Advanced geotargeting for the waste industry in Google Ads

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A practical look at how we combine geo-targeting with location-based keywords to maximise impressions and conversions for waste companies.

In our recent Google trends blog for the waste industry, we reported a 37% increase in search growth which is a huge opportunity for waste companies. But with competition in the search results ever increasing, you need to get clever with your advertising, and geo-targeting is one way you can do that.

Geo-targeting is one of the most important settings in Google Ads for businesses operating in specific locations. Whether you’re a small business or a national brand operating in areas across the country, you want your ads to be seen by people with the desire and ability to buy from you.

In this article, we look at how we use geotargeting and location-based keywords to optimise campaigns for waste management companies operating in locations across the country.

What is geotargeting?

Geotargeting shows ads to users based on their location data. Google uses a combination of techniques for geotargeting, including GPS data, account location settings and search interest in locations.

This is how Google describes location targeting on the Google Developers website:

“Location targeting allows you to serve ads to users in a particular geographical region. For example, assume you’re advertising for a chain of supermarkets. Without location targeting, your ads would show in all regions worldwide, and your ads might receive clicks from users in regions where you have no supermarket locations. This generates cost while providing no possibility of a return on the investment.”

Google goes on to explain that “with location targeting, your campaigns show ads only in regions where you have open [businesses]”.

By default, Google Ads shows your ads to people across the country registered to your account but you can specify location settings at the campaign level to target multiple countries, parts of the country and specific cities or postcodes.

You can also exclude locations to prevent your ads from showing in specific places.

When you apply geotargeting to a campaign in Google Ads, you can define locations (eg: London) and leave it at that. Or, you can select your location and then apply radius targeting to show your ads to users within a certain distance of the locations you want to target.

Why is geotargeting important?

The most important use of geotargeting is to prevent your ads from showing to people in locations that are no use to your business. If you have fixed business locations across the country, there’s a good chance you only want people within travelling distance of each location to see your ads.

For example, we manage accounts for several waste management companies that operate on a national scale, which can involve dozens of locations. In this case, operating nationally doesn’t mean we want to target everyone across the country in the same way national online retailers might want to. Instead, we’re running highly-localised campaigns for each area our client operates in to maximise performance in each location.

First of all, this allows us to pinpoint users within locations and apply targeting settings suitable for each audience. For example, we might apply slightly larger radius targeting settings for certain locations, bid more on locations that tend to generate a higher volume of customers or prioritise areas where high-spending customers tend to live.

However, we can enhance geotargeting by combining it with other targeting settings in Google Ads, such as location-based keywords.

Geotargeting vs location-based keywords

To demonstrate how geotargeting and location-based keywords work together, let’s look at an example from one of our clients in the waste industry. One of the locations they operate in is Wiltshire so we’re running two campaigns for this location. Both campaigns have the same goal of generating leads for skip hire from people in Wiltshire but one of them uses geotargeting and the other location-based keywords for very different results.

Campaign One targets top-level keywords for local skip hire searches without any location specified:

  • “Skip hire”
  • “Skip hire near me”
  • “Local skip hire”
  • “Skip hire prices”

Campaign Two has targeting set up to anyone in the United Kingdom that is showing an interest in skip hire in Wiltshire locations by physically typing them into Google:

  • “Skip hire Wiltshire”
  • “Skip hire Swindon”
  • “Skip hire Chippenham”

By using these different targeting approaches, we’ve been able to monitor the effect of user behaviour based on the search and directly focus the budgets for better use by splitting the targets and user searches into separate campaigns

Campaign One has spent less money but the number of impressions is a lot higher, meaning more people search for skip hire without specifying a location. However, the lower conversions and higher cost per conversion tell us that these users aren’t finding what they’re looking for in the majority of cases.

Campaign Two, on the other hand, produces significantly fewer impressions but we see much stronger interaction rates with the end user and, above all, 3X more conversions.

Despite bidding 1p more per click in Campaign Two, we’re saving almost £20 on the converting action.

By also using strong messaging relating back to the search query (because the campaigns are segmented so easily), we drive a stronger interaction rate (CTR) with highly-focused adverts. We also begin to generate a really strong quality score basis and over time we can begin to drive that up.

By combining these two approaches to location targeting in Google, we’ve got one campaign that’s maximising impressions and building brand awareness for our clients working alongside another campaign that’s maximising engagement through higher CTRs and, ultimately, winning more customers while driving down the cost of each conversion.

Going national by thinking local

Google Search is geared towards promoting local businesses that individual users can visit and engage with. Your Google Ads strategy needs to reflect this, even if you’re operating on a national scale, with campaigns that treat every business location as a local business with a local target audience.

If you want to find out more about growing your business through a more localised approach to search marketing, you can speak to our team by calling 02392 830281 or emailing info@vertical-leap.uk.

Bernie Thomas profile picture
Bernie Thomas

Bernie joined Vertical Leap as a PPC Specialist in 2020 and has 10 years digital marketing experience. He enjoys PPC. SEO and social media advertising. Outside of work he likes to snowboard, kitesurf and eat!

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