Paid Search for Local: Complement or Competition to National?

Erin Strong | March 16, 2022

A conversation about the ways local and national strategy work together

As a channel marketing strategy and execution team, we’re frequently asked if paid search is a valid option for local marketing. National marketers tend to worry that local paid search will compete with their own strategies, so they sometimes limit the tactics our crew can use. To address these concerns, we had a Q&A with our subject matter expert, Kate Snyder, who works as BrandMuscle’s Head of SEO & LDM, and is an experienced digital advertising SME.

Does local paid search compete with national paid search?

Kate: No, not if the research and preparation prior to launch are done correctly. Keyword selection and geographic targeting are important factors to consider when determining the effectiveness of both local and national paid campaigns.

Advertising in local campaigns will usually include a city or state name and then direct users to an easy-to-read landing page. Unlike city-based campaigns, national campaigns target more competitive keywords and reach an even broader audience throughout the United States. As always, strategy and ongoing campaign management are essential for success locally and nationally. Local paid search and national paid search don’t compete. They complement each other.

In what ways does local paid search complement national paid search?

Kate: A local paid search strategy is designed to target potential customers within a specific region. Primarily, the strategy involves using local keywords and geo-targeting. Even with a modest budget, a local PPC campaign can improve the efficiency of your local marketing by allowing you to reach the right demographics. Administering hyperlocal and national campaigns simultaneously engages customers at every stage of the sales funnel.

User intent at the local level may differ significantly from that of a user interacting with a nationwide campaign. By utilizing local PPC, your ads will appear before the right audiences because you have complete control over who you’re targeting.

Additionally, you won’t be competing with national big names, so your budget will go a lot further. With more local campaigns, you’ll see less competition and more clicks and conversions. Where local campaigns drive traffic to geo-targeted landing pages, coexisting national campaigns drive mass traffic to a corporate site. Local traffic to geo-targeted landing pages prevents cannibalization.

The use of advertising campaigns both locally and nationally allows for maximum exposure on search engine results pages. The high level of visibility provides the ability to support a variety of user journeys. Tactics that are successful at the national level may not necessarily be applicable at the local level, and vice versa.

When should we avoid using branded keywords?

Kate: I would not recommend avoiding branded keywords. In general, branded keywords are low cost and high conversion. Through the use of branded keywords, increased brand awareness results in repeat traffic that converts. As brand awareness improves, the brand’s quality score improves. This results in cheaper conversions for the brand. Using branded keywords in conjunction with value-based, non-branded keywords will encourage bottom-of-the-funnel traffic to engage with your ads.

When should we amp up the use of non-branded keywords?

Kate: By utilizing non-branded keywords, brands can instantly appear on SERPs and position themselves directly in front of consumers. We use non-branded keywords to target customers at the top of the funnel who are doing research before making a purchase decision. The use of non-branded keywords in an upper-funnel campaign can boost engagement by increasing impressions. The goal is to increase awareness and engagement.

Furthermore, the data collected for non-branded keywords provides insight into the search intent of the target audience. The consumer may recognize a brand name without recognizing the product. Using non-branded keywords for these search queries can provide maximum visibility with higher reach and relevance.

What would you say to a CMO who doesn’t allow local marketers to do any paid search?

Kate: I would say that PPC for local businesses allows local marketers to reach the right audience in a particular region without spending exorbitant amounts of money. Local PPC can help you attract new, valuable customers by focusing on the search intent of a certain region. Increased ROI is the result of generating more valuable leads. From a high-level perspective, a national campaign could be a very appealing way to reach the masses.

The fact is, no campaign can achieve universal coverage. Campaigns at the local level help bridge the gap between local and national, reaching regions that national campaigns would otherwise miss. Using behavioral data and geographic locations, local paid search provides an exceptional level of flexibility that cannot be duplicated by any other method of advertising. A local paid search campaign is the best way to create brand recognition and monitor success with measurable results.

While there are a lot of considerations to keep in mind when choosing a paid search strategy, our Performance Marketing subject matter experts believe that it’s a fantastic option that yields a lot of relevant results from the top-to-bottom of your funnel. We hope that CMOs will keep paid search strategic or tactical options in mind for their vertical and use case, because it works.

Ready to Strengthen National Marketing With Local Paid Search?

Contact BrandMuscle to learn how we can help your fully activate your channels with local and national strategies that work together.

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