Local Marketing for Millennials: 7 Do’s and 3 Don’ts

When it comes to marketing to millennials, many brands struggle to find the right approach to engagement. Outdated models and an inability to tailor messaging to reach this audience continues to infringe upon building awareness for future customers.

Right now, there’s no generation more important to local marketing than millennials. That comes as no surprise when you take a look at the stats for this audience.

  • There are 80 million millennials in the U.S., roughly ¼ of the total population
  • American millennials spend more than $200 billion annually
  • Today, millennials offer the strongest lifetime value to brands of any generation

Despite the value offered by millennial consumers, many local businesses struggle to reach this generation. Strategies that worked for Gen-X and the Baby Boomers seem to fall flat with millennial consumers.

If you want to connect with millennials, you simply can’t afford to use outdated models. Instead, you’ll need to tailor your local marketing efforts to millennials’ habits, personalities, and preferences.

For local marketing via digital media, you’ll want to follow these do’s and don’ts when targeting millennials.

7 Local Marketing Do’s for Millennials

#1. DO Keep Things Short

Attention spans today aren’t what they used to be. This is particularly true among millennials who’ve grown up on digital technologies. Marketing to millennials requires short and to-the-point messaging. You’ve only got a few seconds to capture their attention, so make those seconds count. 

#2. DO Offer Convenience

The instant gratification of digital media has put a premium on convenience. For proof, look no further than the impact that free one-day shipping has had on Amazon, or the explosive growth of food delivery apps. Millennials want convenience, and they’ll reward brands that provide it.

#3. DO Focus on Mobile

Today, “mobile first” is a maxim of digital marketing, especially for local businesses. But it’s even more important for brands targeting millennials. In fact, they’re the only generation with smartphone ownership rates above 90%, and they spend far more time on mobile devices than desktop computers.

#4. DO Stay Socially Active

In addition to high rates of mobile usage, millennials use social media more than any other generation. Brands that want to engage with millennial consumers need to be active on social media, especially on major platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

#5. DO Promote Your Reviews

Millennial consumers trust online reviews almost as much as personal recommendations. In fact, many millennials put more stock in online reviews than the recommendations of friends. To reach millennials, local businesses should focus on generating and promoting positive reviews.

#6. DO Make Positive Change

More other age groups, millennials spend their money on socially conscious products and businesses. By advocating and fundraising for charitable causes — especially local causes within your community — you can build a stronger rapport with this generation.

#7. DO Be Authentic & Considerate

Millennials gravitate toward authenticity, and they’re quick to detect inauthentic messaging. So don’t try to make your business into something it’s not. Instead, focus on what makes you great. Showcase what makes you the best at what you do and make that the core of your local marketing strategy.

3 Local Marketing Don’ts for Millennials

#1. DON’T Misunderstand Who They Are

When brands talk about millennials, they talk about students and younger adults. But today, the oldest millennials are nearly 40 years old, and the youngest are already in their mid-20s. If you focus your marketing efforts on the just-out-of-college crowd, you’re missing the mark on millennials.

#2. DON’T Treat Them as a Monolith

Millennial consumers share a number of traits that can be useful for local marketing. But it’s a mistake to treat millennials as a monolith. Among millennials, there’s an almost limitless array of micro-markets. An effective local marketing strategy won’t simply target “millennials.” Instead, it will target niche markets within this generation.

#3. DON’T Ignore Their Input

One of the easiest and smartest ways to develop a local marketing strategy for millennials is to get input from, well, actual millennials. Yet many local businesses fail to make millennials a part of these efforts. Others seek input from millennial consumers and employees, but they don’t make millennials a part of the decision-making process. Their feedback is downplayed or minimized, and the resulting campaigns fail to connect.

PPC-Part of the Band-Not a Solo Performance

In digital marketing, it’s easy to get excited about pay-per-click ads (PPC).

Thanks to Google Ads, PPC is one of the most reliable channels for digital marketers. It also offers the kind of analytics that marketers love, with clear and immediate data on what works and what doesn’t.

This can lead some brands and businesses to over-invest in PPC, with marketers pouring more and more dollars into PPC campaigns. Meanwhile, they ignore channels that are harder to track or take longer to develop.

But PPC should never be a solo performance. Focusing too heavily on paid search ads can make you invisible to most of your target audience, impeding your ability to generate awareness. It can also put your brand at risk by taking an all-eggs-in-one-basket approach.

