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How to Geotarget Display Ads to a Mobile Customer

Mobile Geotargeting

Local mobile advertising opens a new world of possibilities for brick-and-mortar businesses, both big and small. The ability to send relevant information to people at the exact moment they need it is something marketers have always dreamed of, and it's now a reality.

Geotargeting on mobile allows you to refine your ad reach to serve only the most relevant audiences at those key moments before a purchase. The granular targeting capabilities of Google's display ads allow you to get a robust return on investment from your ad spend, even with a limited budget.

It might mean fewer impressions and even clicks at first, but, when done right, it can significantly increase conversions.

According to Think With Google, 76 percent of people who use their smartphone to search for something nearby visit a business within a day, and 28 percent of those searches lead to a purchase.

This means that serving ads with relevant store or product information while people are shopping may be the most effective way to use your ad spend. And with Google's current capabilities, you can do just that.

If you've tried geotargeting in the past with underwhelming results, it's time to give local mobile advertising another try. Location targeting capabilities are much more sophisticated than they used to be, and machine learning has augmented ad display algorithms to better predict user intent.

In this post, we'll tell you about the tech that makes hyperlocal geotargeting possible, and how you can leverage it to improve your ad strategy and increase ROI on ad spend.

The Technology Behind Local Mobile Targeting

To understand how to use location targeting, it helps to know the different types of technology out there that allow display algorithms to serve your ads to potential customers at the integral moments before they make a purchase, also known as micro-moments.

Geotargeting is a broad term that refers to targeting a user based on their location, which is identified based on the zip code associated with their IP address or device ID. When you choose basic location targeting settings in an ad platform, this is usually how the server identifies relevant users.

At its most basic level, geotargeting works. But for mobile, it leaves something to be desired because that information can't always accurately tell you where a user is at a given moment, which is what we're trying to accomplish.

Enter, Google's geofencing: This targeting technology uses GPS to set a virtual fence around your key locations. This can either send a notification to your app users, perhaps promoting a sale or giving a discount code, or it can trigger specific messages to mobile searchers in your area. For businesses with storefronts, geofencing is a key piece of tech.

Another clever way marketers are reaching users is via Google's beacons, which are physical, Bluetooth-enabled markers that are placed in strategic locations around shops. They can be used with apps or on the web, broadcasting content from any object or place. If you have an app, beacons can tell you granular information, like how long a customer lingered in a particular aisle. This allows you to follow up with messages or offers that can be the key push toward conversion.

Technically, both geofencing and beacons fall under the category of geotargeting. Using these technologies to their fullest benefits may be a matter of enlisting outside help, so don't hesitate to consult with an agency about how to implement these into your strategy.

Next, we'll talk about how you can set up your Google display ads account to take advantage of the built-in capabilities for local mobile advertising.

How to Leverage Geotargeting for Google Display Ads

If you haven't yet made a Google My Business account, that's step one. This essentially registers your business with Google and ensures that your key business information — including address, phone number, hours, photos and more — appear when a user searches your business name.

Once that's established, you can add Google's location extensions to your ad account. Location extensions provide mobile searchers with details about your business when they search a relevant query.

For example, if you own a clothing boutique, you can add a location extension to show searchers your business information when they search terms such as, "women's dress shops nearby." This allows you to become top-of-mind for people when they're in your area and ready to buy.

Not only do location extensions alert searchers of your presence, they can make it easy for them to find further information about your business by providing a link to your website, a "Call" button or your location page.

Location extensions can be used with the Google Search Network, Display Network and Google Maps. Whether users are searching on mobile, browsing on their smartphones or checking maps to see what's around them, your information is there.

Combining location extensions with another form of geotargeting, such as geofencing or beacons, makes for a bulletproof local mobile advertising strategy. But even with an expert team in-house, it can be complicated to integrate strategies. This is where an agency can be invaluable, providing both an outside perspective and years of experience to bolster your team's work.

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