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Google's Regional Advertising Problem

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Old 12-02-2009, 06:17 AM
bholus10 bholus10 is offline
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Default Google's Regional Advertising Problem

There are a lot of online businesses out there whose target market is very much on a regional scale for a number of factors. "Luckily" Google offers the option of setting up regional pay per click campaigns so that you can do just that, target your potential customers within a designated area.

So when a client approached me and suggested that 95% of his clients come from within 150 miles of Newcastle Upon Tyne City Centre, U.K. I set about the task of launching a Google Adwords Campaign for him.

I set up his campaign by choosing a radius of 150 miles from a specific point of origin, and went through the usual process of choosing keywords, ad text, PPC cost, card payment details and the rest.

Then I gave it about 10 minutes and had a look to see if his advertisement was showing. It wasn't, so I made sure that there was no errors being flagged by Google in the account and phoned the client to see if he could see his ads. To my surprise, he was seeing his ads three down from the top right and on the 1st page of Google's search engine results.

I checked again and went back a few pages, still no joy. This was baffling!

Real Confusion

Then the client called at the close of business saying that now he too couldn't see his ads. I checked again and couldn't see them either.

As Google does not have a U.K. based telephone support line, I emailed them with my query to which they replied, "your ads are now showing, however they weren't because they were under review."

So we left it until the next day, frankly expecting to see the ads and sure enough my client was seeing the ads in Newcastle, but once I wasn't seeing them 3 miles north of Newcastle and neither was my partner 3 miles east of Newcastle.

At this point confusion started to set in, so I emailed Google again
with the issue and they got back to me saying "Your ads were under review again, however I can confirm that they are now showing."

We decided to wait until the next time my client couldn't see the ads, then email Google with the time of the problem. Google, to our surprise, came back with the following, "You may not see your ad because your last login IP was located outside your targeted region."

With further investigation, we found that my client had a dynamic IP address, meaning that his IP address was flying all over the place, resulting in him sometimes seeing his ad and sometimes not.

We also found out that my IP address and his IP address were actually both dynamic and based in London, U.K.

This experience got me thinking and questioning the point of regional campaigns using popular search phrases, because if most internet users have a dynamic IP address and they are conducting searches, although they may well be based within the 150 mile radius that we specified for my client, they may not see the ad because there IP address is moving all over the country.

To this end, my client decided to get a static IP address in Newcastle and sure enough he was seeing his ads within the 150 mile area.

I also found that if I typed in the region, i.e. Property Lawyers in Newcastle I could see his ad, but if I omitted the city name I couldn't see it.

In addition, the client has also received 3 enquiries from areas way outside of the 150 mile radius specified, meaning that they were either typing in the city name, (unlikely if they are based 400 miles away) or their IP addresses are also dynamic and have just picked up his ad while they are on the move.

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Old 12-02-2009, 06:18 AM
bholus10 bholus10 is offline
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Just remind me, what's the point in Google Regional Advertising Again?

Finally, I emailed Google for the last time explaining what was happening and they came back with the following, "If you feel you could be losing a significant amount of traffic because of inaccurate IP addresses, you might want switch to national targeting."

This response made both myself and my client realize that Google really didn't care much for regional targeting because they make vastly more money if you set-up a national advertising campaign and it also increases the likelihood of pay per click fraud.

I realize that you can limit yourself to a small budget to ensure that you don't overspend, but this also hampers the positional performance of your ad and just makes you want to try even harder to get to the promised land of high organic search engine rankings.

In the future I will be putting my clients through National Google Adwords Campaigns and if they want to target specific areas, we'll just have to use specific keyword targeting, which isn't ideal as they are lower in popularity, but it seems like this is the only logical solution.
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