By making PPC part of a group effort, you’ll avoid these problems. In fact, several case studies have shown that PPC campaigns benefit from a coordinated and holistic approach to digital marketing.

The Risks of PPC as a Solo Performance

Overinvesting in PPC ads carries a number of risks for brands and businesses.

These include…

RISK #1: Missed Funnel Stages

When users are already interested in a product, service, or brand, PPC ads can capture this interest and translate it into conversions. But PPC doesn’t work as well for generating that awareness and interest in the first place. Other digital channels, like social media and programmatic, do a better job with up-funnel prospects.

RISK #2: Eggs in One Basket

When you over-invest in PPC marketing, your marketing strategy becomes more and more risky. Variations in consumer preferences, increased competition for keywords, or changes to the Google Ads platform itself could tank your PPC efforts. Without a diversified strategy, your web presence may be at risk.

RISK #3: Narrow Web Presence

While Google is one of the world’s most powerful and popular websites, users only spend a fraction of their time on Google properties. When they’re on social media networks like Facebook, or when they’re browsing content on their favorite websites, your PPC ads aren’t there. To maintain a broader web presence, you need a broader strategy.

RISK #4: Shallow Pool of Data

Marketers love PPC for its rich data and the strength of its analytics. But if you’re not pulling data from other sources, you’ll miss out on key insights about your audience. You’ll also lack data sources that can power your PPC campaigns, like remarketing lists that allow you to target past visitors to your website.

How to Make PPC a Part of the Group

It’s one thing to say that PPC needs to be a part of a larger group. It’s another thing to put that into practice.

To get you started, here’s a look at how to coordinate PPC with other digital channels…

PPC + Social Media

While PPC is great at capturing down-funnel prospects, social media thrives at capturing an up-funnel audience. It’s also great for sustaining interest in your brand and moving users down your sales funnel. When they’re getting closer to a purchase decision and start conducting Google searches, your PPC ads will be ready.

At the same time, social media gives you valuable audience data that can be used for PPC campaigns. Audience insights on social media can provide you with new PPC keywords, identify new target audience segments, and help you tailor your ads to your audience. And if you can direct social media followers to your website, you can retarget these users with PPC ads.

PPC + Organic Search

In the area of search engine marketing, PPC should only be one part of your overall strategy. You should also be targeting organic search results, targeting national or local rankings, depending on your business.

A strong organic search presence takes longer to build. But with routine site maintenance, it can be maintained for years and years. At the same time, it can help boost your PPC campaigns, as users are more likely to trust your ads if they see organic results for your business on the same page.

Organic search is also more effective than PPC at capturing up-funnel prospects. Once on your website, these prospects can be added to your remarketing lists, allowing you to serve them with uniquely tailored PPC ads.

PPC + Programmatic

PPC ads work great at capturing search traffic. But users spend less than 5% of their time on search engines. But with programmatic ads on the Google Display Network and the Facebook Audience Network, you can serve ads to users across millions of websites, social media networks, and apps.

Both the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network are controlled via Google Ads. This allows you to create coordinated campaigns where you target users with PPC ads after interacting with programmatic ads and vice versa. And if you coordinate your messaging across PPC and programmatic ads, you can increase your click-through and conversion rates on both types of campaigns.

Why Local Marketers Can’t Ignore Programmatic

Display ads are one of the oldest digital marketing formats. But recently, they’ve fallen out of vogue with local marketers. Instead, these marketers are choosing to focus on other channels and formats, like local SEO, paid search ads, and social media.

In doing so, they’re ignoring the advancements and advantages of modern programmatic advertising.

The programmatic ads of today represent a big leap forward over display ads of the past. Programmatic ads offer extraordinarily precise targeting and tracking capabilities. They’re available in a range of dynamic and interactive formats, encouraging clicks and conversions. And through programmatic ads, you can reach consumers on the websites and apps they love to use.

Most importantly, programmatic ads have a proven track record of boosting awareness and sales. Studies have found that programmatic ads can boost:

  • Branded search queries by up to 25%
  • Conversion rates by up to 30%
  • Word-of-mouth recommendations by up to 10%
  • Event registrations by up to 25%

And thanks to their targeting capabilities, programmatic ads are a gift to local marketers in particular.

The Importance of Programmatic for Local Marketers

For local marketers, precise targeting can make or break a campaign. To connect with the right consumers, you need to carefully target your audience based on who they are and where they live/work. At the same time, you’re typically working with smaller budgets, which means that every single dollar needs to count.

