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Geotargeting near (but not in) a metropolitan area?

[ Edited ]
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 1
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆

Hello,

 

I'm working with a speciality healthcare office in Beverly Hills, CA.  We setup their account and geo-targeted with a 7 mi radius around her office 3 weeks ago.  

 

For some reason, she's accumulating a lot more impressions/clicks than I would expect, compared to similar offices we work with around the country.  

 

- The search terms report looks good.  

- The geographic report shows 90% of these clicks coming from "Los Angeles".  We originally targeted with a 10 mile radius, but after a week, shrunk to 7 mi, without noticing much difference (although it's frequently maxing out their daily budget).  

 

Do you think their ads are likely showing across all of Los Angeles, because part of Los Angeles falls within the 7 mi radius? Any ideas on how to get around this?  Could zip code targeting potentially work better?

 

Thanks!

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Marked as Best Answer.
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Accepted by Zee (Community Manager)
September 2015

Re: Geotargeting near (but not in) a metropolitan area?

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 9
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Thanks guys for all the comments,

 

(And sorry for the delay.  For some reason, I didn't get any emails for this thread.)

 

The mobile impression count is as expected - not too many.  I've used zip code targeting for other accounts, so I'll try it with this one.  If nothing else, the geographic reporting (based on zip code) might give us some more information, and I could potential incorporate some excludes.

 

There seems to be multiple levels of specificity when it comes to reading IP addresses for geographic information, and Google's not always using the most specific location.   I've tried several IP address lookups for my office location, and some of them pinpoint my location to the actual city and others to a nearby metropolitan area.  Recently, I noticed that Google placed my office in the metropolitan area (and was showing AdWords ads for that area), eventhough I thought they identified my office location correctly before (via IP only - not location setting).   

 

As a side note, I'm not thrilled with the new SERP design hiding the location setting under "Search tools".  My guess is this will result in even fewer people actually setting their location, forcing Google to rely on IP addresses more often - making local geo-targeting even less accurate.  I've seen some interesting research out there that uses search history and other data to pin-point geo-location with surprising accuracy, but Google's not using this technology yet.  When/if they ever do, it will be a good day for those of us trying to geo-target for local businesses.

 

 

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Re: Geotargeting near (but not in) a metropolitan area?

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hello cotton9;

This is a nice question;

 

Geo- targeting is not perfect, due to the structure of telecommunication networks. (I guess the "older" the network, the more inaccurate is the Geo-targeting).

 

By drawing a circle, there is always an intrinsic error of mapping the circle (drawn) into the real geographic area. The smaller the radius, the bigger the inaccuracy. Add to that, the inaccuracy in mapping the IP addresses across the telecom network, and here you get impressions shown to users outside your Geo-region.

 

I would recommend to target by zip code. Though, keep in mind, that every Geo-targeting method is not perfect, due to the telecom infrastructure.

 

-Moshe

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Geotargeting near (but not in) a metropolitan area?

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
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Moshe´s reply very much pin points the issue.

I´d just like to ask if you can check if a great part of these impressions are on mobile devices, ´cause I think that mobile phone users (on 3G or 4G) even more often have their IP adress somewhere far from where they are actually located (just my experience telling me this, don´t have any research to support it)

Re: Geotargeting near (but not in) a metropolitan area?

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

When using a mobile device, the location is derived form the GPS, if the user has allowed that on their phone. I think most phones come with access enabled, the user would have to disable.

 

If the user happens to be logged into their Google account at the time of the seach, the location will be derived from the settings in their account.

 

If neither of these are available, it falls back to IP address for location. Cell phones do not have a "home" IP Address. The address is assigned by the network when the phone connects. That does not necessarily mean the IP address they get will in any way indicate their location.

 

For desktops, only the last two sources are checked (Google account, then IP address). If user is using an ISP located within the area your targetted, the ad will show. But that should also show up in your reports as having come from a location within your target area. In analytics, the location is determined by IP address alone. You could be seeing hits from mobile devices that were within your target area, but the IP address was outside that area. When reducing the radius from 10 miles to 7 miles, if that same ISP is still within the target area, it won't have the effect of reducing your traffic.

 

Best of Luck!

 

Pete

petebardo -- Deadhead doing AdWords

Re: Geotargeting near (but not in) a metropolitan area?

