Using Retargeting Ads to Target Location-Specific Shoppers

Targeting Shoppers

Capitalizing on hyper-local PPC targeting tactics is a good way to bring more customers to very specific locations, like restaurants. That process provides a way to target customers who have already expressed an interest in specific locations for your multi-location business.

The key is to adopt location-specific retargeting of PPC ads.

Great Opportunity for Local Businesses with Multiple Locations

While this type of advertising is rare, it is a huge opportunity for businesses in competitive markets to jump on.  It should be happening much more often than it does.  This is a great tactic for restaurants, bars, storefronts, hotels, plumbers, electricians, car rental companies -- basically any business that has multiple locations or serves multiple markets.

For owners with 10 locations in a 3-state area, buying and managing PPC ads that target your specific product or service to potential customers in those locations can become a pricey task.  Territories overlap, creating questions about which location should who should foot the bill for each specific location, as well as the correct type of customer you are targeting.

Retargeting is a way to tag visitors to a specific page or pages on your website with a cookie that will allow you to show them a particular ad as they move around the web. It is a stellar way to keep your brand in front of visitors that have already expressed an interest by visiting your website.

How Multi-Location Businesses Benefit

If you run a multi-location restaurant, setting up an audience to target for each location is as easy as placing a Facebook Pixel or Google/Bing Audience Tag on specific location pages and then writing ads for those specific audiences. Those ads can be used for generic messages or to target location-specific specials to a very precise audience.

Because the ads are only shown to people who have picked up the cookie by visiting the location page, you're only spending money to get your ad in front of that limited but extremely relevant audience. It's a very cost-effective marketing approach.

You can, of course, expand this concept to specific products, services or even specific locations.  I love the idea of being able to build a quick ad for a location-specific "Manager's Special" that is served directly to those familiar with your brand and location. It is already easier to keep a customer than find a new one and, with retargeting, it's even easier and less expensive than it has been in the past.

I'm going to run through the basic steps to set up a retargeting ad in Google AdWords.  Bing is very similar, and Facebook uses the same concept in conjunction with the "Facebook Pixel" to gather information about your audience.

AdWords has two different types of retargeting: Standard and Dynamic. Dynamic retargeting is what drives those ads that follow you from site to site across the web.  They use a product-specific value -- like an item number or deal ID -- attached to some specific value on the page. Then, using a cookie, the ad follows you around the web as you browse. 

An easier-to-create option is standard retargeting. It's simpler to set up and doesn't require special coding skills.  If you have an enterprise-level business with multiple locations, you probably want to have your development team help out with the dynamic retargeting setup.

Steps to Set Up Retargeting Ads in Google AdWords:

  1. Go into Google Tag Manager and set up audience tags for each of your locations. Once you have done that, install the audience tags on the specific pages that cater to that location. There should be at least 1 page for each location (that's Local SEO 101!)
  2. Set up a campaign just for retargeting so it's easier to manage your budget. Choose a display campaign so you can upload image ads.  If you want to set a specific budget for each location, you'll have to set up a campaign for each location. It is possible to manage all locations on one campaign if you choose to.
  3. Use your shared library to view your audience lists - Here you can create a custom audience list by uploading email addresses you have from customers for each specific location. Note: Using emails is generally referred to as remarketing instead of retargeting among industry insiders. Google exclusively uses the term "remarketing."
  4. Tie those audiences to location-specific AdGroups.  You'll be able to charge the spend back to each location based on the spend for that specific AdGroup, which helps with your marketing allocation paperwork.
  5. Put Keywords in your retargeting campaigns. This will work if you're doing a bit more complex work, like Retargeting Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) which allows you to use bid modifiers based on audience parameters you can add on top of the retargeting cookie.  We're not using them for this instance, but it is possible.  Keywords in your AdGroups for retargeting are optional.
  6. Write/Create location-specific ads for those respective AdGroups.  Along with your standard AdWords text ads, you should also build display/image ads and upload them, because some sites show text ads, some image ads.  Include calls to action, location-specific words that resonate with the audience, and mention specials and deals that those locations are featuring.
  7. Test, Test, & Test Again - See what bid levels, budget levels, ad copy, and websites bring the best customers.  Watch your "Placements Report" to see where your ads are being shown.  It doesn't hurt to cull out undesirable sites.

The process is fairly similar in Bing and Facebook, although Bing, at this time, doesn't allow you to build a  custom audience with email addresses.