In the past, display ads offered limited capabilities when it came to user targeting. Essentially, the only control marketers had over targeting was which website the ad ran on.

With programmatic ads, you can target users with the level of precision that local marketing demands. Thanks to the reach and targeting methods of the Google Display Network and the Facebook Audience Network, you can target your ads based on individual users’ characteristics, behaviors, and location.

This way, you aren’t limited to local websites for targeting local consumers. Instead, you can serve ads to local consumers wherever online they happen to be.

5 Advantages of Local Programmatic Ads

1. Awareness & Trust

Programmatic ads are highly effective at building awareness and trust with local consumers. Compared to paid search, local SEO, and social media, you’re less dependent on user actions. You don’t need to wait for users to find you. Instead, you can serve ads directly to your audience. What’s more, you’ll be doing so on the websites and apps they trust most.

2. Precision Targeting

The core strength of programmatic lies in its targeting abilities. Local marketers can target programmatic ads via a user’s location, either via a set geographic radius or by targeting specific ZIP codes. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You also have the option of targeting users based on their demographics, interests, search behaviors, and their history of online interactions with your business.

3. Dynamic Ad Content

On top of serving your ads to a highly targeted set of users, programmatic allows you to tailor your ads according to users’ features and behaviors. If a user has recently searched for a product you offer, you can serve them an ad with an image of this product. If they’re within a short distance of your location, you can serve them an ad with directions to your business.

4. Detailed Analytics

Like other digital marketing formats, programmatic ads are extraordinarily rich in terms of data and analytics. The same level of precision used to serve ads can be harnessed to measure their performance, with the ability to micro-segment data for specific campaigns, specific ads, and specific audience groups. Programmatic ads are also ideal for A/B testing, allowing you to quickly optimize your campaigns for higher click-through and conversion rates.

5. Cost-Effectiveness

One more reason why local marketers should use programmatic ads? Their cost-effectiveness. While programmatic campaigns cost more than traditional display ads, they remain much less expensive than other types of digital marketing campaigns. They also deliver more immediate and tangible results, allowing you to measure the ROI of your ad spend more easily and more quickly.

What Brands Need To Know About Local Service Ads Part 1

For most businesses, advertising on Google takes place on Google Ads or Google Ads Express. But if you’re a plumber, a locksmith, or another type of local contractor, Google offers an alternative platform that’s perfectly tailored to your needs: Local Services ads.

Local Services ads are precisely what they sound like — an ad format built exclusively for local service providers.

Google originally launched Local Services ads for a handful of service categories in select cities back in 2015. Since then, the program has expanded to every almost major metro area in the U.S., and it has added numerous service categories to its roster. More importantly, it has proved a major success with both service providers and consumers in the markets where it has launched.

If you’re new to Local Services ads and aren’t quite sure where to start, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.

What Are Local Services Ads?

Google’s Local Services ads are a special ad format and platform for local service providers, such as locksmiths, plumbers, and electricians. Local Services ads are distinct from usual Google Ads, offering a different appearance, different features, and a different pricing model.

Many of these differences resolve problems that local service providers have with Google Ads. In the past, the ad formats and pay-per-click model of Google Ads have hurt local service providers. Text ads lack features that consumers are looking for from local contractors. Meanwhile, these ads generate low conversion rates for a number of local service industries, leading to higher costs and limited returns.

With Local Services ads, Google has created a format that encourages clicks and conversions. What’s more, Google doesn’t charge for Local Services ads on a pay per click basis. Instead, it charges per lead.

How Do Local Services Ads Work?

When a user performs a Google search for local service providers — e.g., “plumber in Bronx” or “HVAC technician Anaheim” — Google will include a Local Services section in the search results.

This section will appear at the top of the results, ahead of text ads and organic results. Google will display its top three ads (on desktop search) or its top two ads (on mobile search), as well as an option to explore more results.

Each Local Services ad contains the following information and features:

  • Your business’s name
  • Your Google Reviews rating
  • Your approximate location
  • Your Google Guarantee badge
  • Your business hours
  • Your contact information

When a user clicks on one of your Local Services ads, Google directs them to a detailed business profile that includes the above information, as well as additional information like your list of services, a short business bio, and your Google reviews.

