Geographic segmentation creates more effective, personalized marketing campaigns by using location-based targeting. Learn from real-life examples and keep these expert tips in mind.

Here, you’ll find:

  1. Geographic segmentation definition
  2. Benefits of geographic segmentation
  3. 7 geographic segmentation variables
  4. Geographic segmentation examples in real life

When you think of customer segmentation, you might think about demographic, behavioral, or psychographic segmentation. But if you’re not considering geographic segmentation, you’re missing an opportunity to understand, reach, and convert your target audience.

Geographic segmentation isn’t just for location-based businesses, international brands, or companies selling weather or climate-related products.

Nearly every brand can use it to learn something about its buyers and create a more targeted marketing strategy.

Let’s dive into what geographic segmentation is, what geographic variables you can use to segment your audience, and what it looks like in real-life campaigns.

Geographic segmentation definition

Geographic segmentation organizes your audience into different groups using geographic variables. This type of segmentation helps you identify and leverage location-based characteristics to create more personalized marketing campaigns.

Where a buyer lives impacts their choices and habits. After identifying the patterns and trends based on geographic segments, you’ll better understand fluctuations in demand and the best ways to market your offers.

So whether you’re running PPC lead generation ads or buying billboard space, you can use the data to inform your strategy.

For example, people in larger urban areas may be more likely to buy a certain luxury product than their suburban and rural counterparts. Identify this, and you can create more targeted marketing campaigns to reach the right buyers.

“Geographic segmentation is a fundamental strategy in PPC marketing that could yield high ROI if utilized properly,” says Sam Yedagar, HawkSEM CEO. “You want to ensure you’re working with a PPC agency or PPC manager that understands your target audience and how to best utilize geo-segmentation to get the highest ROAS.”

By using geo-segmentation along with other PPC strategies, HawkSEM was able to increase CDL Consultant’s conversion rate by 124% and their qualified call conversion rates by 108%. See how the team did it.

Benefits of geographic segmentation

There are several types of market segmentation — why consider geographic location to segment your customer base?

While demographic, psychographic, and behavioral segmentation are all helpful, geographic segmentation is the only type that considers geography’s influences on behavior, preferences, trends, and buying decisions.

Here are several benefits of geographic segmentation:

  • Target more efficiently. Geographic segmentation helps you learn more about your customers and target audience. With this information, you can better identify buying patterns and behaviors.
  • Optimize your marketing budget. Instead of marketing to people who may not have an interest or need for your products and services, you can use geographic segments to ensure you reach the right people.
  • Save money. When you market to everyone, you waste money on those who aren’t the right fit for your product. Geographic segmentation saves money using highly-targeted campaigns.
  • Get started easily. If you’re just starting your segmentation strategy, geographic segmentation is fairly easy. The information is concrete and easier to find, making analysis straightforward.
  • Provide better customer experiences. The more customer information you have, the more personalized you can make your marketing campaigns and messaging, resulting in a better experience.

Geographic targeting alone may not give you the whole picture. So, it’s valuable to overlap different types of targeting as part of your marketing or ad strategy.

For example, let’s say you’re running a retargeting ad campaign. You combine both geographic and demographic segmentation to reach the population of 25- to 30-year-old women in urban areas.

To get the full benefits of geographic segmentation, track your campaign performance. HawkSEM uses ConversionIQ to track the results from campaigns with specific geo-segmentation.

“Tracking the performance of these campaigns not only allows you to see what part of the marketing dollar is providing a positive return,” explains Yadegar. “But with ConversionIQ, we can extract specific customer data (from traffic that converted) and use that data to market to more potential customers who are also highly likely to convert.

7 geographic segmentation variables

Geographic segmentation isn’t just about grouping people together by their home address. There are other characteristics that align with a person’s geographic location that help you understand and target their different needs.

Here are the seven geographic segmentation variables you may use in your PPC ad campaigns:

  1. Location
  2. Climate & weather
  3. Culture
  4. Ethnicity & religion
  5. Population density
  6. Language
  7. Time zone

1. Location

Location is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of geographic segmentation. This involves grouping customers and prospects into segments based on where they live.

