10 Practical Tips For Using Geo-Location To Reach Your Target Audience

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Jeans company True Religion needed to promote events and new products at its retail stores. Using geo-targeted emails focused on areas in which the brand had a high concentration of stores, True Religion was able to serve up dynamic emails unique to each audience to drive in-store traffic.

65,000 geo-targeted emails were opened with a 2.5% click through rate and a 1% in-store conversion, a huge impact for one campaign with a small data set, per True Religion’s Director of Global e-Commerce, Gary Penn.

Examples like the above support metrics that find geotargeting doubles the performance of all kinds of marketing methods, from email campaigns to paid search. Per data from the Local Search Association’s LSA Insights database, it also doesn’t matter what vertical your business is in.  The click-through rate for geotargeted mobile display ads was higher than the industry benchmark for all verticals.

Insights chart

The effectiveness of geo-targeting is only going to further improve as mobile use grows and location data becomes more accurate and available. The Local Search Association (LSA) just released data that found that, for the first time, mobile devices surpassed PC use in search for local businesses and services. As I reported last month, the majority of searches (52%) for local information on mobile devices occur either in the car or away from home or work.

Furthermore, 70% of consumers are willing to share their location information if they believe they are getting something of value in return like coupons or loyalty points, according to LSA’s Local Mobile Search Study.  This dynamically moving consumer base is only going to be more receptive to search results and ads that are specific to their location.

Geotargeting is the practice of delivering content to a consumer — via mobile or web — using geographic location information about that individual. At a basic level, a business can restrict its reach to consumers only located in a defined geographic area such as a state or a city. But location often provides much deeper, more meaningful and identifiable traits that tell you what a person wants, needs or is interested in.

Here are 10 practical tips for using geo-location information to reach your target audience.

1. Find A Venue Where Your Target Audience Will Have Specific Wants Or Needs

Stadiums, airports, universities, and malls are examples of specific venues that can be targeted in order to reach specific interest groups. Stadiums provide a great opportunity to focus on specific short engagement events with an audience defined by that event. They often host fans from two specific cities or schools or fans of a specific music genre that is heavy in one demographic. A band like One Direction, for example, is likely to attract school-age female fans.

Use these consumer characteristics to time and target your marketing. For example, airports on weekdays are a great source of business travelers looking for high-end restaurants, while weekends and Spring Break bring more leisure visitors and families looking for more casual dining options. Likewise, dance clubs and bars can benefit by promoting 18 and over events targeted at universities whose student bodies are largely between the ages of 18-21. These are just a few examples of how venues define audiences that can be effectively targeted.

2. Exclude Locations Where Your Target Audience Will Not Be

Not only can you define an area you wish to reach, you can carve out an area you wish to exclude. Exclusion can be done by venue or one side of the street or any area that could have been specifically targeted.

For example, clubs and bars that might otherwise want to target university students may exclude that same area during breaks or the summer when most students are away.

Excluding locations may also be a more cost-effective way to avoid the higher ad rates of high demand target areas. Digital marketing agency Mediative explains in this SlideShare how lower-cost, broader area ad campaigns can accomplish the same targeting goals by opting out of all areas but your desired target location.

LSA map3. Define A Radius By Distance Or Time Around Your Store Or An Area Of Interest

Geo-fencing allows marketers to set a perimeter around a physical location in which ads can be delivered. For geo-fencing ads, they may include creative messages acknowledging the user’s location or may include location-based features such as a store locator.

For example, a coffee shop can set a 1-mile perimeter around its store and reach any user within that radius. Or, it could set a 3-mile perimeter around a nearby office complex to reach users that may be looking for somewhere to grab coffee before going into work. You can also try geo-conquesting, which targets customers around a competitor’s location.

Another way to define a perimeter is not by distance, but by time. A company named iGeolise developed a platform they call TravelTime, an API that allows mobile apps and sites to search by time rather than distance. This could be useful for a condo unit near downtown looking to attract workers with very long commutes, or a restaurant targeting hotel patrons within a 10-minute walking distance.

igeloise

Courtesy: iGeolise

4. Adjust Your Bid On Ads To Prioritize Better Locations

One concern with specific targeting is the loss in volume of audience. Even if you have an otherworldly 10% click-through rate, that’s just 10 click-throughs if only 100 people see your ad.