Rather than click on one of the top-ranked Local Services ads, users also have the option of exploring a longer list of Local Services providers. This list is presented based on the type of job needed and the user’s ZIP code. The user can then choose from a full list of Local Services providers in their area.

In addition to appearing in the search results, Local Services ads also appear in results for Google Assistant. Searches made using Google Assistant prompt the user to confirm the type of job they need performed and their address, minimizing the chance of a mismatch.

How Are Local Services Ads Priced?

Unlike other Google Ads, businesses are not charged when a user clicks on a Local Services ad. Instead, Google will only charge your business when the user sends you an email or text, calls and leaves a voicemail, or calls and speaks with a representative. This way, you pay per lead instead of per click.

The average cost per lead varies from service category to service category, and from region to region. Some leads cost as little as $6. Others can cost upwards of $30.

If you receive an invalid lead, you can dispute the lead. If Google finds that the lead was a case of solicitation or spam, from a customer outside your service area, or from a customer who needed a service that you do not provide, Google will credit the cost of the lead to your business.

What Is the “Google Guarantee”?

Business that use Local Services ads can build trust with users through the Google Guarantee. This results in a badge on your Local Services ads.

Under this policy, Google guarantees customer satisfaction on any job booked via a Local Services ad. If a customer is dissatisfied with the results of a job, Google will refund the customer up to the amount of the invoice. This way, customers can book jobs through Local Services ads with greater confidence.

However, each business has a lifetime cap for coverage of $2,000 under the Google Guarantee. If a business exceeds its cap, Google rescinds the guarantee and removes its “Google guaranteed” badge from your Local Services ads.

Thankfully, you’ll have the opportunity to make things right with any dissatisfied customer before Google provides a refund. Additionally, Google will only issue a refund after investigating a claim.

Why Use Local Services Ads?

Wondering whether Google’s Local Services ads are worth it for your business? Below are five of the biggest reasons why the Local Services platform has been a hit with many local service providers.

  1. Pay per Lead Instead of per Click
    Local services providers usually struggle with the cost of traditional PPC ads, since many clicks result in poor leads. By using Local Services ads, you will only ever pay for actual leads, so you don’t end up wasting money on useless clicks.
  2. Visibility in Google Search Results
    Google has designed its Local Services ads for visibility, appearing at the top of search results in an eye-catching format. This makes them much more prominent and noticeable than standard Google Ads.
  3. Integration with Google Voice Search
    In addition to appearing in Google desktop and mobile search results, Google also provides Local Services results via Google Assistant. According to Google, the number of Google Assistant users quadrupled in 2018 — a market uniquely available to Local Services providers.
  4. Increased Trust with the Google Guarantee
    Trust can be an obstacle for local service providers who advertise through regular PPC ads. The Google Guarantee on Local Services ads gives customers a greater and more immediate sense of confidence.
  5. Simplified Campaign Management
    PPC campaigns on Google Ads require extensive keyword research, compelling ad content, and split-testing different ad groups. For Local Services ads, Google takes care of keyword research and ads are automatically generated. The result is a much simpler and easier approach to paid search ads.

What You Should Know About Local SEO vs. Organic SEO

Understanding the difference between Local SEO vs. Organic SEO is important for national brands, local businesses, and pretty much anyone else that wants to market themselves online. But unless you’re already familiar with SEO, it can be tough to understand this distinction and why it’s so important.

 

At Qiigo, our work with national brands and local businesses has given us a unique understanding of both organic and local search. Below, we’ll examine the difference between these two services, along with how they can be used to support one another.

 

Local SEO: Putting Your Business on the Map

When you enter a search query into Google, one of the first things its algorithm checks is whether or not the search has “local intent.” This is another way of saying that someone’s looking for search results that are relevant for their local area.

 

An easy example of this is when a person adds “near me” to the end of a search query. If you’re based in Atlanta and you search for “hairdresser near me,” you expect Google to send you information about hairdressers in Atlanta. If someone in Seattle (or Denver, or Boston) makes the same search, they will also expect search results tailored to their local area.

 

Google has a number of ways to determine whether or not a search has local intent. A few quick examples include:

  • The query contains a city name, a state name, or a phrase like “near me.”
  • Google recognizes the query as one that typically has local intent (e.g., “pizza delivery”).
  • Your recent search history indicates that you’re looking for local results.

 

When Google identifies local intent, it will adjust its search results based on whether or not they have local relevance. Many times, it will also display a “Local Pack” with its top local search results from Google Maps.

