MacAdam Lea
By MacAdam Lea | SEM | October 10, 2016

AdWords Location Targeting Tips & Tricks

Making sure that paid ads are displayed to the right people is one of the keys to a successful AdWords campaign. Google provides a number of different options for making your ads more targeted, such as:

  • Keyword Targeting
  • Device Targeting
  • Audience Targeting
  • Location Targeting

Location Targeting

The method that we’ll be focusing on today is geographic Location Targeting. When you create a new campaign, Google will usually start off with your location targeting set to target everyone in the United States unless you specifically tell it otherwise.  In order to change this, follow the steps in the image below to edit location settings:


Once you’ve clicked on that red “+ Locations” button you’ll be prompted to choose the campaign you’ll be editing location settings for. You have to edit location settings one campaign at a time, but there are ways to speed up the process if there are a large number of campaigns. Once you’ve chosen the campaign you’ll see something similar to the image below:


This is where basic location settings can be implemented. Notice in the image above how this campaign is targeting Canada, the United States, and several specific states in the US as well. This is because the campaign has done particularly well in these states, and by adding them as targeted locations we can increase bids in those states. Most countries, states and cities can be found by searching where it says “Enter a location to target or exclude”.

We’re able to implement more advanced location settings if you follow the link highlighted above labeled “Advanced search”. Here you’ll find four new tabs that allow us to get even more specific with location targeting, and we’ll go over each of them below:

Search –


This is a more advanced version of the search bar on the previous screen. It provides many more options when you enter in a location, and highlights any areas that you include on a Google map. In the example above I’ve added the state of Oregon with its reach of 4,510,000 estimated Google users. You can also target specific cities or postal codes if your business is local.

Radius targeting –


Radius targeting allows us to target everyone in a defined radius rather than by city or state. In the example above I’ve chosen to target everyone within 70 miles of Salem in addition to my state-wide Oregon targeting. This way we can set bids for that radius and the rest of Oregon separately.

Location groups –


Location groups allow us to add location settings for specific demographics or points of interest. Let’s say for example that most of your business comes from people in a lower income bracket near cities. You could add location targeting like I’ve done in the image above to bid up for people in the lower 50% income bracket who are doing their searches in central commercial areas.    

Bulk locations –


Bulk locations are extremely useful if you’re updating location settings across a large number of campaigns. It allows us to upload a bulk list of location targets at once. This means that you only have to create one list of location settings, then you can reuse that list for every campaign with the same location settings.

Location settings are one of the key ways to make sure that you aren’t wasting money showing ads to people who can’t purchase your product. It doesn’t matter if you’re a corporation or a small business, making sure that you show to the right people is essential to a successful advertising campaign. If you’re interested in reading about some other types of targeting that Google offers on AdWords I recommend you check out some of our other Digital Reach Agency Blogs. Nick Rennard has a great audio blog on Display Network Targeting, and I recently wrote a blog on the new update for Mobile Device Targeting.

If you run into any trouble and feel like your AdWords account could use a professional audit just contact us at Digital Reach and we’ll show you how to take your advertising efforts to the next level.


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