Do Your Ads Target the Right Locations?

Let’s say you own a bicycle rental business in Salt Lake City and you only serve clients along the Wasatch Front. You wouldn’t want your ads reaching, for instance, someone who lives in New York and never travels to Utah.

Your ads should convey that sort of preference, no matter where you live. Luckily, AdWords offers geographic targeting so you can reach the right people in the proper locations.

You can set your preferences within the AdWords dashboard with relative ease. But first, you have to make a few key decisions about your target audience. Ready to get started? Let’s go.

Your Preferred Audience

Who do you want to read your ads? That question is the backbone of your geotargeting goals.

Your preferred Google audience should arise from the reach of your products and services. Therefore, you should keep in mind that you ship either locally or nationally, or that you have offices in multiple major cities or just a single location like Salt Lake City.

If you haven’t already thought about your geographical influence, take a few minutes to list the locations you currently serve. Your individual Google ads should reach potential customers in those places. And at any time you extend your grasp into a new location, make sure to have your ads influence those places as well.

Targeting Geographical Locations

Once you know the locations of your target audience, your ads can correctly target countries or areas within those countries.

Edit a Single Campaign

Select a single campaign to edit by follow this series of steps:

  1. Click the Campaigns tab and select the campaign you want to change
  2. Click the Settings tab
  3. Click Edit beside the Locations subheading

A box will appear after you click Edit. In that box, you can type your desired country or city where you want AdWords to show this campaign.

For a bicycle rental shop in Utah, you may want to select your home state and surrounding states such as Idaho and Colorado because of the draw for both locals and tourists.

Next to any location selected in the drop-down menu, choose to Add to show your campaign in that area. Similarly, choose Exclude to keep your ads from being shown in a specific location. A choice of Add Utah, Idaho, and Colorado would be appropriate here.

You may Exclude multiple states in this step, but later we’ll review why that time-consuming process might not be necessary.

Edit multiple campaigns

If you want to perform this action for multiple campaigns at once:

  1. Click the Campaigns tab
  2. Click the Settings sub-tab
  3. Check all the campaigns you want to edit

Then perform the same Edit action as listed above.

Use a Search Radius

You can also change your campaigns so they target a radius from a specific point. Say, for instance, that you want to show your campaign to people within 50 miles of SLC, in any direction. Instead of clicking Edit, click Advanced search beside the Locations subheading.

Now you can click Radius Targeting to select a perimeter for the campaign in question. AdWords will show you a map with the highlighted radius to make sure you’re reaching as far as you like.

At this stage, a radius of 100 miles would encompass much of Utah’s Wasatch area, but it would also touch some of Wyoming. If you wanted to easily remove Wyoming from your search locations, you could use the previous step to Exclude it from searches.

For targeting in bulk – as many as 1000 locations at once – see this AdWords Help page for more details.

Advanced Location Options

We’re not quite done yet. You have changed the reach of your campaigns, but AdWords doesn’t yet know who exactly to show your ads to.

Targeting options allow you to single out individuals who, based on their search terms, should and shouldn’t see your advertisements.

From within a campaign’s settings, choose Location options (advanced) to see options for Target and Exclude location settings. You’ll see that this is a little different from the Add and Exclude options mentioned above.

For Target, you will see:

  • People in, searching for, or who show interest in your targeted location (recommended)
  • People in your targeted location
  • People searching for, or who show interest in your targeted location

By default, the first option will be selected. If you choose either the second or third option, you will only reach customers in your target location (Option 2) and customers who specifically search for your product or service (Option 3). The latter two options can narrow your audience, which could ease pressure on your advertising budget, but may also limit the possibility of reaching new customers in unforeseen geographical locations.

For Exclude, you will see:

  • People in, searching for, or who show interest in your excluded location (default)
  • People in your excluded location

The first option, which is selected by default, makes sure to exclude showing your ads to people who search from within or are interested in locations you blacklisted in the settings discussed earlier in this article. If you chose, for example, to Exclude Wyoming because your radius search reached too far northeast from SLC, this Advanced Location Option would respect that choice.

The second option here will only exclude your ads from being show to individuals who reside in the geographical zones you previously approved – not from those people simply interested in the locations themselves. As a continuation of our theme, this second option would only apply to Google search results that originate in Wyoming.

Options here work from the locations you selected in this article’s Target Geographical Locations heading. They also supplement your choices of whitelisted locations – in our case, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado.

Remember earlier when we said it wouldn’t always be necessary to select every surrounding state for exclusion? The Advanced Location Options here relieve you from that chore because, as you can see in the Target options, you can easily limit your campaigns to your approved areas. The default Target option will allow individuals to search for your products no matter where they live. But the second option (“People in your targeted location”) will force searches to originate in approved areas.

For any further help, don’t hesitate to contact Atria at any stage of the process. We’re here to make sure your ads reach your desired audience so your products and services can shine.