 

Local SEO involves optimizing your website for these types of search results. If you run a local business, you want to market yourself to local customers. If your hair salon is located in Castleberry Hill, local SEO will help you rank better in search results for users in Atlanta.

 

For brick-and-mortar businesses and individual brand locations, SEO should focus on local optimization. Customers from Seattle (or Denver, or Boston) aren’t flying hundreds of miles for a haircut, so you don’t need to worry about appearing in their search results. Instead, you can focus your efforts (and money) on reaching as many local users as possible.

 

Organic SEO: The “World” in Worldwide Web

“Organic SEO” is a tricky term, since the vast majority of SEO — including local SEO — can be considered organic. But typically, when people say “organic SEO,” they’re referring to traditional search engine optimization.

 

To understand the difference between local and organic SEO, let’s take another look at Google. When you search “best laptop for windows,” Google’s algorithm won’t detect local intent. So instead of providing you with customized search results for your location, it will show you the same search results that it would show another searcher in a completely different city.

 

Because of this, organic SEO tends to be much more competitive. With local SEO, you’re only competing for searchers within your geographic area. With organic SEO, you need to compete for searchers across the U.S., as well as in other English-language countries.

 

Needless to say, most local businesses stay away from organic SEO. The level of competition makes it far too expensive. What’s more, the vast majority of traffic will be from searchers 100+ miles (or 1000+ miles) away. In place of local businesses, the competition for organic search results tends to come from national publications, e-commerce stores, and larger brands with a nationwide footprint.

 

Coordinating Organic & Local SEO for National Brands

 

At Qiigo, our work with national brands leaves a lot of room for crossover between organic and local SEO. On a brand level, we employ organic SEO strategies to boost awareness and drive traffic to brands’ national websites. On a location level, we use local SEO to target queries with local intent and drive customer traffic directly to brick-and-mortar locations.

 

National brands can benefit from using a single digital marketing partner for brand-level organic SEO as well as location-level local SEO. The simple reason is that organic and local SEO efforts have a symbiotic effect.

 

If your brand has a strong organic search presence, that will give a boost to local search rankings for individual locations. If your brick-and-mortar locations start achieving high rankings in local search results, this will often boost organic search rankings for your brand as a whole.

 

While it’s important to know the difference between organic and local SEO, national brands should avoid an “either/or” mindset. Instead, embrace a “both/and” SEO strategy, one in which the brand and its locations are supporting and strengthening one another.

 

 

Last Minute Social Media Tips for the Holidays

Every year, the holidays somehow arrive sooner than expected. One minute, you’re recovering from a Halloween-induced sugar hangover. The next, you’re surrounded by tinsel and Christmas carols.

 

Consumers are more than familiar with last-minute holiday shopping. But if you’re a business owner, panic sets in around mid-to-late November. That’s when you suddenly realize that you forgot a key component of your holiday marketing game plan.

 

Thankfully, the digital age has made it easier than ever to build out a holiday marketing strategy on the fly. Social media, in particular, is an excellent venue for seasonal marketing, especially if you’re working with a reduced time-frame or a small budget.

 

If you’re making last-minute adjustments to your social media strategy for the holidays, we’ve collected four tips to help you make the most of the season.

 

 

Spruce Up Your Page for the Season

Most brick-and-mortar businesses decorate their physical location for the holiday season. If you haven’t already done the same thing for your social media pages, you should.

 

These spaces are virtual homes for your business, and they deserve the same treatment as a physical location. If you want your customers to associate your business with holiday cheer, your online presence should reflect the spirit of the season.

 

While you’re giving your social media feeds a holiday-themed makeover, it’s a good idea to do a little virtual housekeeping. Many holiday shoppers spend a lot of time researching their purchases, and they are inclined to visit your social media page as part of the research process. Make sure that your business information — your address, hours, and contact info — are all prominently displayed and up-to-date.

 

 

Help Customers Find the Perfect Gift

Programmatic advertising delivers exceptional ROI all year round, and the holiday season is no exception. During the holidays, when customers are primed to purchase, but are also bombarded by offers and deals, targeted and retargeted ads can be especially effective.

 

Whether you’re targeting shoppers who are researching your competitors or retargeting users who recently visited your website, social media is an ideal venue for programmatic ads in the lead-up to Christmas.

 

Shoppers not only browse social media feeds for holiday deals, but in the lead up to the holidays, many are using sites like Facebook and Instagram to connect with family and share photos of seasonal events. This makes social media the ideal place to find holiday customers.

