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Location, location, location

Oct 22 2015

There’s sometimes a mentality in our culture that there is a) London and b) everywhere else. We’ve all heard it, “anything above Watford Gap is basically the North” and other such sweeping statements about an assumed caveman-style existence outside of the M25.

erm yes, yes it certainly does

I’ve seen this attitude creeping into search campaigns, as well as overall business.  This week I was asked to look into why a company’s campaign was converting for Londoners but not for ‘non-Londoners’. The trigger for me was right there, ‘non-London’. There’s a tendency to lump anyone who doesn’t live or work in London together and not bother to target these people properly.

Location targeting set up

Here’s an example, an ad for a (real) cleaning company which is based in London but services other major UK cities. I’ve heard about them through other marketing channels and wanted to investigate, so I googled the brand name.

In theory, this ad is spot on. It has enhanced sitelinks, call out extensions and Google reviews. We get all the USPs and price points to encourage us to click. Awesome, but it’s clearly a London-centric ad. We have a London specific Display URL and a London mention in the ad copy – but I’m googling from a computer with a Birmingham-registered IP address. This ad tells me about a cool service, but implies it’s only available in London and that’s a shame, I’ve scrolled down now and gone on to the Molly Maid site instead, they’ve lost my business.

It was the same for mobile, even with GSP location services switched on.

[For the record, this company *does* have Birmingham specific ads which appear if you add ‘Birmingham’ in your search query, just not if you don’t. They also really are an awesome service]

Regarding the original campaign I was asked to look at, the problem was just the same. London ads blanketing the UK. For PPC builds, never underestimate the importance of well-thought-out campaign settings, with both location inclusions and exclusions. Hardly the most riveting part of a build but vital to conversion success. Don’t be lazy with ad creative either, London ads to a Brummie does not a conversion make.

Nuts and bolts aside, it’s the mentality that I think trips people up the most. Companies are losing out on business by not giving other UK cities the right amount of attention when targeting. The mentality is too London-centric. Just because we don’t live there doesn’t mean we’re not interested in the same online services as Londoners – after all, our money is as good as anyone’s, right?