PPC location targeting – capturing mobile customers in the key buying phase

Posted: Monday 3rd March 2014 in Paid Media, Thought Leadership.

Location targeting on mobile

PPC location targeting can help you capture mobile shoppers at a crucial time

Written by Suzanne Finlay
Client Manager

Smartphone usage has increased rapidly in the UK over the last 2 years and, with the introduction of 4G, this is likely to continue.

Data from Hitwise’s ‘Festive Insights – Christmas 2013 Review’ webinar suggests that mobile shoppers’ priorities are as follows:

  • 83% use mobile for browsing and comparison shopping
  • 62% use mobile for location services
  • 61% use mobile to purchase
  • 20% use mobile barcode scanners

The new trend of showrooming (where customers check prices on their mobile phones while in store) presents a unique opportunity to target mobile shoppers when they are at the last stage of the buying cycle. Paid search location targeting allows retailers to achieve better average positions and/or create specific ad messaging in order to encourage these customers to convert.

What is PPC location targeting?

There are two types of location targeting:

  • Target and bid
  • Bid only

Using the target and bid approach your paid search ads will only appear in the specified location, allowing for bespoke messaging aimed at shoppers within a specified radius (miles) of that location. The bid only approach allows you to display your paid search ads to all locations within the UK but increase your bid for specified locations, which leads to better average positions for customers you wish to target.

How does this work in practice?

Case study 1

This retailer wanted to test the effectiveness of location targeting, specifically focussing on mobile shoppers in the vicinity of local stores. For the first round of testing we created duplicate campaigns for each location we wanted to focus on to allow us to monitor the performance of each without needing to account for additional variables, and then used target and bid for each campaign with bespoke messaging relevant to each specific area. We began by targeting people within a 20 mile radius of a store, and then gradually concentrated the focus area, to a 10 mile and then 5 mile radius.

We found that:

  • Click through rate doubled from 20 miles to 5 miles from 12.79% to 25.11%
  • Average position remained the same throughout

Building on the positive results from the first round of testing we then began to increase the mobile bids, to specifically target customers likely to be shopping in the vicinity of each store rather than browsing from a desktop at home:

  • 1st week – 10 mile radius with a 30% mobile bid adjustment
  • 2nd week – 5 mile radius with a 40% mobile bid adjustment
  • 3rd week – 1 mile radius with a 50% mobile bid adjustment

We found that:

  • Click through rate doubled from reducing the distance and increasing the mobile bid adjustment
  • Cost per click reduced from 10p to 6p, and overall cost decreased
  • Average position increased from 4.4 to 2.6

Case study 2

This retailer wanted to target shoppers in the vicinity of their own stores and also competitors’ stores. We created two campaigns that were exactly the same in terms of keywords, one named ‘competitor nearby’ and the other named ‘store nearby’.

Competitor nearby

Within this campaign we targeted the whole of the UK, but increased the bids in areas where there were a high number of competitor stores. The bid adjustment varied from 10% to around 30% depending on how many competitors were in the area.

The ads contained standard messaging as they would be viewed by people all over the UK, but were likely to have a higher position for people searching in areas with more competitor stores.

Store nearby

Within this campaign we targeted only the areas where the retailer had a store, with not only a high bid but also messaging that focused on persuading people to go into a ‘store near you’. We excluded the locations that we had specified in the competitor campaign to ensure that people in these areas would only see the ads with specific messaging designed to drive them to local stores.

In summary, this meant that people all over the UK were targeted, with a higher urgency and importance placed on those people who were near competitors. It also meant that people that were near to a physical store would see an ad suggesting they visit the store.

How to make the most of PPC location targeting for mobile

  • This level of PPC optimisation will work most effectively when you have an optimised mobile site. There’s no point driving traffic to a site where customers can’t easily navigate or purchase
  • Offer free Wi-Fi in-store to ensure you are user friendly for shoppers who may be show rooming
  • Consider targeting competitive locations with higher bids to ensure higher positions for your ads
  • Tailor your messaging in areas where you have stores – include details of unique store promotions if applicable
  • Offer promotions and discounts for those who are near a store to encourage them to come in
  • Ensure you are not excluding any locations. To do this, set your campaigns to target all of the UK and create duplicate campaigns to target specific locations. The location targeted campaigns will override the UK campaign



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