 

 

Deck Your Feed with Holiday Deals

During the holidays, consumers are not only attracted to deals. They’re actively seeking them out. Social media is the ideal space to announce holiday-themed sales, discounts, and special offers. Many shoppers actively look for deals through social media, while others are attracted to hot offers that pop up in their newsfeed.

 

It’s important to keep in mind that the internet is flooded with deals in the month between Black Friday and Christmas. To attract clicks, brands need to stand out from the pack.

Unsure how to market deals and discounts this holiday season? Here are four concepts that you might want to consider:

 

  • Create an advent-type calendar of deals, with a new deal revealed every day in your feed.
  • Share holiday-themed promo codes via social media that customers can use in-store.
  • Design a seasonal discount for customers who create and share content on social media.
  • In the week before Christmas, share last-minute gift deals for late shoppers.

 

 

Spread Some Holiday Cheer

Social media is a great venue for holiday marketing, but brands should be cautious not to overwhelm shoppers with too many sales-heavy posts. Users expect a combination of non-promotional and promotional posts from brands. Most brands find they get the best results with a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of non-promotional to promotional content.

 

So, take advantage of the Christmas season to spread some holiday cheer. One of the best ways to approach social media at this time of year is to adopt a spirit of giving. You can use your social media feed as a platform to promote your vendors, your customers, or local organizations that you support.

 

These kinds of promotions are a great source of holiday content. They’re also a great way to boost engagement on your page, since the people or organizations that you’re promoting are inclined to share this content.

 

 

Preparing Your Programmatic Strategy for 2019

preparing programmatic strategy for 2019In 2018, programmatic advertising has come to dominate the digital marketing field. Programmatic ads — which target consumers through a range of signals, including demographic information, internet usage behavior, and their geographic location — are so effective and so popular that other, traditional forms of online advertising risk extinction.

 

Yet, as popular as programmatic marketing is right now, it will be even more popular in the coming year. That will only make the programmatic market even more competitive than it already is. So, as you plan your brand’s digital marketing game plan for 2019, here are four tips to help you develop an effective (and cost-effective) programmatic strategy.

 

Keys to Programmatic Marketing for National Brands

 

Consider Every Consumer Touchpoint. Programmatic ads have reshaped the average consumer’s decision journey. Brands can target consumers more accurately at every stage of this journey, including instances where their decision-making journey is disrupted or delayed.

 

As programmatic ads have become more advanced, with ever-more accurate methods of targeting, it’s become more and more important that brands consider every touchpoint in the purchasing journey.

 

Display ads can build brand awareness with users who share similar traits and interests as your customer base. Social media posts can target users who’ve visited your website (or your competitors’). And if a customer abandons their journey just before purchase, you can give them a nudge with a retargeted ad.

 

Leverage Mobile Opportunities. Mobile devices now make up nearly 2/3 of all internet traffic. What’s more, mobile ads also outperform desktop ads, posting strong click-through rates, conversion rates, and on-the-dollar ROI.

 

While a handful of industries still perform better on desktop, mobile is where the money’s at for most brands in 2019. Needless to say, most brands should focus on mobile first-and-foremost when developing their programmatic strategy for the upcoming year.

 

But before you go all-out on mobile, a word of caution: Desktop still plays a crucial role in many purchasing journeys. In many cases, users will first become aware of and interested in a brand via mobile, but they will make their final purchase through a desktop device. In these cases, your programmatic strategy should move with users from one platform to the next.

 

Take Advantage of Local Targeting. For brick-and-mortar businesses, geo-targeting is one of the most effective tools in the programmatic marketing toolbox. Geo-targeting makes it easy to show ads to users within a specific geographic area, targeting users in a specific town or city, within a geo-fenced area, or within a certain radius of a particular location.

 

Location targeting has proven particularly popular with franchise brands, offering an easy and effective way to market individual franchise locations. Brands can operate programmatic local campaigns on a franchisee-to-franchisee basis. Alternatively, they can program and segment a national campaign to direct users to their nearest location.

 

When targeting users based on their location, remember to tailor your method of targeting to your business. If you operate a franchise network of coffee shops, you’ll want to target specific, smaller-footprint locations. A maid services franchise network, on the other hand, will likely target a much broader overall area, but may focus its spending on specific neighborhoods.

