Understanding & Optimizing Google Location Targeting Settings

By Brad


General, PPC Management

Google Ads location targeting settings are not quite always as straightforward as they seem. If you choose to have your ads showing in the US, why do you see people from Germany, France, and Japan clicking on your ads? If you are only targeting Chicago, why do you have clicks from San Francisco?

Beyond the fact you might see out-of-region area clicks, the real question is: Are those clicks converting, and if not, how can I stop them?

We’ve put together a short video that will walk you through location settings as well as how to analyze some data to ensure you’re using the correct settings for your Google Ads account goals.

We hope you enjoy the video!

Here is the full transcript of the video:

0:00:00.0: Hi. Today we’re going to talk about Location Targeting and how to optimize some of these settings for locations. So, when you’re in a Google campaign, you can choose where you want to show your ads. Now, with the default settings, anyone who’s in the location or searches about the location can see the ads. So, this means if you target all of one country, someone from a different country could see your ads. If you are in one city and you provide a local service, you might only want to show your ads to people who are physically in that region. So, if we go to our location options, we have two of them. One is Presence or Interest In. These are people who are in the location or show interest in the location. So, for instance, if you’re a hotel and you’re based in Chicago, I’m based in Washington, DC, and I search for a Chicago hotel. I could see the ad because I showed an interest in the location, even if your targeting was only Chicago. Now, if your option is people in already in the location. Now, if you’re a hotel, you only target Chicago. I’m in DC. I search ‘Chicago hotel’, I can’t see it.

0:01:21.9: So often more people are traveling or looking for services outside a region. Presence or Interest In can be very useful. If you provide local services, then often you just want a presence, people in the location. You can also follow these same for Exclusions. Now, one of the issues we often see though, is you might be a national company targeting a country, and you don’t change any defaults, because you’re targeting everyone. Except, someone from outside the country, especially if you don’t deal with outside the country, can still see ads. So sometimes you want to switch these.

0:02:00.5: Now, if you’re bidding by manual CPC, enhanced CPC, then you can go into your Location Options, aggregate the data, and use Bid Modifiers by locations. If you’re targeting CPA or ROAS, you don’t have those options. So then, you only have an on-off switch. And then lastly, Google doesn’t have a report that shows you your data by location, although it is available in the API. So then one thing we often want to do is first aggregate data overall. Now, this is Adalysis. You can do this with Pivot Tables from Google Data. And we just want to see how we do by every location that had that initial aspect of other places where our cost per conversion is astronomically high compared to our best location options. And if so, we may need to make some adjustments.

0:03:00.1: In a case where you’re bidding manually, it’s easy to set bid adjustments. So, we could say, “What is our goal?” And then find what those suggestion bids should be and apply them. If you’re not using a system like Adalysis, you can still do this; it’s just a little more work in Excel. And then lastly, if you’re using a system that aggregates data via the API, you can see people in Target Location, and we could see that we have a 6-16 cost per conversion. Outside a location, we have $1000 cost per conversion. So, when you have large differences and those CPAs or that ROAS value, that’s often an indication that a lot of people outside of your region are not as interested in your ads as people in your region. And especially if you’re not hitting your target budgets now, it’s a good idea to remove the group that’s interested, and only to target the people in the location.

0:04:01.3: So next time you’re looking at your location data, it’s important to remember people with an interest in your targeted region may not be in the region whatsoever, could be a different country or another city or state in the same country where you’re just not targeting that region. Presence means people are in them. So as a top-level rule, if you’re a local service company, then you often want to use Presence. If you’re selling online or you’re a national, often you want to use Presence or Interest In. So next time you look at your target locations, often what we’re looking at is, if we’re a service-based company, we’re really local, we want to use Presence. If we’re a national company, we service everywhere; we could use Presence and just choose that country. If people come to us or search from outside of our natural regions, then we may want to use Presence or Interest In. Then next, what you often want to do is go to your locations, see how your aggregate data is doing so you can remove any regions that aren’t performing well.

0:05:08.6: Lastly, if you want everyone who’s sort of interested in your location to see it, but there are certain regions you just don’t want to show, then you can also use the Exclusions and ensure between your location data and your Exclusions that you’re only showing your ads to the proper group of individuals, and the bid modifiers ensure that you have the right bid set so that you get good conversions regardless of user location and that you’re meeting your ROAS and CPA goals.

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