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Case Study: Jobs in China and its Location Targeting Mystery

[ Edited ]
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 1
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆

Hi Guys,


For the first time I'm indexing some of the case study I've been doing since last year and offer some interesting facts along with it. The main idea is: we usually talk about a lot theories and experiments on the forum without context where it usually make senses for the questions we've asked. But with more details unveiled like this below, I hope this case can incur more insightful discussion and suggestions base on my 1 year history data and practice.


Business & Goal:

We do paid search ads for recruiting English teacher (relocated) to China from US / UK / Canada / Ireland / Australia / New Zealand. The goal is making people fill our online application on our landing page


Campaign structure:

Like most of the experts will do here, our business is about audiences in 6 countries so I created the 6 campaigns to targeting 6 countries separately plus a campaign targeting in China (including China mainland, HKSAR, Taiwan). The whole 7 campaigns are built with almost the same ad group and keywords, with English as the language only.




As the structure shows, the idea is I can manage the 6 countries independently like creating region-oriented ad copy, managing the hours displaying, and a proper budget distribution, etc.


Besides that, China campaign is originally for those audience who is located in Hong Kong & Taiwan region. Mainland is there but it shouldn't be accessing Google anyway.. However I choose "people in, searching for, who show interests in my targeted location" option for it at the very beginning last year since I thought people who literally search for China and show interests to China should be the right audience for us, though I have no idea how Google define the group back then.



All the campaigns are using "Top position" bidding strategy at the beginning for around 5 month, and then switch to manual bidding afterwards. 


First Stage Performance:

Every country basically has quite varied results in terms of leads, cost per leads, average ad positions, and conversion rate but it's not dramatically differnet. However, the most interesting find is China campaign has the biggest volume of leads (almost 20% more than the second most lead-generated USA) and lowest cost per lead (30-40% lower than the second best performed USA)


In-depth Research:

That's really surprising for the result because China is not supposed to be that big amount of leads so we look more into the leads details from it and we found it - it's because China campaign opted in a different location targeting option which actually will gain traffic from the whole from our CRM we can see the leads from China campaign mostly are not located in China but USA, UK, Korea, Indonesia, South Africa, etc. So it also explains why the cost per lead is so low because in some region the PPC market is not even competitive so the CPC is much lower than the six main countries we've been running.


Key Changes:

Obviously, to block the search traffic from some location we don't want our ads showing, I updated the location setting for China campaign by adding lots of countries into the exclusion's a long list that basically put all the places except the 6 main countries.. In other words, China campaign's location setting is like this:




Ultimate Results..and The Mystery:

As we expected now, the leads in China campaign has narrowed down. After running for a full month like this, we found this China campaign still have the most leads and lowest cost per lead among all 7 campaigns. What hasn't changed is that in China campaign we still get leads who are not located in China at all but we won't see leads from place like Indonesia, South Africa, Russia anymore. In some way this result contradicts with the common sense that we should never ever use the "people located in, searching for, who show interests in the location" option but the performance suggesting it's the best so far.


Finally, Questions:

  1. Is there anything I screwed up in the whole process from I created the campaign to the optimization that could be massively incorrect or unreasonable?
  2. What what you do for the campaign structure for this business case in the first place and why?
  3. What could possibly be the reason that China campaign would outperform others in terms of leads volume, cost per lead?
  4. For my campaign structure, Is it true that the keywords in China campaign are actually competing with the one in any other 6 campaigns? If so, what would you do to take the advantage I have and keep it and stop the possible budget waste? 


This case is pretty much trying to include the info I'd like to show in full context to find the right way to enhance the performance. I know it's not perfect yet on some details so if you would like to know more data and my strategy just let me know by commenting here -  I'll keep it updated into the case. And for the gurus(@Jon_Gritton  @stickleback) who contributed their experience in my another post, here is the complete version of my doubt so you can take it for reference and see what do you have else in mind.


Thanks everyone and hope we can all learn something from this!






1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Case Study: Jobs in China and its Location Targeting Mystery

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi @Jason Zhang;

I did not read the whole plan, but  did look  at the targeting section;

When you target a whole country you don't need to exclude other countries. Exclusion is mainly to to exclude a region within a given country (e.g., targeting the USA and excluding California. When you target the whole USA you don't need to exclude Canada, for example.)

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Case Study: Jobs in China and its Location Targeting Mystery

Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆
# 3
Explorer ✭ ✭ ☆

Hi @MosheTLV


Thanks for your comment within the day!


The reason I set exclusion is because the China campaign in my case has actually opted in "people located in, searching for, who show interests in this location" so the traffic may come from other countries too.


The point here in the case is this China campaign works well all the time than others - so thought sharing to others and see what do you think.