Decrease Spend, Increase Conversions [Case Study]

One of my points last month in 8 PPC Spring Cleaning Necessities was to have the right geo-targeting. I pointed out where you can find which cities and states you are appearing in, and I mentioned briefly that you should create state-specific campaigns for the ones that are performing the best.  At Distilled we recommend two types of campaigns: the locally targeted campaign, and the nationally targeted campaign.

Local campaigns focus on a specific geographic area, normally around headquarters or storefronts. Keywords listed here don’t include the location name. Specifically for Nerds on Call, we have one local campaign targeted at Sacramento. Keywords do not include “in Sacramento” because the geotargeted area is Sacramento. People looking for a local business or service may only type in “computer repair” and expect Google to serve them local results.

There are also people who will search for “computer repair in Sacramento” and we include this query in the nationally targeted campaign so we can appeal to those inside and outside of our locale with intent to purchase/convert in Sacramento. 

Nerds on Call operates on a national level in addition to having several locations along the West Coast, so this was the best way to obtain national market domination through AdWords. With this method of targeting, they were obtaining a 13% conversion rate through phone calls, form conversions, and live chats. Nerds wanted more.

The second week in April, we decided to concentrate budget only on Washington, Oregon, and California instead of trying to obtain more clicks on the national level.

Before the change, Nerds were converting about 13% of their visitors from paid search. Afterwards, we saw conversion rates jump to 21% and spend drop by 5%. By focusing our budget and increasing our impression share in the areas that really mattered, we were capable of creating two big wins for Nerds on Call: more customers and decreased spend.

It’s important to note that we did see a small drop in traffic and impressions; we also noticed the geotargeted campaign (without “Sacramento” in the key phrase) received a significantly lower CTR than the nationwide focused campaign (with “Sacramento”). However, the nationwide (higher CTR) campaign did not convert as many customers. If we hadn’t used both types of targeting, we might have been missing out on a large portion of our customer base.

Here are some actionable protips for your own account:

Run Two Types of Campaigns....
If you’re limited on budget, only look to your top performing campaign. Check which locations it is running best in. If that happens to be in California, then make a California-specific campaign, and create an additional nationwide campaign with locations tagged on the back of the key phrase.

Visit Your Dimensions Tab….
Are you receiving clicks in an area with no conversions for the last 3-5 months? Exclude that region/city/etc. If you aren’t getting any return and you’re on a restricted budget, why push money into an area that will continue to give no/low return?

[But] If Calls Are Important To Your Business……
Use call tracking to make sure these areas aren’t actually providing you great business. Check with your head of marketing or POC; talk about where your phone calls are coming from. If calls create 50% or more of your business profit, it’s worth getting proper call tracking into place. Verify you have keyword-level call tracking. If you don’t, and need to persuade someone as to why it’s necessary, tell them “Without call tracking, we’re pouring money into a bottomless pit of hopelessness.”