Targeting is one of the best ways to improve the return on an advertising campaign. By identifying potential customers you’re able to focus your advertising on them rather than someone random. And one of the best simplest ways is to set up your advertising campaigns to focus on a specific geography. Maybe your product is only sold in the United States and advertising it elsewhere is a waste. Or maybe your product is sold everywhere but the messaging and copy needs to vary by region. Or maybe it’s sold everywhere with the same exact copy but the price varies by region. Being able to change your campaigns by geography is a simple way to improve the performance of any campaign.
Yet most geographic targeting is dumb. Earlier today I was on Twitter and noticed an ad for a Dodge Ram sponsored by Ram Trucks Canada. It’s true that I’m on vacation in Canada but it’s definitely not the case that I’ll be buying a car in Canada. The solution to this isn’t complicated. Every social network should have a good idea of my patterns and where home and work are. And if I’m outside those areas it should be easy to determine whether it’s a quick trip out of town or a longer vacation. For all I know these platforms have this information but they should be exposing it to advertisers. Of course these inaccurate mismatches are a tiny percentage of the total advertising spend but it adds up and more importantly having more fleshed out profiles will improve the ad optimization.
Imagine being able to determine whether someone drives to work or takes the train. Every heavily used social network has the data to derive this but I suspect few have. We’re already placed in various customer segments based on our behavioral and consumption history yet geography is still assumed to be the current location. I suspect the more advanced companies are using geographic information to craft better profiles but I’d love to see this opened up to advertisers.