Local Business Conversion Optimization: 3 Ad Personalization Rules to Live By

Personalization is more than the latest advertising buzzword – it’s a movement, driven by consumers’ expressed desire for a more relevant, seamless online experience.

Ad technology has made it possible to get ever more granular with our targeting, to the point you can hone in on a single user and personalize to the point of creepiness, if you’re so inclined. (But you’re not… right?)

Whereas retargeting and any other sort of informed ad seemed to cross the line with consumers even five years ago, today they not only expect a tailored, relevant experience – they demand it. For local brands, personalization is an important tactic to include in an overall local search marketing strategy.

In a recent Yahoo study, 78 percent of consumers expressed a desire for some kind of content personalization, yet just 37 percent have found online desktop ads relevant to their interests. Mobile advertisers fared worse, with 30 percent of consumers responding they felt ads on their smartphone were relevant, and just 27 percent of mobile app ads resonated with users.

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Image source: Yahoo, The Balancing Act

Consumers find personalized ads more engaging (54 percent), educational (52 percent), time-saving (49 percent), and memorable (45 percent) than traditional ads. However, more than half of marketers struggle with personalizing their marketing efforts at scale. It’s a huge missed opportunity for marketers, but moreover, brands are particularly failing mobile customers by falling short in delivering experiences tailored to their needs and wants.

Pave a Persuasive Path to Conversion With Localized Content

What’s a savvy local marketer to do?

Local marketing presents its own unique set of challenges, particularly for multi-location businesses (as we have frequently pointed out in our articles here at SEW). In the personalization arena, however, local marketers have a distinct edge, thanks to the many different behavioral and location-based signals available to physical businesses advertising in the online space.

A site visitor or searcher’s country, state, and city can give you a solid foundation on which to begin building your ad creative and targeting. It’s in the layering of other available data that your searchers’ location data becomes truly powerful, though.

Combining geo-location parameters with demographics, time of visit, user acquisition query, and/or channel gives marketers a well-rounded arsenal by which to appeal to specific segments of users with localized content. Using these parameters to drill down into highly targeted user segments enables you to direct searchers to relevant content that meets their needs. It ultimately makes a more compelling case for conversion.

Here are three indispensable ad personalization tools to help you boost conversion through more relevant content for your local searchers:

1. Location Ad Extensions

Ads with location extensions, in particular, saw dramatic improvements after the Ad Rank changes went into effect. Impressions for ads with location extensions rose 50 percent, clicks jumped 95 percent, click-through rate (CTR) rose 40 percent, and the CPC fell by 32 percent at the end of the post-change period.

Location extensions appear on your CPC Google ads to show your business phone number, address, and a map marker alongside your ad text. Mobile users will see a link with a phone number and directions to your business. It’s a great way to encourage people – especially mobile searchers on the go – to visit or call your business.

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Image source: Google.

Smart ad targeting using geolocation and other signals can help guide your ad creative and offers, as well. For example, a restaurant using ads to promote weekend specials can drill down into specific postal codes, use dayparting to tap into late afternoon and evening searches, and make it simple for users to click-through for directions using location ad extensions. Or, a photocopy shop could offer a discount to searchers using queries that show high commercial intent and focus on daytime searches, during their business hours.

The possibilities are endless, but the bottom line is that location ad extensions are simple to set up and well worth giving a shot.

2. Personalized Retargeting Ads

About two-thirds of consumers are OK with marketers using their online behavior and information for ads (Yahoo). Search retargeting is often the missing link in recapturing traffic lost to distraction, forgetfulness, and the constant battle for each user’s attention. Site visitors are tagged and then targeted with highly relevant offers, depending on the behavior that led them to seek out your business in the first place.

Google offers a fantastic remarketing option, with a massive publisher network that spans Google Search, YouTube, the Display Network, and millions of partner sites. Facebook is no slouch in the remarketing arena, either, with their Custom Audiences (and even Lookalike Audiences, which enable you to expand your reach to audience segments similar to your own list).

Top marketers are already using personalized retargeting ads, and should be optimizing their funnel to keep the consumer experience personalized by directing clickers to local landing pages. Which brings us, of course, to…

3. Local Landing Pages

Once you’ve put the elbow grease into tailoring your offers, ad creative, and targeting for a personalized experience, why would you send searchers to a generic home page? It’s not only a missed opportunity for you – it’s bad user experience for your customers. These same pages, if properly optimized, can also rank high in organic search results giving you a double-whammy – a paid listing and an organic listing which has been shown to increase click-through rates on both.

Whether your traffic comes from search or social ads, direct them to a store nearest them with local landing pages and make the buying process that much easier.

In conclusion, used individually, each of these three tools is a valuable addition to your personalization strategy. Employ all three and you have a local marketing personalization WMP –Weapon of Mass Personalization – on your hands.

How do you personalize the experience from discovery to conversion for your customers? Share your best tips in the comments.

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