If targeting local and mobile search advertising is the future growth drivers for search advertising providers, then Google and its Adwords geo-targeting features are in the driver’s seat when compared to its three closest search advertising rivals Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask.com.
Below I outline each providers’ offerings not according to their search advertising market share but instead according to their level of geotargeted advertising product development.
Google’s advertising product and its geo-targeting capabilities have one distinct yet obvious feature the other’s lack:
An actual map for geo-targeting the location of your ads and where they will be shown!
With Google Adwords, advertisers can target their ads one country at a time through Google’s Country Geotargeting tab, or choose to bundle their ads for display in multiple countries at once with Adwords Bundle Geotargeting feature.
Google Search Advertising Bundle Geotargeting
Google Adwords advertisers who advertise in specific markets nationally or regionally can target their ads by metropolitan area or by city.
Although not referenced, Google’s metropolitan area targeting looks slightly similar to the Designated Market Area system developed by Nielsen Media Research which incorporates Nielsen’s broadcast media markets and distribution scheme.
For its City geotargeting option, Google surrounds the target city with a square.
Google custom geotargeting by far provides the highest level of geotargeting available from any search advertising provider.
Custom geotargeting lets advertisers create their own custom advertising distribution area within any market.
Google search advertisers can simply point and click three or more points on their advertising map and Google does the rest for them – creating a custom advertising distribution area through latitude and longitude coordinates.
How do the other search advertising providers’ geo-targeting features stack up compared with Google’s?
Yahoo and Ask both offer advertising geo-targeting options but both to a lesser degree.
Yahoo offers geotargeting to it advertisers by account market area and specific regions. Account market area is established by the advertising account holder when the open their account. Both account market area and specific region areas are organized by country, state, province or territory.
The Yahoo specific region feature geotargets its advertising through the Designated Market Areas system licensed from Nielsen Media Research.
Where is the Yahoo Search Advertising Geotargeting Map?
Yahoo offers a Map View tab of specific regions geotargeted by its advertisers yet I haven’t ever been able to view an actual Yahoo map showing where my advertising has been geo-targeted and placed.
I can’t imagine why Yahoo search marketing would place a “Map View” tab in their Campaign settings geo-targeting page yet not actually provide a map view.
Ask provides its advertisers with Location targeting which is also based on Nielsen’s Designated Market Area system.
Ask doesn’t provide a map showing advertisers locations of their geo-targeted advertising.
However, and to its credit – Ask does provide a geotargeting feature direct marketers like myself would like to see from other search advertising providers like Google Adwords – Postal Code targeting.
Postal Code Targeting or Zip Code targeting here in the US would allow direct marketers and brands alike another level of advertising targeting, delivery and thus control.
At this point you may be wondering why I chose to cover Microsoft’s adCenter search advertising geotargeting product last even though it has a larger share of the search market than Ask.
Why have I listed Microsoft’s advertising geotargeting product development last?
Because Microsoft’s search advertising product does not offer its advertisers geotargeting options let alone any other kind of geographic ad targeting.
Will Microsoft ever offer advertising geo-targeting features to its advertisers?
If not, why?
Tags: Ask Network, Brand, Designated Market Area, Direct Marketer, DMA, Geo Target, Geo Targeting, Geotargeting, Google Adwords, Local Search, Microsoft adCenter, Mobile Search, Nielsen Media Research, Postal Code, Search Advertising, Yahoo Search Marketing, Zip Code