Hedging Your PPC Bets: Geo-Targeting for Revenue


PPC, at times, can feel a bit like going to Vegas and pumping nickels into the slot machines. Except imagine the nickels are dollars, or sometimes several dollars. Ouch! Pretty soon you’ve squandered your dinner money, and the forgiving 7-7-7 has eluded your grasp all night.

Fortunately, there’s a way to hedge your bets in Pay-Per-Click Marketing. A way to avoid the slot machines and move your money over to the poker tables, so to speak – where at least you can influence whether you win or lose.

You can’t make people click your ads and you can’t make them buy your products, but you can put your monetary resources where they’re more likely to. That’s where geo-targeting for revenue comes in.

Go for the Green

Google Analytics has a neat little feature: A map of the USA (or other countries, depending on where you’re marketing) that gets greener where you get more traffic. And even better, data naming your top revenue-generating areas. [see fig.1]

geo_5.png Fig.1

So how do you apply that precious knowledge? First, set a wide date range in Analytics to get all the revenue data possible (up to a year’s worth, if you can). Then, take these findings with you to your PPC venue:

  • Start a new keyword-targeted campaign in Google AdWords.
  • Call it “Geo-Targeted” and use your 2-3 best converting ads, and around 10 to 15 of your best converting keywords from the most successful campaign(s) in your account.
  • Target your Top 5 revenue earning states/provinces to start out. [see fig.2]

geo_6.png Fig.2

  • Set the new campaign budget at a percentage to your existing highest revenue campaign(s). (NOTE: For my example, I set the budget at 1/6th of my most successful campaign.)
  • Use “Rotate” ad display, and if you have ad scheduling settings you normally use in other campaigns, set those up too.
  • For tracking the results of this test most accurately, use auto-tagging in your AdWords account. But if you can’t, just ensure that your new campaign is manually tagged before you take it live.

The Proof Is in the Revenue

Test your new “Geo-Targeted” Campaign for at least 2 weeks to 1 month before judging your success. With any luck though, you should start to see that reserving a bigger piece of the budget specifically for the states/provinces that buy your product most really pays off.

The client in my example showed improvements in every critical AdWords stat. [see fig.3] But those stats don’t pay the bills, right? Money talks, and that’s where this technique really shines. From April 1st to April 15th, I spent only 1/7th the amount of my (previously) best-performing campaign and I made nearly half what that campaign did in revenue! [see fig.4]

geo_7.png Fig.3 geo_8.png Fig.4

Give it a shot and play to your geographic strengths. You don’t have to be a high roller to win big.

This tutorial assumes you have a certain level of knowledge in setting up a campaign in AdWords and digging for data in Analytics. If you get lost though, use the screenshots provided in the post.

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