Location-based segmentation can be as broad as people living on a certain continent and as specific as those with a specific postal code.


If you’re launching a campaign targeting different countries, you may use this as a segmentation option. Laws, regulations, languages, preferences, and more can vary from country to country, and you may need to account for that in your offers, strategy, and marketing messages.


If your target market lives in different regions of the world, account for that in your segmentation. For example, Europe’s culture is different from U.S. culture. And even within the U.S., West Coast folks have different behaviors, tendencies, and preferences than those on the East Coast.


If you have a small business operating across the United States, consider segmenting based on state if it’s relevant. For example, insurance laws are different in California than in Florida, so the plans you advertise in each state may differ.

2. Climate & weather

Climate and weather impact different markets’ demand for certain products. When you segment by climate, you can target those who live in colder areas with different products than those who live in warmer climates. People in Canada may want to purchase hand warmers, but people in Mexico may be more interested in sandals.

Similarly, if an area is prone to snow, extreme heat, rain, hurricanes, or humidity, you can segment these different areas. People in Florida (one of the rainiest states) may have more chances to use a rainy-day discount promotion than people in Nevada (one of the driest states).

3. Culture

Cultural preferences and attitudes vary from place to place. Studying the local culture of different geographic areas reveals what customers want and need.

When you respect cultural differences and adjust your PPC ad copy and offers to account for this, you can build genuine, long-lasting relationships with buyers.

You may not connect “fast food” with culture, but McDonald’s is a great example of a brand that takes cultural preferences into consideration. Not just in its messaging but in its offers — for example, its menu offers lobster rolls in New England, spam in Hawaii, and taro pies in China.

4. Ethnicity & religion

Ethnicity and religion are significant — from the holidays we celebrate and the food we eat to our daily habits and customs. This is another way to segment your audience for more effective marketing campaigns.

When you understand your customers’ ethnic and religious backgrounds, you can avoid sensitivities when targeting promotions to their customs and holidays. For example, a dress retailer may market dresses for quinceñas to areas with high Mexican populations and dresses for bat mitzvahs to high Jewish population areas.

5. Population density

Population density impacts the number of potential buyers in the area and their buying decisions and preferences. Buyers in rural areas will need and want different offers than those in urban or suburban areas because their lifestyles and attitudes differ.

Here are several examples.


Urban areas have a higher population density than rural areas, providing a larger market to tap into with more competition. These areas tend to be more diverse and attract a more politically progressive population.

Urban residents are more likely to have access to public transportation and ridesharing. Since things are generally closer together, they’re also closer to government resources like the library, courthouse, and post office. They have more options for entertainment and shopping than those in rural areas.

People living in urban areas tend to make more and have more disposable income, but they also have a higher cost of living. They pay more for housing and often live in smaller homes than those in rural areas. They also tend to spend more on food overall because they have more options for dining out.


Rural areas have a less dense population. They have fewer options to pick from locally, so there is less competition. People living in rural areas may also be less sensitive to trends than their urban counterparts.

Those living in the country spend less than urban or suburban residents. They have fewer dining options but are able to grow their own food. They are dependent on their vehicles to get around and value privacy.

Rural residents tend to spend more time outdoors. They have easy access to natural areas, making outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, hunting, and boating more common.


Suburban populations are unique — many suburban residents work in the city but live in the suburbs for affordable housing. So they may have very similar characteristics to those in urban areas, though their lifestyles are different.

The suburbs tend to be more car-dependent than cities — but not as much as rural areas. Many suburbs have access to mass transit but are less walkable than urban areas.

Suburban areas tend to have the best schools, making them attractive to families. These areas also offer the best of both worlds for indoor and outdoor activities since they’re close to cities and a short drive away from rural spots.

6. Language

Using the language of your target market is essential to your marketing efforts. If you have an international audience, use geographic segmentation to group people by their language.

Whether your audience speaks English, Spanish, German, or Chinese, segment each to ensure you serve ads to the right buyers in their native language.

