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Guest host @markkennedysem talked about Local PPC in this week’s PPCChat session. He sought PPC experts’ views on the ways they are using ads for local campaigns, Strategies for ad extensions, How aggressive they are with local landing pages & adding negative locations, and more.

Q1 – Other than Headline 1, what ways are you using ads for local ppc campaigns

Making sure users know my client has a local presence. Also trying to escape the formulaic “Serving [INSERT CITYNAME]. I think we’ve all experienced the frustration of bad experiences from national/intl ads on local searches. @_GilHong

Location extensions are a must for local PPC. You can use ad text and/or callout extensions to highlight service areas too. @NeptuneMoon

Location extensions all day long so that searchers can see a physical location advert and a local phone number if that is being served. I also really like the ‘in store’ overlay in Google Shopping. @SarahScarfeMktg

Dynamic insertions of location name typically works well. @360vardi

Location extensions and ad customizers with location names. @jennifer_lash

Location Extensions are a must-do; dynamic insertion of location name(s) work well, as well as “in-store” overlays (products). I also like structured callouts/snippets for specific offices (professional services). @DigitalSamIAm

Location extensions and affiliate location extensions are always a big winner. @JonKagan

Q2 – What are your strategies for ad extensions. We a lot talked about extensions earlier this month, what are your go-tos for local campaigns.

Local Extensions in the map-pack are a must. And 99% of the time, the phone extensions are a must as well. And like with adcopy, you can local with callouts – open now/weekends. Serving (City), etc. @markkennedysem

Location extensions (with a local phone number using the feature for a tracked number in GMB) are always a must with a local campaign. @SarahScarfeMktg

Location extensions, call extensions and callout extensions emphasizing local nature of the business, locations, etc. Sitelink extension if you have more than one locations in the area, cause sometimes Google sucks at showing the right location to searchers! @NeptuneMoon

Same strategy that I would any campaign, use as many extensions as possible to increase ad rank and ad real estate. @_GilHong

Location extensions & call extensions, also callout extensions for certain things (some locations offer different/more services than others, store specific promos, etc.) @jennifer_lash

This depends on the type of business — but almost always it includes site link extensions, location + call extensions. Sometimes I’ll use a “services” callout extension at the ad group level (I loathe account-wide ones). For Products, “In-Store” overlays. @DigitalSamIAm

We use @CallRail or Ringba, depending on the client/CRM/tech stack. Sometimes things don’t play nicely, so it’s good to have options. @DigitalSamIAm

Location extensions, also big on doing local numbers on call extensions when I can @JonKagan

Q3 – How are you focusing on areas that may outperform others?

There are 2 ways we use the most – either local bid adjustments, or if we want specific budgets, we’ll break a campaign out by locations, and budget/bid appropriately. So we may bid higher for the same keyword in two different areas. @markkennedysem

Local bid adjustments right now but I have done separate campaigns for different locations in the past when budget per location was stricter. @jennifer_lash

This is complicated to answer… If you break out too small geographically, campaigns suffer, as Google is not that great at physically locating people. And, you have to exclude like crazy to get it to even kind of work like you want. @NeptuneMoon

Break out specific areas into their own campaigns if they need their own budgets, otherwise use location bid adjustments. Also be sure to look at mobile/desktop-tablet performance to see if either warrants segmentation as well. @_GilHong

Location bid adjustments are always good. We use them in areas where we want maximum coverage so areas around the physical location, and we also use them to target particular areas of weakness. Handy when your clients are targeted based on area of influence. @SarahScarfeMktg

That being said, if there are areas that really outperform others consistently, I do like to break them out from the pack into their own campaigns. The “recently in” category of people further adds to the murkiness. @NeptuneMoon

For locations that support phone calls, I use a different mobile call to action on than on desktop w/ If statements to change dynamically. Two campaign types for local. One targeted to each city w/ generic local kws. the next targeted to DMA with city specific kws. @KevinAdamsPPC

If you’re using any “automated” strategy, location bid adjustments don’t work (except for max clicks + TSPL), so you’re stuck with segmenting at the campaign level, but (i) that can really shrink audiences, (ii) you still need a catch-all and (iii) it’s a PITA. @DigitalSamIAm

Also, breakout helps scale with large campaigns. National dealers, franchises, etc. @markkennedysem

When possible, I isolate campaigns by geography. Allows for better messaging personalization, and analyzing data and deployment by time of day and local environment. @JonKagan

Q4 – Do you typically target by zip, city/town or radius? (Yes, it depends is a valid answer )

As I said, it’s always going to depend on the client, but radius seems to get more activity than a zip. However, it’s usually a combo, of all three, unless a DMA is involved. @markkennedysem

I try to take a queue from the client on what’s important to them. This typically aligns with how they think of geos for other marketing strategies. @_GilHong

It varies depending on the client, but I’ve used a combination of each of these. We have noticed that in the UK several postcode districts are missing from the targeting though which can be a headache. @SarahScarfeMktg

Ever since having an experience where I was targeting by county and the queries didn’t serve if you put in service + zip codes in the county, I add both for targeting. I err on adding more elements that might cover the same actual geo. This is for my setup. @NeptuneMoon

