Use geotargeting to provide your potential buyers with the most relevant content.

Devices are getting smarter by the day, and right alongside them, your competitors are wising up, too. Marketers are using rich data to their advantage, targeting buyers based on a wide variety of factors—everything from demographics to geography. If you want to keep up and take the lead sooner rather than later, geotargeting should be the next tactic you put into action.

These days, 81% of Americans (and rising) are smartphone users, while the majority own desktop, laptop, or tablet computers. As internet-enabled devices become more common than ever, with unique IP addresses tied to each one, location targeting is getting extra precise. Through geotargeting, your marketing efforts can, too.

What is geotargeting?

Geotargeting is a marketing method that uses location data to reach the right shoppers with the most relevant digital marketing campaigns. Sometimes known as local pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, this method takes into account what buyers may want to know, based on the city they live in or are visiting. You can even get as specific as a one-mile radius on Facebook or a five-mile radius with Google Ads.

While this tactic is widely used for local marketing, it isn’t just for small businesses or brick-and-mortar stores. It can also help e-commerce shops and global brands target buyers based on larger regions or even countries. The end goal is simply to increase the impact of any given campaign by building content for a target area—no matter how broad.

As a simple example of what geotargeting can do, think about how differently people in the U.S. and people in Japan may perceive Starbucks. While both can spot the massive chain based on the same logo, they’re used to different menu items, prefer different flavors, and—most pressingly—speak different languages. When you target with geolocation, you can create landing pages or social media ads that build off of the unique attributes of these specific areas. As a result, you can better engage the people who seek your services and spur them into taking action.

Why geotargeting works for businesses

Geotargeting isn’t just a tactic that benefits your company. With 80% of shoppers actually wanting to receive alerts based on their location, this marketing method can help you provide the best service possible for your target audience. Instead of feeding your audience irrelevant content, you’re giving them the most applicable information you can. Your marketing can help them get the answers they’re already searching for.

Today’s consumers also assume that you’ll provide geotargeted content when they search with their smartphones. According to Google, users are now dropping “near me” from queries, expecting businesses and search engines to provide the right location-based results. With mobile commerce continuing to rise, reaching potential customers with their geographic locations in mind can make more people aware of your brand and boost your conversion rate.

Providing current buyers with relevant content can help you keep customers loyal and engaged. Doing so adds a human touch that makes customers feel valued and personally helped by your brand.

4 best location targeting tips

While just about any business can start geotargeting their ads, there is some strategy required to do so effectively. The most successful location-based campaigns can be created when you get to know your audience on a deeper level and follow these tips.

1. Research local keywords

Simply switching out one city name for another in your content won’t impress your target audience. When you’re geotargeting, you need to consider what terms locals use as well as what they’re searching for.

For example, think about how you may need to alter an ad based on local dialect. A fast food chain may use the word “soda” in an ad that’s geotargeted to California, but “pop” will better resonate with a Minnesotan.

You may also consider how locals are actually searching for their city. A general resident of New York may very well search for “NYC salons” when they plan to visit the city. On the other hand, someone who is already in New York City will probably do a narrower search based on borough (“Queens salons”) or even neighborhood (“Flushing salons”). If you want to reach tourists with your geotargeting, think about what landmarks or hot spots are popular with visitors versus locals.

Keyword research can help you appear exactly where your customers need you.

2. Prioritize specific locations

There’s no need to spread your budget equally among all the locations you’re targeting. It’s smart to invest more in locations that have a higher percentage of your target demographic.

As you track the progress of your campaign over time, you may find specific cities in your target region are responding better to your ads. In this case, you may choose to redistribute your budget on a local level to maximize your results.

Google Ads will even allow you to exclude specific locations so you never have to spend on an area you know won’t lead to great results. For example, a luxury brand like Gucci might reduce wasted resources by excluding lower-income areas of a target region.

3. Research events and venues

As we mentioned, platforms like Facebook and Google allow you to get highly specific with your geotargeting. When you know where people will be and the reason they’ll be there, you can better optimize your content for the occasion.

Imagine there’s a football game happening at a local stadium. A rideshare company like Uber or Lyft may choose to target the area around the stadium before and after the game since this is when users are likely to start searching for transportation. These geotargeted ads may specifically call out the stadium and home team by name to further personalize the message.

This is an impressive way to make potential customers feel like you’re talking directly to them and starting a conversation.

4. Don’t create competing campaigns

With all the capabilities that modern geotargeting can provide, it can be easy to create hundreds of campaigns in one metro area, each targeted at a specific venue or city. However, creating hyper-local campaigns does have its drawbacks. When you have too many local ads in a small area, you can end up with overlapping audiences. As a result, your campaigns will be competing against each other.

Competing campaigns can end up eating away at your budget, often making one all-encompassing ad for the greater region more cost-effective.

As you select the restraints of your geotargeted ads, it’s important to pay attention to where you have active advertisements. When you notice potential overlaps happening, you can decide whether you want to play with your ad boundaries or consolidate your smaller campaigns into a broader campaign.

Use local data wisely

Businesses around the world are taking advantage of customer data as they build their ad campaigns. In doing so, they can build closer relationships with people who match certain characteristics—and live or work in specific areas. Through geotargeting, you can get found by your target audience and give them the most relevant content possible.

To learn more about how you can accelerate your business, browse through our in-depth local marketing guides for more tips and inspiration.

Matt Boyce
Matt Boyce Head of SMB Marketing

Matt Boyce is a marketing and business professional at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

Adapt the way you do business. Press send.