CAT | Adwords Geo-Targeting

There is a fantastic formula in Excel which I find myself using quite often when creating ads for Geo-Targeted campaigns.  Its called: Substitute


To demonstrate how it works, here is an example.  Keep in mind that your campaign structure will most likely be different than how it is outlined below.  You will need to take this strategy and contour it to fit your needs.  The concept is what is most important here.


To instantly create unique ads specific to the State and City follow these instructions:

  1. Write the creative and use “XXXX” to signify the State and “YYYY” to signify the city.
  2. Select Cells C1 through E10 >> CTRL D
    1. This copies the creative down for each adgroup.
  3. In Cell H1 write the following formula Result: “New York Cleaning Srvc.”
    1. =Substitute(C1,”XXXX”,A1)
    2. Result:New York Cleaning Srvc.
  4. In Cell I1 write the following formula
    1. =D1
    2. Result:Home, Office, or Vehicle.”
  5. In Cell J1 write nbso the following formula
    1. =Substitute(E1,”YYYY”,B1)
    2. Result:Servicing the Manhattan area.”
  6. Select Cells H1 through J10 >> CTRL D
    1. This copies the formulas down for each adgroup.
  7. Select Columns H,I,J >> Right Click >> Copy
  8. Select Column C >> Right Click >> Paste Special >> Paste Values >> OK
    1. This converts the formulas you wrote to text.

Here is the result:


Positives: It may be hard to see the value in using this method to create ads for 10 adgroups, but when you have campaigns which work on Towns within Cities within States, you can have hundreds of Adgroups.  At that point you will see the value in creating ads in this method as this only takes a few minutes to complete.

Negatives: Once you create ads for all of your adgroups, you will find that you have exceeded the character limits in a few locations.  These will need to be manually adjusted to make them fit.  Try removing a period: “area.” To “area”, abbreviating a word: “North” to “N”, or rewrite the entire line of text.

If you feel you are fed-up with the ambiguity of Google’s quality score, here is a great article outlining some of the things the FTC is going after Google about. We hope that in the least we will get a glimpse beneath Google”s Shroud of secrecy surrounding their Quality Score rating system.
Jump over to ClickZ for the article:

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In order to target smaller geographic areas Google Adwords allows advertisers to select a custom shape or radius to limit who sees their ads. However, It doesn’t always work the way it’s supposed to!

10 Mile Radius around Downtown San Diego

Recently we decided to select a 10 mile radius (the minimum reccommended by Google) to geo-target a local business in downtown San Diego. After running the ads for few days we noticed that our ads linked to keywords with the prefix “san diego” were not showing up in Google. We then increased the keyword cpc bid up to an expensive $20 a click, but they still didn’t show.

When speaking to Google about this issue they searched “san diego (keyword)” in the ad diagnostic tool and found our ad showing up in the top 3 positions every time. Nevertheless it was not showing up in our local searches. They then contacted their technical team and found that there was problem with their algorythym.

The Fix? Google suggested targeting no smaller than a 20 mile radius, or to target by a city. We decided to change our geo-targeting to San Diego City as it is closer to our target market. Immediately after the change our ads showed up in the top positions.

Google Adwords Advertisers beware: Do not geo-target an area smaller than a 20 mile radius!

A recent study released by MidMarketer reveals an interesting, yet self-defeating trend among mid-sized companies trying to minimize the adverse impact of the current economic climate.

First, check out how these companies responded when asked about their level of competency in various areas of marketing:

  1. PPC marketing – 66% answered they either understand only a few of the basics or have no clue where to start;
  2. Organic SEO – 64% answered they either understand only a few of the basics or have no clue where to start.
  3. 80% found the ability to measure marketing effectiveness a challenge.

When asked, Do you have plans to address your problem marketing areas?, only 35% answered they would outsource or hire a specialist. The remaining almost 2/3 said they either don’t have time to address the problem areas or would try to learn it themselves.

This is despite the fact that heavy workload represents the biggest hardship for this MidMarketer sample group.

Remember that these are not mom and pop operations. Over one half of the survey participants have a marketing staff between 2 and 12 people.

If you’re struggling with online marketing, trying to learn it on your own and not sure how to measure success, you’re not alone. You’re also missing a tremendous opportunity to pull ahead of your competition that may be feeling the same pain.

Hire an expert or outsource to an experienced reputable agency. If your ROI (loaded with the new costs) doesn’t improve, fire them and find another.

Stand on the sidelines because you don’t have enough time, though, and you’re destined to lose.

And if you’re trying to learn PPC and SEO when your heavy workload permits, remember that you’re competing with experienced online marketing specialists and agencies, who’ve benefited from testing numerous “behind-the-scenes” strategies for years.

This is one area where “biting the bullet” just won’t pay off.

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