatically defaults to both options. Unfortunately, this may or may not be what your business needs. In fact, if you choose both, you may end up paying for locations you don’t want to target.
It’s best to start with the “presence” targeting option as this will target actual customers that are in a physical location close to your business. The “search interest” option targets anybody anywhere who performs a search for a business like yours that’s near your location. Unfortunately, that search could be from anywhere. A perfect example might include someone in another state planning a trip. It’s not uncommon for them to perform searches for businesses in an area they may or may not visit. This could lead to you targeting locations that would never generate any business.
3. Exclude Certain Locations
Yes, the purpose of location targeting is to target a location that is most likely to generate the most opportunities. Unfortunately, some locations will appear in your initial target area that you may want to exclude for any number of reasons. It might be a location where construction recently started, and you know that mobile users are either avoiding that area altogether or aren’t willing to go through that traffic to reach your door. It could be an area that is dominated by your competition or one where your reputation is less than stellar. It can also be because of budget constraints. Regardless of why, if you need to exclude certain locations, then make sure to do so.
4. Take Advantage of Special Events
Is there an annual event like a concert or parade near your place of business? Has something recently been announced that you know will lead to a lot of people coming near your targeted location? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, then it’s the perfect time to create a special Google Ads geofencing campaign that specifically targets these events. It’s a great way to take advantage of special events and celebrations in and around your place of business. Be sure to pay close attention to any recent news or trends that you can take advantage of.
5. Research Location-Based Keywords
Ultimately, you need to do proper keyword and keyword phrase research for any Google Ad campaign and geofencing is no different. Make sure your keyword list is based upon strong local keyword research. However, take it a step further and use keywords that specifically describe areas of your geofencing virtual map. You can do this by tying in your business name to the specific area, town, or city your business is located in. This means creating keyword phrases such as “best restaurant in St. Augustine, Florida” as opposed to just targeting phrases like “best restaurant” or “closest restaurant”.
6. Become Metric Savvy
You must become comfortable analyzing the results of your campaigns, which means reviewing metrics. Those metrics will provide invaluable insight into how many impressions are made, how many clicks occurred, and which locations on your virtual map create the most interest. If you see a particular area that produces higher results than other portions of your targeting location, then that’s an area to focus on more in the future. In the end, becoming comfortable with metrics could help reduce your advertising spending while maximizing your returns. Your money will be better spent targeting areas with higher returns.
7. Pay Attention to your Ad
It’s common for companies using geofencing to take shortcuts on their ad copy with the idea being that mobile customers are less likely to need too much information on their mobile devices. However, that’s not the case. Using “location extensions” allows you to include your business’s physical address, while “call extensions” allow you to include your business’s phone number. Using both will make it easier for potential customers to contact you. Remember, these are mobile customers on the move. They will need to know where your physical address is and call you if they have any questions. Not only is this best practice, but it’s a critical component for improving SERPs (search engine results pages).
Using Google ads geofencing is a great way to reach your local audience and Google provides all the necessary analytics and data to help you maximize the performance of each of your mobile campaigns.