You're being followed.
In fact, we all are.
With a smartphone in hand, we're being tracked by one organization or another at all times of the day. How else do you think the ads we get on our phones match so precisely to where we are and what we're doing?
This process has a name: geo-targeting (sometimes 'country targeting'). And marketers are expected to spend almost $40 billion on such mobile advertisements by 2022.
Clearly, knowing who, what and where their potential customers are is a major boon for business. What else would explain such hefty expenditure?
But what's going on?
What exactly is geo-targeting and why are businesses willing to spend so much money on it?
Keep reading to find out.
You're a bar manager in town and start receiving ads from drinks suppliers in the area.
Or, you own a local gym and find an array of ads for gym equipment available nearby. Or, you start seeing ads about your favorite band that's playing in the stadium in your city next week...
These are all examples of how the country targeted (aka geo-targeted) ads work.
Most of us allow our devices to track our location. It's just useful for GPS services and so on. Likewise, we might tell social media where we're based, and update it with our exact whereabouts ('Joe Blogs is currently feeling happy at X'...).
Essentially, marketers leverage this data at their disposal to hone in on the locations that make sense to advertise their product or service.
Indeed, adverts aimed at a wide, generic audience don't do well. As a rule of thumb, the narrower your audience, the more chance of getting a return on the ad investment.
Imagine you run a tattoo parlor in New York. It just wouldn't make sense to advertise your service to the massive group of people who like tattoos in America. Geo-targeting means you can hone in on tattoo-lovers in New York, and even your specific area of the city.
Country-targeting has a host of positive ramifications for your business. Here are a few of them.
User experience (UX) is central to improved performance in search engines (especially Google).
Essentially, the better the experience of using your site, the more favor you'll be showing in rankings. After all, Google wants its users to have a positive experience. That's what ensures they keep using their service!
Country targeting for international sites is crucial. For example, content can automatically adapt to the language of the country from which it's being accessed. That ease of access improves usability.
This relates to the subject of international SEO, which also plays into the UX. Essentially, you help Google (or other search engines) to quickly determine the country you're targeting and the language used there. Only with international SEO will your website/content show up in local listings.
The aforementioned language adaptation is an example of personalized content.
Personalization is a buzz word in digital marketing nowadays. Essentially, generic, mass-scale advertisements don't have the same ROI that they once did. Instead, users and consumers respond to content, suggestions and offers that pertain directly to them.
Think YouTube and Netflix suggesting videos and shows based on your preferences and history.
It goes hand in hand with personalization. After all, ads and content hone in on a consumer's precise location. They see ads that pertain to their own precise interests and whereabouts.
Targeting by location is a sure-fire way to improve the effectiveness of an ad.
We've already noted how ads to wide audience bases don't work well. It's like searching for a needle in a haystack. Geo-targeting removes the hay. Businesses focus on the places that make sense for their product/service.
Ads become far more relevant to would-be customers. After all, it's personalized to them. A student doesn't want to see retirement advice. A vegan doesn't want to see the latest meat deals at the supermarket. And so on...They'll never respond to ads that are related to them.
Businesses can ensure that their ads pertain to their target audiences' needs. The return on investment will increase as a result.
Relevance is a key-word.
If your product or service is relevant, then your ad is likely to be clicked.
Think about politicians trying to gain votes in a certain area. With geo-targeting, they can direct a message straight to people in the place from which they need votes. Think about restaurants. They can advertise their new menu to foodies right in the local neighborhood.
It's normal to take an interest in things happening in your area. Your target audience is simply more likely to click on something when it has its location in the ad.
These are examples of industries where local relevance is crucial to success.
Got a particular promotion running at the moment?
Well, geo-targeting can help you spread the message and increase its effectiveness.
For instance, someone wants to go shopping and is searching online for the particular item they require. Suddenly, they get a notification/alert telling them where to purchase it (based on their location). They get shown the particular promo at the same time.
Geo-targeted promo ads benefit from the same personalization and relevance as any other. Those extra clicks mean more sales.
There you have it: exactly why country targeting is so important for your business.
In today's world, modern technology makes it hard to hide. Our mobile phones make it possible to track our whereabouts at whatever time of day, and wherever we might be. Likewise, we often input our personal information into social media platforms and other online forms.
That data is a goldmine for marketers. Geo-targeting has risen in popularity as a result. Suddenly, there's the ability to target ads and alter the content in accordance with a potential consumer's location.
And that's good for business.
Hopefully, this piece has highlighted the main ways a business stands to benefit for the practice!
Enjoy this article? Want more advertising-related advice? Click here to learn how to minimize your Google Ads expenditure.
Search Engine Marketing Columnist
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