Are you making the most of your geo-location data for your PPC campaigns?

| 26 Feb, 2015

Are you losing profit and potential customers by having a lackluster geo-search strategy?

Geotargeting is an essential tool for PPC managers that not only helps target the locations essential for business but also helps improve the user journey with refined targeting.

When geotargeting is properly utilized it leads to an improvement in ROI and an increase traffic to local businesses. It also presents proper ads and language for a given area while ridding campaigns of wasted clicks.


Methods of Improving your current Geostrategy:

1. Launch with broad target settings and narrow targets to your most profitable regions.

Analysis of geographic performance in AdWords can be done through Š—…Location ReportsŠ—È within the dimensions tab. This tab allows data to be easily segmented by geographic region (see below).

  • State, Nielsen DMA region, district, county, city, town, postcode, or smaller places of interest such as airports or universities

This report allows bid adjustments of exclusions to be added for specific targeted regions and provides great insight into key regions within PPC campaigns which can then help you further develop a strategic plan of action.

Step-by-step guide Š—–

View Location Reports

Performance of specific locations can be seen at campaign level within the settings tab followed by the locations sub-tab, then select the target dates and click "View location reports," Š—–see image below.

Data can be seen for "What triggered your ad (geographic)" or "Where your users were (user locations)." The "geographic" report allows new targets to be directly added into the settings with bid adjustments or exclusions. 

There are various views where data can be seen. For example, the account below is targeting the United States; we have the option to see data from state-level all the way to a specific neighborhood or university.


The performance data below is at state level.

After selecting a target, bid adjustments and/or exclusions can be made. In the case above, negative bid adjustments were applied to states with high CPAs. The ability to add or exclude targets at a more granular level is possible with smaller regions of focus.

This tool allows for quick and easy changes and provides the ability to further control the performance of campaigns by bringing more qualified users to the site.


2. Separate region targeting by campaign

Separating each priority region into its own campaign allows for greater control over each individual region. More specifically, this ability improves control over the budget as well as control over specific copy and keywords. Geo-specific ad copy within the targeted region will increase the relevance of copy and entice users to click. Targeting these geo-ads with geo-specific keywords provides the most relevant experience for an audience.

  • Tip - Use a naming convention to easily analyze campaigns and identify regions targeted within the campaign name.
  • Cons Š—–- The downside of separating an account by region proves challenging due to the large number of campaigns and keywords needed.

Use location extensions to increase in-store visits

Promote in-store visits and calls by providing dynamic content to individuals by using location extensions. Implementing location extensions within your geo-specific campaigns allow the address and phone number to be shown for a business, it also shows a map marker of the location on the Google SERP. Providing these extensions along with specific ad copy in a targeted area will provide the best possible user journey for customers and will increase click-through rate as well as online and in-store conversions.


3. Expand campaigns with narrow targets using location reports, market research and experience.

Before geo targets are applied, it is important to know who the target audience is and where they are located. This information will provide a good starting point that can be fine-tuned as more data is collected over time. This is important because users who are searching in, searching for, or viewing pages about a targeted area will be served a geo-specific ad. Geotargeting can also be applied to block traffic from certain locations, which is an effective strategy if particular areas are restricted or provide low revenue.

One particular Jellyfish client uses geotargeting to reduce the traffic from high performing areas so the account budget can be spent more broadly across a greater number of locations. The high performing areas see volume from other channels such as Direct, Organic and Referral traffic; therefore, negative matching that location for Paid Search limits spend and allows the budget to filter to the less successful locations. The clientŠ—'s goal is to boost new leads by increasing bid adjustments in underperforming markets while decreasing bid adjustments in saturated markets.

Align brand geographic sStrategy with overall PPC strategy

Another important thing to note is in regard to brand campaigns. It is important to always be visible when your brand name is searched, which is why it is in best practice not to pull back on brand keywords. Prior to making location-based bid adjustments to an account, consult with the client as to their perspective on brand terms. If they want to show up on all brand terms no matter the location, then no bid adjustment on those specific campaigns should be set. This should coincide with the overall strategy for Brand if the client wants to always show up for their brand terms.



Jellyfish is targeting at the state, city and DMA (designated market area), and these settings can be pinpointed at the account, campaign and ad group level.

Executing geo-strategy takes time and can be quite complicated, but it proves to be a very effective way of improving the user journey. Businesses are able to drive higher quality traffic and increase ROI by utilizing the granularity of this data.

This post was written with substantial contribution from Larry Hannon, PPC Executive at Jellyfish.

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