Get locale-specific with geo-targeting to drive online consumers to the store

Marketers have long segmented their consumer base through geo-targeting at the country, state, city and ZIP code levels. In search, a retailer with a strong regional presence, like Modell’s, can use geo-targeting to optimize campaigns in states where it is a strong brand separately from states where consumers are not as familiar with it. Now, a more “micro” type lets marketers fine-tune campaigns beyond simply selecting the states in which to serve ads. This focused method of geo-targeting can be used to target shoppers with different offers by locale, almost like an online FSI. This eliminates targeting shoppers in another locale where the branch isn’t offering the same promotion.

Google’s custom targeting features give marketers the ability to move beyond traditional geographic segmentation by defining complex targeting by longitude and latitude. Marketers are starting to leverage these tightly defined areas to serve different offers based on the likelihood to visit a bricks-and -mortar location. This concept beats radius targeting, because it factors in overall drive time, taking into consideration obstacles like lakes, mountains traffic and more.

Once consumers are further identified, different strategies can be used to capture different consumers. This includes discrimination in bid strategies for different types of consumers, as well as versioned paid search ad copy, landing pages and user experience. This enables a marketer to prioritize marketing investment. For instance, we have found that if a consumer lives close to a store, they are more likely to buy there. The retailer would thus bid more aggressively for mission-critical keywords where this multichannel consumer lives.

“Micro-targeting” provides marketers the ability to geographically segment audiences based on psychographic, demographic and other buying patterns based on data. Layering these data uncovers actionable behavioral information about searchers in given locations.

This article originally ran as part of the December 14, 2009 Technique, “Unleash the power of search and analytics.” To read the entire feature, click here.

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