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Serving Up 3 Key AdWords Strategies for Local Businesses

Search “pizza delivery” on Google and you’re likely to be served ads from the usual suspects: Papa Johns, Domino's and Pizza Hut. These businesses’ product offerings fit the search criteria and would almost certainly satisfy the user’s hunger for fresh pizza delivered right to their door. Now put yourself in the shoes of a local pizzeria owner, Sal of Sal’s Pizzeria, who is looking to reach more customers by advertising online. This auction is a gold mine when considering the user’s intent to purchase, but it is dominated by the larger chains and would be difficult for a local pizzeria like Sal’s to participate in. Smaller businesses may have superior products or pricing but often lack the paid search advertising budget to compete at the same scale as their larger competitors. That being said, there are several paid search strategies that these smaller businesses can employ in their Google campaigns in order to increase their digital footprint and attract potential customers with little to no increase in ad spend.

Geotargeting to Profitable Areas

In order to avoid wasting money on users that are unlikely to convert, while maintaining a digital presence, smaller advertisers can implement highly precise geotargeting to focus ad delivery on a predetermined area. This area, as specific as a zip code or a radius around a certain point, allows for an advertiser to control ad spend and concentrate on the highest value locations. Sal certainly wouldn't want to advertise his pizzeria’s delivery services outside of their delivery area because there would be little to no return outside of that specific area. Instead, Sal can target the specific zip codes he offers delivery services to using geotargeting to ensure he’s showing ads to the most qualified users.

Using Location Extensions to their Full Potential

Adding location extensions to search ads on Google allows for the address and telephone number of an advertiser’s brick-and-mortar location to be displayed along with the main ad. Google shows these details with the ad when the query occurs within a certain radius of the address provided for the extension and generally when the ad is in the one of the top positions on the results page. Location extensions on mobile can be especially effective because they can contain a link to directly click-to-call the location. In the case of Sal’s Pizzeria, this is particularly valuable because it allows customers to place a phone order directly from the ad.

Another channel that is opened up by the process of setting up location extensions is advertising on Google Maps. If someone were to search for “pizza delivery” in Google Maps, an ad for the pizzeria could be displayed along with the actual Google Maps listings. This increases visibility and potential conversion channels with little additional investment.

Ad Scheduling to Target High-Return Days & Times

In the Google AdWords user interface there’s an option to target ad delivery to certain hours of the day and certain days of the week. This feature allows a smaller advertiser to identify higher or lower value time periods and adjust bids for those days and times accordingly, without the need for more sophisticated third-party bidding tools. The ability to adjust bids by day and time allows for more of the budgeted spend to be allocated to the most profitable times of day and days of the week. Let’s say that Sal’s Pizzeria is located in a college town with a great football team and pizza is the tailgating fare of choice. In order to harness the demand for pizza on game days with a 4:00pm kickoff, Sal may choose to push bids 50% on Saturdays from 9:00am to 2:00pm. This allows Sal to really focus on the highest value times for his business and conserve his ad spend on days that are less profitable.


The competitive nature of the paid search auction lends itself to be more beneficial to larger advertisers with seemingly limitless budgets for advertising. Smaller advertisers are left with little option but to identify and implement strategies that allow them to get the most out of their ad spend while harnessing the increasing demand from consumers. Luckily, Google offers tools such as Location Extensions, Geotargeting and Ad Scheduling that allow small advertisers to effectively reach their most profitable consumers. While there are certainly other effective strategies that allow advertisers to do the same, these three tactics, especially when used in combination, allow advertisers to reach these customers while minimizing additional spend. This allows smaller advertisers like Sal’s Pizzeria to compete with the likes of Papa John’s and Dominos to get fresh pizza in the hands of customers without breaking the bank.
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