Demographic Drift, and what it means to your business
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How to beat the Facebook “PPC Bullies” through geo-targeting


If you've ever heard one of my talks, you'll immediately understand what a PPC bully is. For those I haven't met, or those who haven't experienced this with their ads, yet; a "PPC Bully" is a business with enough ad spend to drive up costs, and prevent smaller companies, usually local businesses, from competing.

So, what's an ethical business supposed to do to combat this? In a word, relevancy. To understand what this means, we need to understand a bit about how Facebook Ads work.

It's worth noting that, like Google, Facebook doesn't publish their algorithm. This means there is no way of precisely saying how much one variable matters over another. However, what marketers have discovered is that, contrary to conventional thought, when Facebook's computer system chooses which company's ad to display to a user, the highest bid doesn't always win.

Facebook has a vested interest in ensuring the ads their community see are relevant to the user. By making sure the ads match the user's profile, Facebook hopes to show ads to users that don't disturb their experience, while also improving conversion rates to advertisers. Since Facebook doesn't release what exactly is included, marketers have come up with a number of targeting strategies to deliver results. That means that while marketers may not agree on the exact method of increasing relevancy, everyone agrees that doing so leads to results.

Here at Ethical Success, we have our own strategies for optimizing, and one of the most important of those is geo-targeting.

Geo-Targeting a 25-mile radius around Richmond, Virginia

This particular strategy works on the idea that most of the national corporations with $20k/mo in ad spend are targeting major cities with a radius of 25 miles, or more. Their goal is to target everyone in a major area, and rely on a higher bid and spend to monopolize the available ad placements. Another tactic often used is to select a wide swath of zip codes within a city. This is certainly an incredibly effective tactic, and when they use zip code targeting, it can be challenging for your business to be heard!

Geo-Targeting a zip code in Richmond, Virginia

Over the years, our data has shown that more granular targeting, such as the image below, effectively creates opportunities for your voice to be heard. Our data strongly suggests that blanket targeting an entire city or zip code is viewed as less relevant than when that same geographic area is split into many individual areas. For local businesses, this means that through proper targeting, YOUR ad can win, even against a corporate "PPC Bully!"

Geo-Targeting multiple, smaller locations in Richmond, Virginia

As a final note, there is data which suggests ads in overlapping areas could bid against one another - driving up costs, so we would recommend taking a bit of time with the placement!


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