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

Is Googe account really associated with a local (as opposed to national) geo area?

 

 

Re: Geotargeting near (but not in) a metropolitan area?

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

This is really a great question; I do travel often. And my conclusions (based on the ads I see on my mobile):

 

  • I do not change my location on my Google account settings; but, still get ads based on the (geo) location, I am physically present. My conclusion: IP / GPS comes first in targeting the user's location;
  • The more advance the telecom infrastructure - the more localized the ads. In the US, Google has mapped the country up to a zip code level.  In Europe a regional / metro geo targeting works well. My experience, and colleagues who travel a lot, is that a city level geo-targeting doesn't work in Europe as well as in the US.

 


@David_Precisera wrote:

Is Googe account really associated with a local (as opposed to national) geo area?

 

 




Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Re: Geotargeting near (but not in) a metropolitan area?

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
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Geo targeting ir rather complicated after all. Here is an extensive support article on the subject for whoever need to dive deep:

http://support.google.com/adwords/bin/answer.py?hl=en&hlrm=en&answer=2453994&from=95978&rd=1#locatio...

Re: Geotargeting near (but not in) a metropolitan area?

Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭

As Moshe said, geo-targeting is not perfect. Here's my two cents of the way I understand it and maybe help everyone understand how it works and the limitations:

 

1. Each device on the Internet has a unique address (format is something like xxx.xx.xxx.xxxx)

 

2. The address is linked to your Internet provider (IP or IPS which is why you sometimes hear it said as the IP address).

 

3. A part of that address determines who your provider is and that's the geographical information that Google uses. Actually, there's a common database maintained that anyone can use for this.

 

4. That database could be have an error as to the geographic location of your provider. Rare but could happen.

 

5. Here's the part that likely affects you. Your provider could be physically far from you or at least in a different "section of town".

 

Say you live in Anaheim but your ISP is in downtown LA. You will appear to be located in LA and so would anyone, no matter how physically far away from the ISP, using that same provider. It's possible that this provider can cover Santa Monica, Long Beach and even further. All would show as being located in downtown LA since that's where the provider is.

 

Using a radius and changing it does not help because what actually happens is that Google targets all providers in that radius, not actual users. That's why you see little difference in the number of impressions.

 

I don't know if that's still the case but it used to be that every AOL user was show to be located in North Carolina I believe. Here in Ontario Canada, every Bell user was shown as being in Toronto because that's where the server was located and it's main IP address and those of all their users reflected that.

 

Google has zip code targeting but I have yet to use it and don't know how well it works. I suspect just about the same as a radius targeting. I don't know how or if the Internet is set that way not to mention how this affects mobile devices. As Moshe said and noticed, GPS information is likely used, if you have it on your phone and is enabled. Actually, now that I think about it, each cell tower likely has an unique IP address. Geo-targeting would work at the zip code level better in this case since towers are usually no more than a few kilometers apart.

 

Pete brings up a good point in that your "location" could be determined from your Google account information. But not everyone has an account or is always logged in. So your location falls back to the IP address.

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by Zee (Community Manager)
September 2015

Re: Geotargeting near (but not in) a metropolitan area?

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 9
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆

Thanks guys for all the comments,

 

(And sorry for the delay.  For some reason, I didn't get any emails for this thread.)

 

The mobile impression count is as expected - not too many.  I've used zip code targeting for other accounts, so I'll try it with this one.  If nothing else, the geographic reporting (based on zip code) might give us some more information, and I could potential incorporate some excludes.

 

There seems to be multiple levels of specificity when it comes to reading IP addresses for geographic information, and Google's not always using the most specific location.   I've tried several IP address lookups for my office location, and some of them pinpoint my location to the actual city and others to a nearby metropolitan area.  Recently, I noticed that Google placed my office in the metropolitan area (and was showing AdWords ads for that area), eventhough I thought they identified my office location correctly before (via IP only - not location setting).   

 

As a side note, I'm not thrilled with the new SERP design hiding the location setting under "Search tools".  My guess is this will result in even fewer people actually setting their location, forcing Google to rely on IP addresses more often - making local geo-targeting even less accurate.  I've seen some interesting research out there that uses search history and other data to pin-point geo-location with surprising accuracy, but Google's not using this technology yet.  When/if they ever do, it will be a good day for those of us trying to geo-target for local businesses.