7. Time zone

Time zones impact the timing of mass marketing communications like email or SMS. Segmenting customers based on time zone allows companies to send marketing messages at the most optimal time for customers in that area.

Geographic segmentation played an impactful role in the HawkSEM team’s PPC and SEO strategy for Escape the Room. See how HawkSEM helped them get record clicks and impressions.

Geographic segmentation examples in real life

The best way to understand the power of segmentation is to see it in action. Here are real-life examples of geographic segmentation in popular marketing campaigns:

Geographic segmentation by location

As an international brand, Nike often uses location to tailor its messaging and content. The sports apparel company promotes different sports gear and clothing based on the popular sports in each location. Nike’s ads promote gear for basketball and baseball in the U.S., soccer in Europe, cricket in India, and rugby in England and Sydney.

Nike also features locally popular athletes in its ads to attract customers in different areas. For example, soccer (or football) ads in the U.K. feature prominent athletes that people in the area would recognize. For instance, Nike features Demi Stokes, a professional English footballer playing for Manchester City and the England national team, in its UK advertisements.

Here, Nike projected an ad featuring the soccer star on a well-known England landmark, the Thames barrier:

Then ads in the U.S. feature popular soccer players United States fans recognize like Alex Morgan, captain of San Diego Wave FC of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Geographic segmentation by climate

Companies in the hair and beauty industry often use climate as a factor for segmentation. People in different regions have different preferences and face different challenges based on climate. So ads targeting these people need to feature different products or types of messaging to appeal to the audience.

Kate Ross, Hair and Beauty Specialist at Irresistible Me uses geographic segmentation in the company’s marketing campaign for the Diamond Flat Iron.

“We found that customers in the Southwest region were more likely to have dry and frizzy hair due to the hot and arid weather, and they valued moisturizing and smoothing features in their flat irons,” explains Ross. “On the other hand, customers in the Northeast region were more likely to have fine and straight hair due to the cold and humid weather, and they valued volumizing and curling features in their flat irons.”

When Irresistible Me launched this product in the U.S. market, its in-house Ads Marketing Specialist Stefan Valentin, used these insights to tailor its marketing messages and offers to highlight product benefits that appeal to each geographic segment.

“In our ad copy, we emphasized how the flat iron’s tourmaline-infused ceramic plates could lock in moisture and reduce frizz for customers in the Southwest,” says Ross. “And we emphasized how the flat iron’s adjustable temperature settings could create different styles and curls for customers in the Northeast.”

Geographic segmentation by culture

Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign is a great example of using cultural segmentation to not only personalize advertising but also the products themselves. This multi-national 2014 campaign was successful because of its community focus, a universal theme that appeals to every culture.

Coke used its packaging to personalize bottles and cans, using different names in different regions, catering to the cultural diversity of each area. Here’s just one example of a promotional image from its United States campaign:

These are popular American names that are likely to appeal to a large number of Americans who have or know someone with these names.

The campaign used different culturally significant names in different countries. For instance, in Ireland, the company featured the traditional Irish names Róisín, Tadhg, and Liam, on bottles.

Share a Coke Campaign Ireland


SwagMagic allows organizations to create their own branded gift items. It also uses culture as a geographic segmentation variable in how it connects with customers through its messaging.

“Employee gifting is a powerful motivator in the United States. And personalization, convenience, and brand recognition are highly valued,” says Jas Banwait Gill, Growth Manager at SwagMagic. “We’ll share success stories of companies that use our platform to create memorable corporate gifts and how it strengthened their business partnerships. And we’ll ramp up our promotions during the lead-up to the holiday season and Employee Appreciation Day.”

The company highlights other benefits and themes when marketing in other countries. For example, in India, gift culture is different. Gifting is often tied to celebrations, festivals, and personal relationships.

“So we leverage the emotional connection of gift-giving with messages highlighting the joy of giving and receiving gifts,” Gill continues. “Since India is a vast and diverse market, we adapt our messaging to local languages, nuances, and customs.”

Geographic segmentation by ethnicity & religion

McDonald’s is a great example of a global brand that does its market research and tailors products and ads to each location. It’s known for having different versions of its menu that include regional favorites. But in India, religion plays a role in its product offerings.

