Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | SEM | October 17, 2014

AdWords Location Settings

How much thought have you put into your AdWords geographic targeting? You may sell a product/service to everyone in a certain area, but is it optimal to be paying the same amount for every location? Would you want to pay the same amount for a click in a low-income east coast city as you would in a high-income northwestern city? Does South Dakota convert as well as California for you? These are some examples of questions you should be asking yourself to determine what kind of geographical targeting you should set up within your AdWords campaigns. Today I’m going to review how to optimize your location settings. You can use them to custom tailor your geographical targeting and bids to generate a higher density of conversions in your campaigns. Click the campaign that you’d like to edit –> click the Settings tab –> click the Locations tab –> click the big red +Locations button –> click Advanced Search. This should bring you to a screen that looks like this:

map of world

There are four tabs (search, radius targeting, location groups, and bulk locations) that will help you more accurately target your desired audience.   Search: This is the simplest tab to understand, and most campaigns don’t extend much further than this basic form of targeting. When you click the search tab, you can enter the name of the location that you’d like to target. For example, if you want to advertise in the city of Springfield (by typing in “springfield”), then the search bar will offer every location related to what you typed (see below).

springfield

You can add these to your campaign by clicking Add. You can also do the inverse by clicking Exclude. The exclude button is nice when you want to block out certain areas. Let’s say, for example, that you want to run two separate campaigns: one that advertises in Los Angeles and one that advertises everywhere else in California. In the Los Angeles campaign, you can simply type in “Los Angeles,” add it, click save, and you’re done. In the “everywhere else” campaign, you can add all of California and then set an exclusion for Los Angeles (and click save!). This is an efficient way of testing the effectiveness of certain areas through the use of location targeting.   Radius Targeting: This type of targeting is useful when you don’t have specific city/area code boundaries, but are more concerned with a general area. Let’s say, for example, that you run an authentic southern gumbo restaurant in northern Mississipi. You determine that people will drive up to 20 miles to your location to get good gumbo. To advertise within this vicinity, click on the Radius Targeting tab –> click the blue location icon (labelled below) –> set however many miles you’d like your radius targeting to go –> click Add –> click Done (always make sure you save your changes – see below).

radius targeting
gumbo

Makes you hungry just looking at it…

Location Groups:

I don’t often use this tab (or the next tab), but this portion of Google’s location targeting is still in development so I’m sure it will improve over time. If you click the Location Groups tab, there are three options within the dropdown box: places of interest, locations by demographics, and location extensions.

Places of Interest: this option is unique since it allows you to target airports, central commercial areas, and universities within a given area. Let’s say you run a car rental business that is primarily interested in advertising to mobile users landing from an airplane trip. You can set the location to “United States,” and then select “Airports.” This will make it so your advertisement only targets airport locations within the United States (you can do the same with universities, central commercial areas, or other geographic locations).

places of interest

Locations by Demographics: Often, companies sell products/services that are meant to target people of a specific income. You can adjust income-level targeting by selecting “locations by demographics” in the drop-down box (my guess is that Google is working on expanding their demographics to more than just income levels, but for now this is all that they offer). The process is similar: find your desired location that you’d like to target –> select the household income tier that you’d like to target –> click Add –> click Done. Simply find the location you’d like to target, then select the household income tier that you’d like to target –> click Add –> click Save.

locations by demographics

Location Extensions: This tab is exactly the same as the radius targeting tab, but it will use your extensions to determine locations. You can upload location extensions in the Ad Extensions tab. These will help improve your quality scores and will allow you to more accurately target specific locations via radius targeting (read more on how to set up location extensions and other types of extensions).   Bulk Locations: This tab is only useful if you have a list of cities, states, area codes, or other key locations that you want to add all at once. Without this tab you would have to add all of them individually, so it’s more for convenience than anything else. If you have a big list of data, using this tab can simplify your workload.   With location targeting, you can also set bid adjustments based on the specific locations. This allows you to bid more or less aggressively depending on the targeting that you’re using. Let’s consider the following example:

example targeting

Once you’ve selected the areas that you’d like to target, click Done –> click Save. This will bring you back to the main settings screen that looks like this:

main settings screen

  By clicking on the bid adjustment column you can increase or decrease bids within certain geographic locations. It can be useful to bid more or less aggressively in certain areas based on how well those areas have performed in the past. You could always break these states into individual campaigns, but Google implemented bid adjustments in case you wanted to keep it all in a single campaign. As I mentioned previously, many of Google’s advanced targeting techniques are still in development (I’m sure they will be implementing more types of demographic targeting in the future). Make sure you’re advertising in the most optimal locations to generate the best ROI that you can! There’s no sense in wasting money in geographic areas that don’t convert. Ideally, you’ll bid more aggressively for areas that generate a high density of conversions. Happy advertising!

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