In low performing locations, the business developed from those areas may be outweighed by the campaign cost. By raising your bid for more desirable target locations, you increase your exposure in that area, while lowering your bid in other areas keeps your reach broad at a justifiable cost. These adjustments are a way of optimizing ad performance.

An event planning company or marketer for a musician that is hosting a concert in Chicago may use bid adjustments to prioritize Chicago, but also reach, at a lower cost, Milwaukee, WI and Grand Rapids, MI, both of which are driving distance

5. Use Location-Specific Keywords For Paid Search Ads

Geotargeting doesn’t always mean you have to capture where someone is physically located. Consumer intent is conveyed all the time by search queries, and location is a commonly included term. Consumers often narrow their own searches by adding in the name of a city or district.

For example, “Austin gyms” or “coffee shops near Dupont Circle” or “uptown restaurants” provide location intent that you can target. Include location terms such as area code, ZIP code, neighborhood, community name, nearby landmarks, popular venues, tourist destinations, well known street names, local jargon and other keywords that will help you get found when a consumer is searching for businesses around you.

6. Predict Your Audience By Geography

Geography can also be used to predict desirable demographics and information about users in that area. Neighborhoods can often be delineated by residents’ income bracket, age, ethnicity, education, and many other demographics or interests. Politicians often draw district boundaries into areas of common political constituencies that also predict demographics or common values.

Knowing your business’ target audience and matching it up with where they live or work helps you find those who might be most interested in your product or service.  For example, a ticket broker might want to advertise NCAA basketball tickets in the state of Kentucky and might think of using Kentucky basketball in its messaging.  However, Louisville basketball would be preferable for any advertising within 50 miles of the city on the Kentucky side of the border and 70 miles into Indiana due to the strength of Louisville’s fan base in those areas.

7. Discover Location Intent By Search History

Targeting ads using search history allows marketers to deliver location specific ads to consumers, even if the consumer’s tracked location doesn’t match the physical location of where he or she was searching.

For example, a user searching for information on the Empire State Building, Central Park, and Broadway tickets predicts a trip to New York. A hotel in the area could use that search history data to deliver a relevant and timely search related ad or message.

8. Analyze Consumer Behavior And Preference From Past Locations Visited

Location history of a consumer provides a lot of information specific to that person: where they like to shop, what they like to buy, how often they make the trip, and even how they get there. Obtaining this information gives great insight to marketers that enhances the ability to target consumers and deliver relevant, responsive location specific ads and information, even if the consumer is not currently in that area.

For example, a bagel shop might serve up a free coffee coupon to anyone who’s visited a Starbucks location more than once within 10 blocks of its shop.  The customers may be from anywhere in the city but their location history allows the bagel shop to target those who are likely to be in the area in the future.

9. Use Location-Specific Landing Pages To Provide Relevant Content

It’s important not only to target the right consumers, but to provide the most relevant information to them. If you find the right user who clicks on your ad, but the landing page for that ad isn’t customized, that conversion could be lost. Offer different website landing pages for each targeted ad that match the reason that user was targeted.

Another way to get the right people to the right landing page is through geo-aware targeting. Your site or landing page can detect where the user is when they click on a banner or visit your website.

For example, if a user from a high income neighborhood visits a car dealer’s site or clicks on a paid search display ad, that consumer may be directed to a landing page displaying a luxury vehicle, while consumers located in a lower income area may be targeted with a deal on an economy vehicle. The higher income consumers may be more interested in deals such as cash off or lower interest rates whereas those in lower income brackets may be more receptive to lower monthly payments.

10. Take Advantage Of Geographic Specific Events

Lastly, geographic specific events, such as the weather or traditional local holiday celebrations, can be used to target consumers. Some events are known in advance, like St. Patrick’s Day in Boston. Others are unexpected, like snow storms in Dallas.

Upon forecast of a blizzard, a hardware store may target consumers with content promoting snow shovels or snow blowers. The week before St. Patrick’s Day, a clothing store may promote its green colored or festive attire. Either way, these events will spike demand for particular items and are a great opportunity to boost sales.

In summary, these are but a few of the examples of how geography plays such an important part in creating customized and targeted marketing campaigns. Consumers respond better to relevant marketing which means that ROI of targeted campaigns will increase. Mobile consumers make geography one of the best ways to target while technology and data make doing so a real advantage to those who use it. Sometimes it takes a little creativity, but it is worth the effort. Especially for the business of local.

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