Known for its hamburgers, McDonald’s has re-engineered its menu and advertising in India, a country whose most widely practiced religions have dietary laws and traditions. Hindus avoid eating beef because cows are seen as sacred in their religion. And it’s even illegal to slaughter cattle in many areas of India. While Muslim teachings prohibit the consumption of pork.

Instead of McDonald’s beloved Big Mac sandwich, you will find the Chicken Maharaja Mac, a double-layered grilled chicken sandwich. While a big sandwich seems to fit right in with American meal expectations, the same is not true for India.

For this reason, ads for the sandwich feature the tagline “the social burger,” marketing the sandwich as something you eat while spending time with others. Yes, it’s a big sandwich, but it’s meant to be eaten as you socialize with friends and family.

McDonalds India


Given that in India, 81% of adults restrict meat from their diet, McDonald’s has also incorporated many vegetarian menu items to align with this cultural norm. Its Indian menu features items like the McAllo, featuring a patty made from potato and peas with vegetarian sauce, and the McSpicy Paneer, a patty made from Indian cheese.

Geographic segmentation by population density

Population density has a big impact on housing. Homes in cities tend to be smaller, with many more people living in apartments than houses. Due to the cost of living, average home prices, and availability of homes to purchase, there are more people renting apartments and homes in cities than in suburban and rural areas.

Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s use population density as a variable in the products they advertise to people in different areas. City dwellers and country residents have unique needs impacting their home improvement and maintenance projects.

For instance, let’s say Home Depot wants to run a promotion on lawnmowers. Rural properties may have acres of land, while suburban homes have a smaller yard, and urban homes may have little to no yard at all. This impacts the type of lawnmower a person may need.

In more population-dense areas, Home Depot may highlight manual push mowers, which get the job done for smaller lawns. They’re also compact, making them ideal for people who don’t have much space.

Manual push mower ads

In rural areas, it may promote riding lawnmowers. This mower is more practical and efficient for people living on larger properties. They’re also more likely to have a place to store the large equipment.

Riding mower ads

In suburban areas, it may advertise its gas push mowers, which are a better fit for smaller yards. While they aren’t as compact as the manual push mowers, they’ll fit in a small shed or garage, which is more common in suburban areas than urban areas.

Gas push mower ads

Geographic segmentation by language

If you want your paid search ads to be effective, they need to speak to people in the the language they understand best. This may vary from country to country or by region.

For example, in most areas of Canada, advertising in English will be the norm. However, in Quëbec, French is the official language. In fact, in June 2022, the province passed Bill 96, a controversial law that limits the use of English in certain settings, making French the language of business in Quëbec.

Any advertisers in this area of Canada will need to create ads in French if they want to appeal to the target market and adhere to the law. Though the law allows English to be used alongside French in some advertisements, that’s only if French is the “more predominant language” (meaning it’s at least twice as big as the English text).

Here’s an example of an Ikea billboard ad in Quëbec:

Not only is the ad copy in French, but the link it drives people to is a link to the French language Canadian website.

Geographic segmentation by time-zone

Larger businesses operating in countries across time zones will use this as a segmentation variable to plan promotions and ad campaigns. Time zone segmentation is useful for email marketing campaigns as it allows you to schedule emails to hit customers’ inboxes when they’re most likely to open and read them.

This segmentation tactic is also important for PPC ad scheduling. For example, if you want to run ads in both New York, NY, and Sydney, Australia, you won’t schedule them for the same time. The AEDT time zone is 15 hours ahead of New York City.

So, while your data may tell you 5 p.m. ET on a Friday is an optimal time to run ads, it’s 8 a.m. Saturday morning in Australia which may not be an optimal time for that population.

The takeaway

Using geographic segmentation for your marketing and PPC ad campaigns can help you deliver more targeted messaging and offers to your audience—wherever they may be.

It’s certainly not the only type of segmentation you should pay attention to, but it can make a significant impact on your advertising results.

Ready to get support with your PPC ads? Book a free consultation with the HawkSEM team today.

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