Location, Location, Location – The Importance of Geo-targeting in Digital Marketing
The most effective marketing solution includes awareness of your audience – their needs and preferences. Where they are located is perhaps one of the most informative elements to take into consideration. The interest is global, as are most brands and businesses nowadays. This global span means that you are no longer only targeting people with the same or similar voice and background as you, but audiences on a wider scale.
Part of your marketing strategy should always include consideration for your audience’s location and likely already has whether you’ve intentionally planned it or not. Take AdWords for example, you are likely to have several Brand campaigns, separated out by geo-location. These campaigns probably have different bids, ad copy and even keywords.
Let’s say you are a hotel property in Galway, the likelihood that your largest audience demographic for bookings in the hotel is Ireland. Therefore, your Brand campaign in Ireland should have higher bids and more focus on information that locals might be more aware of. A Brand campaign targeting the United States on the other hand, may have a lower bid that increases in the summer month when bookers in this location are most likely to travel to Ireland. The ad copy and keywords may also focus on broader terms that wouldn’t alienate those who are not entirely familiar with the city of Galway or the surrounding area. Say your Hotel is called Seashell Hotel, in your Irish Brand campaign you may use the keywords “seashell hotel” and “seashell hotel galway”, whereas your American demographic maybe less familiar with the hotel, so you would use keywords like “seashell hotel Ireland” or “irish seashell hotel galway”.
AdWords is not the only platform where this is possible, Facebook also allows you to target based on geo-location. You can focus your campaign on a country, region, county, city or even neighborhood. An example of good geo-targeting would come through the promotion of a wedding showcase or open day. Alongside targeting individuals who are recently engaged, you need to take into consideration how far from your location people are willing or able to come from to choose you as their wedding venue. You can pinpoint your location on Facebook and select a radius around there of up to 80 kilometers from the point placed. Using this kind of geo-targeting will ensure you have the most likely audience to be interested in what you are promoting and won’t be spending money on an audience who isn’t.
For a larger property though, targeting further than home might actually be beneficial. With so many people choosing to live as expats in other countries and continents, the market for weddings might not be as local as you’d think. Bigger hotel properties or ones located near larger cities with well-connected airports, can use geo-targeting to catch the attention of recently engaged expats who may be planning a wedding back home. This is best carried out through Facebook, where you can not only target people based on their location, but also based on their marital status e.g. recently engaged and their living situation (if they are living away from their hometowns).
Above, the audience targeting listed as Expats (Country) indicates people who have identified as being from the country in brackets but currently live elsewhere. If you are a property in Ireland for example, you would then select the option for Expats (Ireland) and then the countries you want to target the expats in (i.e. Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada…etc).
Your ads need context, which is why geo-targeting is so important. This is particularly true for hotels and brands with more generic names. To avoid mistaking your property for another in a different location with the same, or similar, name, it is important to be aware of where confusion may occur for your name in the targeted area.
What you promote should also depend on where you are sharing your message. For example, a one-night last-minute stay for your Galway property may work well to promote in Ireland, where access to the hotel is easier and may be decided on last-minute. This kind of offer would likely flop if promoted in the United States or Canada, where trips to Ireland are often planned far in advance and stays are set for longer than a single night. What would make more sense for this demographic would be longer stays or advanced purchase.
Geo-targeting is just another form of segmentation that can play a key role in improving your audience targeting and increasing your chances of getting a strong return from your ad campaigns. Are you utilising geo-targeting in your digital strategy?