Local vs National PPC Campaigns - What's the Difference?

Posted On: 18th December 2023
Read Time: 6 Minutes
Local vs National PPC Campaigns

Should you choose a local or national PPC campaign? Hmmm – now that’s a question. In this guide, we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of why you would want to choose one over the other. After all, when you’re investing in your business, you’ll want to ensure the best chance of success. Let’s talk about local and national pay-per-click campaigns to ensure you’re on the right track.

What are the primary differences between local and national campaigns? 

Local campaigns target a very specific area, such as a city or postcode catchment area. Whereas a national campaign shows ads to people based across a country. So, if you go local, you’re narrowing your audience – but this can be a more effective way to spend your budget if your target audience is predominantly based in a specific area.

By narrowing your focus, you can maximise the impact of your marketing budget, especially if your ideal customers are clustered in a particular region. It’s all about quality over quantity!

On the other hand, national campaigns cast a wider net, reaching potential customers across an entire country. While they can be pricier, their broad reach can lead to great rewards. Balancing the pros and cons is key, and regularly testing and evaluating your strategies will guide you to success.

Which audience should you choose for your PPC campaigns?

Local service businesses and local retail businesses are more likely to benefit from local PPC as part of their digital marketing strategy, while larger ecommerce companies and corporate giants are typically better suited to national PPC.

When deciding whether to go local or national with your PPC strategy, there are a few factors to consider, predominantly the location and shopping behaviours of your audience. 

PPC can be an effective tool for businesses of all sizes, and if you are a local business that gains traction with your local audience, your marketing costs will be well spent. A local marketing strategy ensures you reach target customers who are likely to engage with your business.

Identify your market segments by understanding their demographic, geographic and behavioural characteristics. If your prospects are all located in one area, then local marketing tactics could be the way forward. If they are spread out across the country, you can use national marketing tactics.

Industries best-suited for local campaigns 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but companies that are most likely to benefit from employing a local campaign include:

  • Businesses that have limited ability to ship products and distinct, restrictive service areas.
  • Small, independent food and hospitality venues – particularly those that aren’t based in a popular tourist destination.
  • Independent businesses that are solely based and operate in one location, providing a localised service. This could include pretty much any business sector, from mortgage brokers to solar panel installers. 
  • Plumbers, electricians, and other tradespeople, who have service areas of 50 miles, would benefit significantly from local campaigns.

Local campaign benefits

Local campaigns will give you a smaller pool of people to target. However, for many local businesses, that’s not a problem – in fact, it’s a good thing. Let’s say you’re a small cafe based in Peterborough. It makes total sense to target an audience within a 5-mile radius. You could target people further afield, but this may not give you the results you’re hoping for – namely more visits to your cafe. 

Someone living in Scotland is not very likely to make a special trip – even if your coffee is that good! On the other hand, someone living locally is far more likely to be interested in your establishment and could even become a regular customer.

One of the advantages of targeting a local audience is that you can tap into personalisation. This is something that people can respond well to. 

Challenges of a local campaign

If you want to scale up your campaign, you may worry that a local audience limits your growth potential. After all, there will only be so many people living in your local area. However, there is room to play around. There is a case for expanding the depth of product marketing when an audience is local. For example, a coffee shop could start advertising its baked goods or even its daily specials – a particularly effective strategy if local targeting gets saturated.

Benefits of national campaigns

The biggest advantages of a national PPC campaign are:

✔ Wide reach and exposure

✔ Brand recognition and trust

✔ Good levels of scalability 

Industries best suited to national campaigns

Ecommerce businesses that have the capacity to ship nationwide can benefit enormously from setting up a national campaign. 

Contrary to popular belief, a small, independent food business that can ship UK-wide would benefit significantly from a national campaign. A hospitality venue that caters to national or international tourists would benefit from both national and international campaigns. In fact, these types of businesses tend not to benefit from local campaigns.

National campaign challenges

You may think that national PPC campaigns could get lost in an oversaturated blend of advertisements. After all, consumers who receive too many communications from a brand that they’re not interested in may become disengaged or even frustrated. You can probably relate to this! However, with Google Ads, this isn’t the case! This is because ads are shown in response to a query, and the impressions or ad serving can be capped. 

Competitiveness is a challenge with national campaigns, but it’s an opportunity for creative problem-solving. By understanding your audience thoroughly and crafting targeted content, national campaigns can bring fantastic ROI.

You have to employ a well-thought-out strategy. Targeting products to specific search queries and serving ads and landing pages that answer the searcher’s needs no matter where the searcher is located – and having effective logistics in place for efficient, cost-effective shipping for goods is paramount.

Can you combine local and national strategies?

It is possible to combine local and national strategies with a hybrid campaign approach.

Hybrid marketing campaigns that combine both national and local elements can be highly effective, and they are often recommended for businesses with a diverse target audiences based in multiple locations. 

How to create a successful local PPC campaign?

Use location targeting settings to specify your target area, such as specific cities, regions or even a radius around your physical store. As with any PPC campaign, success can take the form of a high click-through-rate or conversion rate. Decide on the metrics that matter to you and monitor them on a regular basis. 

Local campaign A/B testing is crucial. Test and test again. It’s through testing that you will get a measure of what works and resonates with your audience. You can also experiment with excluding audiences to ensure that your ads are not going to waste. For example, if you’re a kitchen design company, showcasing your ads to people who are renting or live with their parents is not necessarily the best approach. The good news is that it’s easy to include and exclude preset audiences with filters. 

The sweet spot for your keyword research is to find terms that have a high search volume, but a low level of competition. That should help you bring in more bang for your buck! The ads to watch are ones that get more impressions and clicks while boosting your ROI.

While a successful local marketing strategy involves optimising your digital presence, it’s also worth building relationships with the community. While online local marketing is valuable, reaching your target customers face-to-face should also be an essential part of your strategy.

Need help setting up your PPC campaigns?

Our PPC specialists would love to help! Tell us more about your business by filling out our quick online contact form, and a member of our team will be in touch soon. We have years of experience helping businesses of all shapes and sizes achieve their marketing goals by targeting the right people at the right time with the right content. Interested? Get in touch today. 

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Emma Gibbs at Echo Web Solutions
Emma Gibbs
SEO Content Writer
Writing is something that Emma has always loved, and enjoys using her passion for the written word to help businesses create easy to understand content that drives results.

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