Can You Target Google AdWords by Location?

Google AdWords is perhaps one of the most effective tools for growing a business. If you know how to use it correctly, then you can expand your reach, drive qualified traffic and leads to your website, and gain a significant return on your investment.

Not only that AdWords enables you to target people searching for the products or services that your business offers, but you can also customize your advertising campaign to meet your marketing and growth needs. But, while most people focus on identifying the best keywords, creating an engaging copy, tweaking their CTAs, and optimizing their landing pages, most of them seem to ignore one of the elements that make Google AdWords such a fantastic tool: geo-targeting.

Here’s the thing: one of the basics of a successful campaign is making your ads relevant to local searches. It may seem like obvious advice, but you would be surprised to learn how many small business owners bypass this vital step just because they find location targeting confusing and difficult.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. In this article, we’re going to look at the basics of geo-targeting and teach you a few strategies you could use to optimize advertising performance.

You may also be interested in Can Google AdWords Be Profitable?

Location Targeting 101

Google looks at a user’s IP, country domain, and device location to determine when to display ads that are relevant to their specific query. But, there are instances when Google can also show an ad based on interest. For example, if someone is showing interest in a location although they are not physically there, Google will display ads related to the search query.

Imagine that you are planning a trip to Rome and are looking for the best hotels. Even though you are not physically located in Rome, Google will show you ads that it believes are relevant to your needs and interests.

The same stays true if users are searching on Google Maps or using country-specific domain names, such as .it, .fr,, and so on.

  • How to Set up Location Bidding

Open AdWords, go to the Settings tab in your selected location targeting campaign and then click edit. Enter the name of the area you want to target (you can also enter the zip code or the city name, but don’t forget to specify the country as well).  Click add and save.

  • How to Set Geographical Targeting for Multiple Locations

Select your campaign and then click on “Keywords and Targeting.” Select Location and click on “Make multiple changes,” then select “Use selected destinations” under the “Destination” menu. Type your locations and click process. Click continue, then finish and review changes before saving them.

  • How to Determine the Performance of Your Ads

If you’re already running an ad campaign and you want to see where your ads are shown and how they are performing, then go to the Settings tab and click on Locations. Select “View location reports” from below the graph and then click on “Where your users were.” Choose “Select View” from the drop-down menu to filter by location category (country, city, etc.).

More often than not, you will notice that some geographical locations are performing better than others. Evidently, you would want to seize the opportunity and increase spending in the locations that generate high ROI.

That’s what we would be talking next.

 3 Key Geo-Targeting Strategies

Now that you have a better understanding of location targeting, let’s dive a bit deeper and learn how to maximize your performance and ROI.

  • Don’t Be Afraid to Exclude Certain Locations

One of the great things about AdWords is that it allows you to exclude specific locations from your advertising campaign. For example, if you have a retail chain that sells electronics in Brooklyn and Queens, but not in Manhattan, then there’s no reason to advertise your business to prospects in that area. Or, if you notice that a location is not performing as expected, then you could exclude it from your campaign and limit your spending. 

  • Don’t Ignore Bid Adjustment

Another excellent way to optimize your ad campaign performance and take control of your budget is to adjust bids by location.

There’s a catch to this strategy, though. In some cases, it can be helpful to increase your budget for high performing segments and limit spending for the areas that are underperforming. But this approach doesn’t tell you anything about why some people are converting while others ignore your ads altogether. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with paying for easy and quick leads, but if you’re playing for the long run, then you need to take a close look at why certain locations don’t generate the same results.

If an underperforming segment has a low search results’ position, then you may need to perform a positive bid adjustment to increase the ad rank. Of course, this action will increase short-term costs, but it’s the best way to gather accurate data and understand what’s happening.

If there is still a major difference in conversion even after you’ve boosted the ad rank, then it would be a good idea to shift your budget back to the high performing locations. 

  • Get Savvy with Location Targeting

AdWords lets you target areas with intense business activity, such as corporate office parks or suburban malls. Take advantage of these targeting settings and couple them with your basic location targeting options to boost your revenues.


Targeting your ads by location can prove to be a very fruitful endeavour. Of course, we’ve only covered the basics in this article, as geo-targeting is a complex topic that includes a variety of strategies. For instance, you could also target prospects by income, language or even local weather. Also, if your audience is always on-the-go, then it would be an excellent idea to target with a mobile focus.

The options, as you can see, are abundant, and location targeting can often feel overwhelming. But, just because you are afraid that you may sabotage your campaign, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should ignore this option altogether. Get in touch with the experts at Australian Internet Advertising, and they can help you with all your Google AdWords needs. That way you can have peace of mind that your advertising needs are in good hands.