Time Based Geo Targeting Improves AdWords Performance in a Competitive National Market.
In a time when the competition for visitors driven to your site from Google AdWords is increasing, using all the tools that are available to spend your budget wisely is a must. This is particularly true for companies that have locations that are only open during certain hours. Or, if you know your searchers have a specific pattern when they’re looking for your type of company, which was the case of our franchise client. This makes time based geo targeting a critical, competitive skill for your tool set.
Getting in Front of the Right Searcher at the Right Time
There are two settings within AdWords that can allow your ads to get in front of the right searcher at the right time. AdWords allows advertisers to set-up schedules when your ads will appear in front of your potential customers. You can set schedules by time of day, day of the week and even multiple live and dark periods during a specific day. This can allow for a very targeted approach to when your ad is being displayed.
We used this to great effect for our office cleaning franchise client, by having multiple live and dark periods during the business week. The client offered janitorial service franchises on a regional basis. The potential customers that they were looking for were divided into two groups:
An individual who was already working as an office cleaner for someone else and wanted to become their own boss. This potential customer would be working after normal business hours, from 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM. They would have time to search online in the afternoon, also after 1:00 AM, and on the weekends. They were generally looking for a single unit franchise.
2. The Successful Business Person
The second customer being targeted was the successful business person who was looking to become a business owner and to make a wise investment in a franchise business. They would do online searches during normal business hours with some time spent online during Sunday afternoon.
A Unique Message for Each Targeted Customer Profile
Both customer profiles had a unique set of messages that they would respond to as well as having a different tone of voice in the ad. We created separate campaigns for the two customer segments. The campaigns were targeted to their specific times online and containing the different messaging that resonated with the segment. This improved the client’s performance in both CTR (click through rate) and CPL (cost per lead very rapidly). CTR bumped from 2.5% to 5.9% on average and the cost per lead decreased by 22% within the first month.
The Key for Campaign Performance in Multi-Time Zone or International Scheduling
The above is a very locally geo targeting scenario, being focused on a specific city or state. If this was being run out of a local AdWords account, the geo settings are a simple thing to set up. But often, an advertiser will be displaying ads across multiple time zones or even countries. This adds a wrinkle to how the schedules are set up. The following is the key to getting the campaigns to perform by ad scheduling in a multi-time zone situation. Remember that your AdWords account has a permanent time zone assigned to it when it was originally set-up. This generally matches your billing address but can be set to your choice initially. Once set though, it is unchangeable.
This can make for a bit of a challenge when setting up national or international campaigns. For example, if you are in Los Angeles and you wish to run an ad schedule for a Boston targeted campaign, you need to offset the start and end times by 3 hours to account for the time zone difference. This can quickly result in multiple campaigns that may be identical in all aspects except for the ad schedule.
Customer Profiles, Online Times and Location in Time Based Geo Targeting
Understanding the profile of individual customer segments, the times that they are online and where they are located can dramatically improve your performance. It is all about having the ads live when your customers are searching and dark when they are offline. This will result in a more qualified click on the ad and an increased likelihood to convert to a lead or a sale. AdWords gives you the tools to do this and the smart advertiser will take advantage of them to spend their dollars wisely.
Click here to view a video on AdWords targeting.