May 22, 2018

Targeting Your Geographic Region in AdWords (7 AdWords Mistakes – #4)

7 Common AdWords mistakes that will kill your Quality Score and increase your costs.geo_targeted_world_small

Mistake #4 – Not Targeting Your Geographic Region.

In the last post we talked about using Negative Keywords and how to best utilise these to cut out on unwanted and un-targeted AdWords traffic. Pretty neat huh?

But there’s another fatal mistake that I’ve see all too often and this one can be even more costly in the long run – Geo-Targeting.

The PPC engine such as AdWords allow the advertiser to be very selective in where they want to show their ads, eg. which countries, cities, regions or languages to target.

Most common targeting that an advertiser would use would be the country level, i.e. Australia, and for an online business that does indeed ship products country wide, this probably makes sense.

However I’ve also seen, time and time again, US merchants targeting Australian ‘eyeballs’ with their ads, and after investigating realise they only ship within the US and Canada! I’m sure there are a few Australian merchants that have done the same and accidentally targeted the US and other English language countries without realising. Can be costly!

I’d like to take this a step further however, think about the current targeting for your campaigns, then think about your target market, delivery constraints, serviceable regions, etc…

Does your product or service really cater to everyone in the region your are currently targeting who search using your keywords? If it does then great, keep your geo-targeting broad, but if it doesn’t think again.

If you’re a small business that only services a specific region, then this is especially important. Rather than target your PPC ads to the whole country or state, perhaps you would be better off targeting your city, or even a region within that city. Sure this will vastly cut down on the impressions and clicks that your ads will potentially receive, but we’re after quality, not quantity in cases such as this so there is not point in wasting hard earned dollars on visitors  who will never buy your product or service.

Another interesting way to use Geo-targeting to your advantage is if you wish to have different ad text appear for different states. Lets pretend we’re a tourist resort in Queensland, Australia. While we may consider the entire country our target audience (and potentially international markets too), yet image the powerful messages we could create if we knew that a particular ad was only going to show to people searching from Melbourne.  Eg.

Great Noosa Holidays
Escape the Melbourne Rain in Noosa.
$1459 for 10 Days. Offer Ends Soon!

So how do you set up geo-targeting in AdWords?

Geo-targeting or Location Targeting is activated at a campaign level in your account and is set up via the Campaign Setting tab in AdWords.


If you wish to edit the location targeting for your campaign – select the ‘Edit’ link and you will see a map based box appear.


Have a play around, and be sure to leave a comment and let me know how you are going!


Mistake #1 – Too many keywords per ad group.

Mistake #2 – Not using negative keywords.

Mistake #3 – Sending All Clicks to Your Homepage.

Coming Soon:

Mistake #5 – Not monitoring bids at the keyword level.

Mistake #6 – Not using different keyword ‘Match Types’.

Mistake #7 – Not splitting out Campaigns to target Search and Content Network separately.


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About Leigh Hanney

Leigh Hanney is a marketing consultant helping companies optimise and execute digital marketing strategy and improve ROI.
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  1. Another great post thank you! As we sell globally this won’t apply to us much, but I look forward to your next post !

  2. Thanks acr.

  3. that adwords example in the post would be a good one for us.. hehe. Although we’d be cheaper than $1459.

  4. have heard that the IP accuracy is poor so targetting specific regions in adwords can be a bit hit & miss.

  5. There’s certainly a margin of error involved, but ultimately, if you are an advertiser who does wish to only target a market in a certain state/region/city then would you prefer to have a +/- 10% accuracy (guess – error margin depends on the level of targeting) or broadcast the message to the whole country and guarantee you’ll waste some clicks.

  6. You are right. A small degree of inaccuracy in targetting is better than not getting traffic.. worth the risk for sure.

  7. I’ve just read all the comments to date and I can now see a use for us to use the Geo settings. Thanks again !

  8. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  9. Thanks CNA – I’ll try!

  10. Who’s Dave?

  11. have heard that the IP accuracy is poor so targetting specific regions in adwords can be a bit hit & miss.

  12. Leigh,

    Thanks for a solid post. While I might be late in responding to this one, it’s still helped me. I’m in the process of doing some local keyword research using AdWords and I think that the rest of your series will help.



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