It depends, but I’ve done it a few different ways…I have one client in the upper midwest where locations are so spread out that I use radius + zip codes to cover reasonable user behavior as well as outside sales zones for each location. @jennifer_lash

City/Town, DMA, and sometimes County. @KevinAdamsPPC

It depends. I tend to be in the @NeptuneMoon camp, where I’ll add a larger region AND zip codes AND a radius. Redundancies don’t hurt, but missed opportunities do. @DigitalSamIAm

Anything with brick and mortar locations, it is by radius or zip code, at a minimum. @JonKagan

Q5 – Do you tend to run your keywords in your area without town names, with, or both? eg – Philadelphia furniture store vs furniture store

We run both in separate adgroups (main terms vs local terms), especially if there are multiple towns. But you have to use adgroup negatives, to prevent the main terms overriding the local terms. @markkennedysem

I run both in separate ad groups so they can have different creatives and advert extensions. @SarahScarfeMktg

Both, in different ad groups. @jennifer_lash

I will put keywords + town names in initially, but more often than not, they are all or mostly “low search volume”. It is clear to me that Google really does not want you to include the geo modifiers in keywords. @NeptuneMoon

We use both! Also need to be mindful of any slang/nicknames people may have for towns and neighborhoods. i.e. Philadelphia and Philly. @_GilHong

Both, always interesting to see what wins. @JonKagan

Well, considering Google now ignores targeted keywords in BMM + PM, it’s a bit trickier. I do like to add variants with the neighborhood or intraregional names (“Main Line” or “Chesnut Hill”, for example). This is where Dynamic Keyword Insertion can help. @DigitalSamIAm

Each specialty has own ad group in each campaign using generic city-targeted vs location targeted campaign. movers & piano movers, vs miami movers & miami piano movers. Extensions by specialty ‘Baby grands” doesn’t go in Commercial movers. Low Search Vol. is tricky. @KevinAdamsPPC

As a follow-up to Q5 does anyone run JUST local terms and not core terms. I don’t think there is enough traffic in most cases to warrant that (unless a small budget), but curious if anyone does it.

I’ve definitely tried this usually because of manufacturer requirements (eg, they’ll bid on the core terms and ban dealers from bidding on them) but have typically been scuppered by ‘low search volume’ @SarahScarfeMktg

Q6 – Switching over to defense, how aggressive are you with adding negative locations (if at all) and negative town names?

If you really need to prevent your ads from showing outside your locations, we always add negative areas. Google tends to leak outside your targeting, & this helps cut unwanted clicks. And same as always with negative KW’s. They love showing you for outside-area terms. @markkennedysem

For locations that are in closer proximity to each other I am fairly aggressive with both neg. locations + kw. @jennifer_lash

I negative EVERYTHING I do not want. That includes countries and states for sure. And I will do counties if I’m not doing all in a state and towns too. If you don’t, your ads will show in many places you think you are not targeting. @NeptuneMoon

Depending on the client + the setup (regional vs. single campaign, etc.), anywhere from moderate to extremely aggressive. @DigitalSamIAm

We had to do this as standard when I was working in automotive because otherwise nearby franchises owned by different dealer groups would complain to the franchise. Again on occasion negative location targeting doesn’t work so we always backed it up with neg KW. @SarahScarfeMktg

I started with new client last year and they were sold that they were targeting very specifically by town. Setup would appear that that would be the case. NOPE. Ads were cross serving because there we no to minimal location exclusions. Take the time to do it! @NeptuneMoon

More aggressive on negative geos, but less aggressive on negative geo keywords unless there’s strict servicing areas. @_GilHong

Make lists of exclusions – like I have one for all the states and countries. If you do the work once for counties or town, keep a sheet with that data so you don’t have to compile it again! @NeptuneMoon

I do a lot of healthcare/health insurance brands, with strict guidelines, as well as franchisee clients, so the zip code exclusion gets heavy. I wish for a day with radius exclusion. @JonKagan

Tons of negative location Kw’s. I limit negative location exclusions except to avoid overlap. I’ll exclude immediate surrounding counties if needed but rarely states. IXP’s make the prospects of losing good traffic high. @KevinAdamsPPC

Q7 – How aggressive are you with local landing pages as far as “per area”. Do you have multiple LP’s for each zips, groups of areas, etc. Feel free to mention any local ppc LP tips

I tent to group them. For example, if I have 3 zips in one town, I’ll use a town LP, not an LP for each zip. I tend to like regional where I can as well (ciy, county). But in some cases, we have to get specific on each page. @markkennedysem

There should be some local element to landing pages. You want it to match to your targeting and not be so specific that if it shows to just outside your targets it might turn people off. Dynamic page elements can be great for this. @NeptuneMoon

I’d love tips on this one…I’ve had clients with specific LP for each location that have just general store info & clients with just one LP for all brick and mortar stores info (about 10 stores that were spread across different regions) @jennifer_lash

This used to be a massive bone of contention in the agency I used to work. We used to run local campaigns and send all the traffic to the homepage. IMO it would have made sense to use the dealer contact pages as the LP and make those into location microsites. @SarahScarfeMktg

Put information about your other locations on all of your landing pages, if you can. That way, if the location isn’t quite the right match, they can see the location that should have matched better! @NeptuneMoon

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