 

Track, Segment, and Measure Results. Accurate data is the foundation of any successful digital campaign. Nowhere is this truer than the field of programmatic marketing. Small tweaks to targeting can make a massive difference in the performance of programmatic campaigns, and it’s only through accurate data that these tweaks can be made.

 

The sheer volume of data on programmatic campaigns can make it difficult to track, segment, and measure this data. This can be particularly troublesome for franchise brands with multiple locations. The more locations involved with your campaign, the more data you have to manage, and the harder it is to sort important signals from insignificant noise.

 

One of the best ways to avoid this problem is to hire a digital marketing agency that specializes in programmatic marketing for larger, national brands. These agencies have the experience, expertise, and infrastructure you need when running programmatic campaigns across multiple franchise locations. This allows them to not only assess data more accurately, but also to run these campaigns more cost-effectively.

 

Learn more about the benefits of integrating Programmatic into your marketing strategy here.

 

Trick or Treat: Is Bad Data ‘Ghosting’ your local marketing efforts?

When national brands engage in local marketing online, their location data can play Trick-or-Treat with the results. If data is well-managed, brands are rewarded with an effective campaign. However, if location data is inaccurate, inconsistent, or incomplete, these campaigns can suffer serious problems.

 

In the worst cases, local marketing efforts can be “ghosted” by bad data. You run a locally targeted PPC campaign, yet your ads never appear the in right market. You invest in local SEO, yet your locations are nowhere to be found in search results.

 

While any business can suffer from problems with location data, larger brands tend to have the most trouble managing this data. So if you operate a brand with several locations, or you’re running a smaller brand with big plans for expansion, it’s important that you invest in effective location data management.

How Mismanaged Location Data “Ghosts” Ads & Search Results

In the world of digital marketing, there is nothing more frustrating than a “ghosted” ad or search result. You invest time and money in a marketing campaign. You think you’ve followed all the right steps. And yet, when you try to find your ads or search for your page, the results never appear (or, in some cases, they never appear where they’re supposed to).

 

When this happens to national brands with multiple locations, mismanaged location data is often the culprit.

 

If location data is managed at the corporate level, mistakes in your database can migrate into your local marketing campaigns. This can happen:

 

  • If franchisees enter their data incorrectly
  • If a mistake is made when transposing data from one database to another
  • If location data isn’t properly updated

 

While corporate-level management tends to be more accurate, the sheer volume of data can make it difficult to identify and correct mistakes.

 

If location data is managed at the franchise level, there is a very high risk of inconsistent data management from one franchise to the next. Franchisees end up using different systems and different practices for managing their data. This makes it extremely difficult to coordinate brand-wide campaigns that rely on location data. To make matters even more difficult, this data is often managed by employees or the franchisee: i.e., someone without a background in digital marketing.

 

Inaccurate, incomplete, or inconsistent data can end up neutralizing an otherwise flawless local marketing campaign. Here are three examples of how this can happen:

 

  • PPC Advertising. A lot of brick-and-mortar businesses run PPC campaigns with a geographic footprint tied to their physical location. This requires accurate longitude and latitude figures. If either of these figures is entered inaccurately, your campaign could end up targeting an entirely different location.

 

  • Local SEO. Google and other search engines tailor their results according to users’ locations. So, if your website is feeding faulty location data to users, your site might disappear from local search results. Another issue: incorrect or inconsistent data can reduce your site’s quality score, resulting in lower SEO rankings.

 

  • Local Listings. If your internal database contains inaccurate location data, these mistakes are likely replicated in external listings. Inaccurate or inconsistent local listings can lead to major headaches for brick-and-mortar businesses. Google could display the wrong address or phone number for your locations, confuse two of your locations for one another, or remove some of your locations from search results entirely.

Solutions to Local Data Mismanagement

All of this leads to an obvious question: If your brand has problems with location data, what should you do about it? We suggest two important steps…

 

First, re-evaluate your current location data management practices. If you don’t have a proper central database for this information, establish one. If you do, perform a detailed audit to eliminate errors, fix inconsistencies, and fill in missing data.

 

Second, establish a set of brand standards for entering new data or updating existing information. Make sure these standards are compatible with digital marketing best practices. It may be helpful to hire a digital marketing consultant for help establishing these standards.

 

Third, partner with a digital marketing company that specializes in local marketing for national brands. These companies are familiar with the pitfalls of inaccurate location data. They have systems in place to keep location data consistent, and they can troubleshoot multi-location campaigns much more quickly and effectively than other digital marketing companies.

