Local vs National Advertising on Adwords & Facebook – What is more profitable for local businesses?

At first glance it would seem very apparent that a local business, if choosing to use pay per click advertising, should set the geo-targeting to the local area – in other words so the adverts appear in their local area.

This would appear to be obvious in order to achieve traffic from local potential customers and also to ensure that no wastage occurs.  It is clearly, along with carefully controlled keyword selection, a good start.

However, what about regional businesses that are, perhaps, happy to cover all of the Midlands region of the UK, or all the south west region of England, or all of the North West.  Well, yes, you can of course set an area around, say Birmingham, Manchester,  Bristol, Exeter etc using Adwords, Yahoo advertising or even Facebook.  This is well worth testing, however there may be another area worth testing for you also…..

Is Nationwide advertising on Pay Per Click ever more profitable for a local / regional business than local pay per click advertising?

The short answer is yes.  Clearly budgets and how much work you can cope with is a factor, but here’s the surprise …we have seen clients get more LOCAL business from a nationwide or large area coverage than when the customer has simply targeted the local area.

This does not necessarily happen each and every time. However, if the name of the game is for you to maximise on return on investment, and you are based in a relatively low population area, then you may want to test the following.

How can this happen? More local traffic from a nationwide campaign doesn’t make sense….

Well perhaps not at first glance.  However, consider a company in Birmingham wishing to market itself on the internet.  They cover all the central England region within a 60 mile radius of Birmingham.  They try a local campaign on targeted phrases around Birmingham and the immediately surrounding area and achieve, say, 40 visits to their website per week.

Now what this campaign clearly will not capture is people based in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Leeds, Glasgow and overseas European cities to name a few.    It will trigger an advert if someone in a procurement department in a head office in London searches for “X service in Birmingham” because the company has a need for the service in Brum…but what if, like many people, the person just initially searches for “x service,” “x service uk” or “x service nationwide coverage”?  The localised advert is not triggered and the company in Birmingham may not get the lucrative contract or lead they were looking for, even if it is on their own doorstep.

We are not advocating throwing as much money as you can imagine at national or global campaigns.  It is however, worth considering that densely populated locations such as London can, as we regularly see, produce up to seven times the traffic of other cities.  Add to that the number of procurement departments, head offices etc. based in all the other major UK and, where appropriate, overseas cities and it possible to see how being too parochial in our approach – especially where business to business enquiries are concerned – can sometimes damage a campaigns ability to yield profits.

Of course the numbers have to be crunched.  Once average cost per click, click through rates and conversion rates are taken into account, whether a wider geographical area (or selecting certain cities) is more profitable than just triggering adverts in your local area is more profitable can be tested and worked out.  If the profits from spreading your net wider actually stack up, then it is not so much a case of focusing on wastage from clicks in an area you do not service, as focusing on the extra enquiries you get from an area you do focus on – they just may have originated from a computer or mobile device some distance away.

If you don’t test I suppose you never know.  For innovation and marketing campaigns focused solely on making you more profitable, wherever you are in the world, contact info@harbornewebdesign.co.uk  We consult on all aspects of online marketing, fresh web content, website redevelopment, branding, SEO, Pay per click, online video, E-marketing and social media. You can also call on 07796 990 316 (+44 121 3535998).