How to Get Started with Google’s Enhanced Location Targeting in Adwords
Apr 04, 2011 by Jason Hamblin

Google Adwords has come a long way in the last 10 years in regards to location targeting. It does not seem too long ago that if you wanted to set up a local search campaign you would have to use Google Local. One of the bigger challenges over the years has been excluding certain geographic locations from ads served to consumers. Google has coined the phrase “Query Parsing” to explain why ads are served up to users outside of the determined radius settings.

In the past, if I wanted to target customers looking for BMW service within a 30 mile radius of Ft. Myers, Florida, I would not be able to stop the ad from showing if someone from New York typed in Ft Myers BMW service. If a user included a geographic modifier in the search query, then Google would serve the ad. Google has received a lot of feedback from this over the years and I am very happy to see some updates. Below are some examples:

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Location Targeting

Per announcements last week, you can now choose to target or exclude your digital ads based on the user’s physical location or the location of interest (for example, the location-specific terms in their search queries). By physical location, we mean the place where the user is actually located, such as “New York City,” instead of the location that’s included in the search query, such as “restaurants in New York”. In addition, Google modified the default setting for locations that you don’t want to reach and made it more in line with our requests.

Within these new options you can choose to amend the “Targeting Method” which gives you the following target options:
    Target using either physical location or search intent: Google will show your ads to users located in your targeted area and to users who include terms specific to your targeted area within their search.

    Target using physical location: Google will show your ads only to users physically located in your target area. When choosing this option, avoid using location terms outside your target area in your keywords, as they might conflict with your campaign target settings and prevent your ads from appearing.

    Target using search intent: Google will show your ads only to users who include a location-specific term in their query that corresponds with your targeted location. We ignore the user’s physical location.


Exclusion options include:
    Exclude by physical location only: Google won’t show your ads to users physically located where you have excluded in your location settings. Users outside these areas can still see your ads.

    Exclude by physical location and search intent: Google won’t show your ads to users who are physically located in your excluded location or to those who use your excluded location in their search query

If you’d like to learn more, this link will provide more information about advanced location targeting options. Or, if you’re interested in help with your online ads, let L2T help with your geo-targeting campaigns.

Expect Google to continue making improvements to location targeting moving forward. Just this week, Google announced updates to Google Latitude (which now includes check-ins) and Google Places (which is now available in 30 languages).

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