 

5 Google Ranking Factors You Need to Know

Google Analytics ScreenIf your business relies on organic search traffic, Google’s algorithm can make or break your business. Websites that rank number one for popular search queries can rake in millions of hits per month. Meanwhile, websites that rank outside of the first ten results are often left fighting for scraps.

 

The good news? Effective search engine optimization (SEO) practices can launch you from the bottom of the pile to the top of the pack. The bad news? Google’s algorithm relies on literally hundreds of ranking factors. 

 

Thankfully, you don’t need to know every line of code from Google’s algorithm to boost your rankings in search results. So long as you optimize for the following five need-to-know ranking factors, you can achieve first-page rankings for key search terms.

 

1. On-Page Content

Bill Gates coined the phrase “content is king” back in 1996. Now, more than twenty years later, his words ring as true as ever. Content is far and away the biggest factor for Google search rankings. Barring a total-overhaul of Google’s algorithm, content will hold its crown for years and years to come.

 

When evaluating content for its search rankings, Google’s algorithm judges content in three key ways:

 

  • Relevance. To determine content relevance, Google looks for keywords from the user’s search query, other words and phrases related to the user’s query, as well as the density and placement of these keywords in the text.
  • Quality. In addition to content relevance, Google’s algorithm searches for signals that indicate high-quality content. These signals include the length and readability of content, user engagement metrics, and on-page errors like spelling mistakes or broken images.
  • Uniqueness. Google doesn’t want to show users several near-identical results of the same page. So if Google determines that two or more pages are overly similar, it will exclude all but one of those pages from search results.

 

2. Strong Backlinks

While Google’s algorithm measures certain signals of content relevance and quality, the search engine still relies on users to tell it which pages are best. This is accomplished by evaluating a page’s backlink profile:

 

  • How many backlinks point to this page?
  • How trustworthy and popular are the sites where these backlinks are found?
  • What keywords are used in the anchor text of these backlinks?

 

To achieve a first-page ranking for a competitive search query, both your page and your overall website will need a strong backlink profile. You’ll also need to make sure that your profile isn’t filled with low-quality or untrustworthy links, which can result in Google punishing your page in search rankings.

 

3. Social Signals

Google has spent more than a decade telling users that social media signals are not a part of its algorithm. Yet multiple studies have shown an undisputable link between a website’s social media signals and its rankings in Google search results.

 

Despite these studies, many SEO experts believe that Google is telling the truth and that it doesn’t measure social media signals. Instead, they hypothesize that social media helps drive other factors that Google does measure. The more a news story is shared on Facebook, the better that page’s engagement metrics will be, the more backlinks it will accrue, etc.

 

So, while Google might not be tracking your Facebook share counts, social media plays a big — likely indirect — role in the search engine rankings. To rise in Google’s rankings, brands are wise to focus on social media.

 

4. Mobile-Friendliness

Over 60% of internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, and that number continues to grow year after year.

 

Google knows that most of its users are viewing pages on mobile devices, and its algorithm reflects this. Back in 2016, Google switched to a mobile-first format, meaning pages with mobile-friendly design would rank higher than pages with poor mobile functionality.

 

More than 80% of all webpages now meet Google’s standards for mobile-friendly content, and pages that meet these standards perform far better in search rankings. So, if you want to rank well against these pages, you’ll need invest in mobile-friendly design.

 

5. Technical Factors

In the past, technical factors played a bigger role in Google’s search rankings. While the impact of these factors has diminished in the past decade, they still play a big role in the search engine rankings.

 

Here are three of the most important technical ranking factors right now:

 

  • Meta data. Meta data continues to have a big impact on Google rankings. For best results, your title tag and meta description should include important keywords, encourage user engagement, and fit Google’s character limits (roughly 70 characters for title tags and 160 characters for meta descriptions).
  • Crawlability. Google captures data by crawling the web, jumping from link to link to link and capturing page data as it goes. If Google’s robots can’t find your page due to poor site structure, or if your page blocks them from crawling, you won’t appear in search results.
  • Encryption. Google now expects HTTPS encryption on every website. If you don’t have HTTPS encryption in place, Google will lower your pages in search results. It may even block users from visiting your website through Chrome.

 

Click here to learn more about search ranking factors and Qiigo solutions to help you navigate and manage your online presence.