Location Targeting

Earlier in AdWords Campaign Setup, you created a comprehensive outline of your target audience which included geographic location. Location is as important in AdWords as it is in real estate – regardless of how great your ad is, it likely won’t perform as well if it doesn’t appear in the right places (where your customers are).

Google AdWords’ location targeting, or geo-targeting, allows you to control where your ads appear by letting you choose the geographic locations you specify, as well as additional areas that AdWords suggests. Location targeting allows you to focus your ad campaigns on the geographic areas where you will most likely find the right customers, and in turn can help boost your return on investment (ROI).

Whether you’re running a mom-and-pop store and want to drive more foot traffic or a major company that only services certain geographic areas, geo-targeting your ads has been the go-to for PPC managers wishing to increase clicks and acquire customers from a certain location(s).

By default, your location settings may cause your ads to receive clicks from areas outside of the locations you want to target. It’s important to pay attention to this, as this irrelevant traffic can quickly cause you to lose money. To view your location settings:

  1. Click All online campaigns and choose the campaign for which you want to edit the location settings.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Scroll down to Locations and Location options (advanced).

Your default setting will be set to People in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location (recommended). Although this setting will send clicks from people within your targeted location(s), it will also send clicks from people who search for your targeted location(s). Google may also fire your ad if someone searches for your location with a modifier (city, state, etc.) with your keyword. Example: “wheelchair van rental Miami” could be someone searching from California for a wheelchair van rental when they go on vacation in Miami, Google will show your ad using this setting. Display Network ads will also show if someone views a web page with content that is relevant to your targeted location.

The most precise location targeting you can achieve will be with the People in my targeted location setting. This is our preferred option. Here, you can specify your locations and Google will only show your ad for people who are searching from within your geo-targeting parameters.

The People searching for or viewing pages about my targeted location setting can be quite unpredictable. It takes Google’s loose matching options and isolates them.

Here is an example of how we have used Location Targeting for our client, Auto Mobility Sales:

Location Targeting

We specified areas in Southeast Florida, including all of the specific locations within AMS’ target market, like Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach.

There are three ways to target locations: Radius targeting, Location extension targeting and Bulk locations.

Radius targeting allows you to target a radius that you specify (in miles or kilometers) around a certain location. For example, if you own a pizza parlor in Tallahassee, Florida, you might want to target areas within 5 miles of Tallahassee (click to enlarge):

Radius Targeting

If you enable location extension targeting, you can target a radius you specify around your current location extensions. Location extensions allow you to include your business address(es) and phone number with your ad text. Here is an example:

adwords location extension

To navigate to location extension settings in AdWords:

    1. Choose the campaign for which you want to enable a location extension (note that you can only use one type of location extension per campaign).
    2. Click on Ad extensions. You will then see a drop down menu underneath the Ad extensions bar to the left where you can view all extension types:

adwords ad extensions

  1. Here, you can select Location Extensions and add a new location extension.

So how do you use location extension targeting? Using the pizza parlor example, if you want to attract customers who are looking for pizza near any of your locations, you can target a radius of 5 miles around your location extension addresses. Your ads will now appear for people nearby when they search for “pizza parlor” or other keywords in your campaign.

Simply click Location extensions, specify the radius and Google will add it to your Targeted locations (click to enlarge):

Targeted Location Extension

Bulk locations are markets that are predefined by Google. They can be cities, countries, zip codes etc.

You can also exclude locations. To exclude a location, simply type the location(s) you would like to exclude in the search bar and click “Exclude” (click to enlarge):

Exclude Locations

For example, we excluded Alaska and Hawaii for our client, CoolChairz.com, because shipping charges are too high. These locations will show under Excluded locations (click to enlarge):

Exclude Location
Google Search Network
You can set and adjust your location targeting settings by entire countries, areas within a country, or a radius around a specific location at any time. Location targeting in using enhanced campaigns is detailed in Enhanced Campaigns. Read about Device Targeting next.