AdWords Features: Location Options

Patrick Watson
Posted by Patrick Watson · December 11, 2017
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AdWords Features: Location Options

Posted by patw · December 11, 2017

Here at ROI·DNA, we are avid Google AdWords users and have spent a lot of time figuring out advanced settings and features so that you don’t have to. This is the first in a series of blogs about not-so-obvious AdWords features that, if used to their potential, can save you lots of money. This blog will focus in on one such feature—Location Options.

Most AdWords users are aware that there are several settings in AdWords that jump out at you right away and are hard to miss—i.e. budget, bids, language, etc. However, there are other settings that are not so obvious, yet can have a significant impact on your campaigns.

Lurking in the campaign settings menu is a feature that, depending on your goals, could be costing you money or limiting your reach. When creating your campaign and deciding what regions to target, there is an easily overlooked option within additional settings called Location Options.

Opening this up reveals the following:

Adwords Location Options

You can see that the top option, Target: People in, or who show interest in, your targeted locations, is automatically selected. Leaving this selected allows Google to show your ad outside of your target region if they determine the user is searching for or is interested in your target location. This means that Google can show your U.S.-targeted ad to, for example, Brazil, without you realizing it. Usually, the amount of traffic here is rather small and therefore easy to miss, but it can have a big impact depending on CPCs and budget constraints.

A fairly obvious reason you would want to uncheck this box is that you do not want to spend money in these areas, regardless of whether or not Google thinks the searcher is interested in your target location. We’ve seen that many new clients were wasting valuable ad spend in these regions with no return simply because this option is hidden away. If you have a strict budget, you probably don’t want to waste any spend targeting people outside of your region.

However, there are also cases for leaving your ads open to this targeting and not just cutting it off altogether. For example, when I was in college at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘em!), there was an extremely popular cookie delivery service (that I will not name unless they give me free cookies). Parents of Longhorn students from all over the world (but mostly different parts of Texas) would order these cookies for their students during finals. The popularity of these cookies grew and as one can imagine, imitators came into the mix (batter?). With increased competition, the need for a stronger SEM presence became more urgent. In this case, targeting Austin as well as people interested in and searching for Austin makes sense in order to get in front of out of town parents.

Other use cases include:

  • Companies that offer pre-booked tours
    • Example: Out of towners looking to pre-book Alcatraz tickets
  • Rental car services
  • Companies targeting multi-national clients

It’s important to evaluate your overall business and assess the usefulness of this setting on a case by case basis. You may find that the possible upside of leaving this checked can outweigh the spend that the areas outside of your target region accrue, or you may choose to invest that money into your target region instead. An individual’s business goals will determine which is best.

What you do not want to do, however, is have this decision made for you by an auto-selection you were not aware was on. Questions on your AdWords campaign? We’re here to help!