6 Tips to Optimize Geolocation Targeting in Google AdWords

There are 2 key benefits to defining location targeting ads in SEM campaigns – precision of targeting and budget saving. Unless your business occupies every inch of earth, it makes more sense to focus your marketing efforts on the most lucrative locations.

What Location Targeting Ads?

Location targeting ads are location-specific advertisements shown to an audience in a specific geographic area. Location targeting ads can be set up to target multiple demographic locations with different ad content to maximize ROI (Return on Investment).

For example, let’s say you are hosting a promotional event for customers in the Los Angeles area. With location targeting ads, you can set up the ad to target audience with a physical location in Los Angeles, California only. Both Google AdWords and Bing Ads allow you to include, exclude, or set the radius for the specific geographic locations of your choice.

Why Does Your Business Need Location Targeting Ads?

Location targeting ads will help any business whether you are a Fortune 500 international chain or a small business focusing on the local market. When you create a new campaign within AdWords or Bing Ads, you have the option to choose "all countries", select a few territories, or choose "United States only". The settings within location targeting ads provide the flexibility to target ads more aggressively in the active markets and dial down in the less active regions.

How to Optimize Google Adwords Location Targeting Ads

Tip #1: Add Location Specific Keywords

If your ad is specifically designed to market to certain states within the US, it is a good idea to include the location within the ad content. It improves click-through-rate and eliminates any irrelevant traffic from unqualified locations.

Here are 2 quick ad examples promoting diamond rings to California residents:

  • Buy your diamond rings today for half off, visit our California stores
  • Our California handcrafted diamond rings are backed by low price guarantee

Tip #2: Define Location Radius

You can set the radius of ad targeting within a certain mileage of a specific location. Radius ad targeting allows you to define a range of distance from a geographical location. This is where you can really micromanage ad deliveries to target audience from high conversion areas.

How to Define Location Radius in AdWords Campaign:

  1. Log into AdWords account, go to the "Campaigns" tab.
  2. Select the campaign you are working on.
  3. Click on the "Settings" tab
  4. From the "Locations" row, click on "Edit"
  5. Click "Advanced Search"
  6. Click on the "Radius Targeting" link at the top where the menu is located
  7. Enter an address or the coordinates of a location(s) into the search box
  8. Input the number of miles/kilometers for the radius from the location of your choice, and hit the search button
  9. Click "Add" and your location will turn blue in the AdWords map
  10. Click "Done" to complete

geolocation targeting google adword include location

Tip #3: Exclude Negative Keywords

Once in a while, you will get search terms that do not match the location indicated for your targeted ads. As a result, your advertising cost can go up because your ad was shown to the wrong audience. Clicks are wasted when this happens.

Run a "Search Terms Report" within AdWords to keep track keywords that are generating ineffective leads outside of your defined areas. Include these terms as negative keywords and omit them from your ad campaign.

How to Run a Search Terms Report

  1. Click on an active campaign
  2. Click the "Keywords" tab
  3. Click on "Search Terms" box

Within this report, you will see all the search terms that trigger your ads. Comb through the keywords carefully and look for words or phrases that do not match your specified location criteria. Add these irrelevant terms to the negative keyword list. This will stop your ad from showing up to the wrong audience.

For example, if you are a car dealership located near Walnut, California. You ad is triggering hits from people searching for "car dealerships in Walnut Creek." You may want to move "Walnut Creek" to the negative keyword list.

Tip #4: Exclude Low Performing Locations

Don't waste your money on locations that does not generate many results. Instead, focus on the location targeting ads that make the most conversions.

For example, if you are an e-commerce business, research your targeting demographics thoroughly based on average consumer income, buying powers, and demand. Exclude the locations in AdWords that does not fit your desired consumer profile.

How to exclude locations in AdWords Campaign

1. Log into AdWords account, go to the “Campaigns” tab
2. Select the campaign you are working on
3. Go to "Settings"
4. Scroll down to the "Locations" row and click on "Edit"
5. Select "Advanced Search"
6. Within the search box, enter the country, state, or city you wish to exclude
7. Choose "Exclude Link" (next to "Add Link"). The excluded locations will turn red on the AdWords map
8. Click "Done" to complete

043 02 geolocation targeting google adword exclude location

Tip #5: Conduct Periodic Market Research

Market trend research is a great start to optimizing location targeting ads. Save on advertising cost by allocating budget to win keywords with the most demand in high performing locations.

Google Trends is a great tool to research which locations have the most interest in your products or services. The tool will show you a breakdown of keywords searched by country, sub-region (state or province), metro, or city.

The best part of all, Google Trends is free to use.

Here is an example:

The image below illustrates the top U.S. states that are searching for the term "diamond rings" Louisiana, United States yields the most searches for "diamond rings".

geolocation targeting google trends

Tip #6: Adjust Bids According to Location

Burning through your entire budget on ad campaigns can happen faster than you think. Focus on high-conversion locations can free up marketing budget towards campaigns that really make money. Set your bids higher in locations with higher performance, and lower bids in less active areas. Remember, quality, not quantity of clicks converts sales.

In addition, utilize ad scheduling to target ads more aggressively when visitor traffic peaks. Automatically adjust bids on keywords during these peak hours to capture more market shares. Set the schedule to lower bids during off-peak hours to save on marketing money. This is a cost-effective way to stretch your marketing budget and target ads more precisely.

Perfecting Location Targeting Ads

Keep testing and monitoring locations for your ad campaigns to ensure optimal performance. Go one step further by making customized landing pages based on different regions. Tailor content based on locations for better user engagement. For more help, learn Adwords location targeting ads from Google Support.

Also See