Is Your Search Advertising Targeting the Right Audience?

Search advertising audience targeting tips

Today, most businesses understand the importance of search advertising. Studies show that 75% of searchers never scroll past page one of search results, and search advertising is a quick and easy way to gain a presence on the first page. This makes search advertising a vital piece of the marketing puzzle.

But if your ads aren’t showing up in the right places in front of the right people, then your puzzle could still be incomplete.

If your search advertising target audience doesn’t consist of people who are truly interested in your products or services, or is not near your location or service area, you aren’t going to get the results you’re looking for.

Here are three questions you should ask to help you determine the right targeting tactics for your search advertising.

1) “What keywords are my target consumers using to search for my product or service?”

Search advertising uses keywords to match your ads to what your target audience, is searching for. Search Engine Land recommends several places to start with building a keyword list, including market research about how people actually search for your product or service, keyword suggestion tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner, and even your own website analytics, which you can review to see what people are visiting the most in terms of products and services, brand names, and more.

When creating your search advertising keyword list, always keep that target audience in mind. A furniture store selling only high-end furniture wouldn’t just bid on the term “sofa,” but would instead think like a consumer. People search for a variety of terms, phrases, and keywords, which is why it’s important to develop a robust keyword list that will capture a variety of related interests you want to advertise to. So, once you have your core keyword list, build it out by adding variations and modifiers like your location and descriptive terms that people in your target audience are using to search for products and services like yours.

In this example, you would want to create long-tail keywords with adjectives like “luxury” or “high end.” In addition, you can set up what is called “negative keywords,” which are terms you don’t want your ad to show up for, such as “cheap” or “discount.” This tactic can help prevent your ad for showing up for searchers outside of your target audience.

2) “How far would a customer drive for my product or service?”

Or, alternatively, how far would I drive to serve a customer? This is a question key to determining how to geo-target your search advertising campaign so that your ads are showing up for people who are actually within this area. Geo-targeteting is done by setting your search campaign to show your ads to users based on the IP address of their computer. Typically, you can target a specific territory, like a city or region, or by selecting a distance-based radius for your campaign.

But how do you choose the right area to target? It really depends on factors like how many people are searching for your type of business locally and the level of competition in the desired area.

For example, a car dealership may want to target an entire metro area, like the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. But if there are 25 similar dealerships in the area, people are more likely to drive to the one that’s closest to them, so it’s better to focus your geo-targeting on consumers who are in a more closely defined geographic area. But, if there are a low number of searches for your business type, you probably want to broaden your target area to reach more potential buyers. In addition, if there are fewer competitors for your business type in your target area, like a Jaguar dealership, which only competes with 10 dealerships in the whole state of Texas, people are more likely to drive further to your business because it provides exactly what they want. So, these businesses can target their ads to a wider geographic location to reach the right consumers.

3) “Are mobile users searching for my products or services?”

In most cases, the answer to this question is “yes.” Search advertising allows you to target not just desktop searchers, but mobile searchers as well. Mobile may not have been as much of a concern a few years ago, but now, 60% of consumers use mobile exclusively to make purchasing decisions. With the growing number of mobile searches, businesses need to make sure they are seen on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Running a mobile-optimized search advertising campaign (and ensuring you send users to a mobile landing page or website) is important for all local businesses, especially those where the consumer’s need is both local and urgent: businesses like towing companies, auto repair shops, and urgent care centers, to name a few. But that doesn’t mean other businesses should shy away from mobile: even people making long-term purchases in areas like real estate and healthcare are starting their research on mobile devices.

Get More from Your Search Advertising

Keyword targeting, geographical targeting, and device targeting are all important factors to make sure you are focusing your search advertising efforts on the right target audience. If you get in front of the right people in the right area at the right time, you can reach even more consumers searching online and increase your search advertising ROI.

Andrea Neph

Andrea joined ReachLocal in 2010 as a Campaign Professional. In her time in the Global Services Department, she moved into a Premium Campaign Professional role and then helped launch the Campaign Consultant program in 2012. Andrea will be transitioning into an Executive Accounts role in the spring of 2015 and is excited to grow her knowledge in the digital marketing industry.

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