AdWords recently updated their advanced location targeting settings to provide more control over location targeting. It no longer gives you the option to target based on “search intent” but instead gives you the option to target “people searching for or viewing pages” about your targeted location. Here is a screenshot of the settings before the change:
And here is a screenshot of the settings today:
Before, if you wanted to set up a geo-targeted campaign that only reached people in a specific area, you would have chosen “target using physical location.” This setting however had some limitations. It wouldn’t show your ad to people in your target area if their search query included something related to a different location outside your target. For example, before this change if you had a campaign targeting Portland, and someone in Portland searched one of your phrase match keywords with “san francisco” appended to it, your ad wouldn’t be shown. But now if you choose to target “People in my targeted location,” your ads will be shown without exception.
Google provided a great example on their blog of how an airline using AdWords could benefit from these new settings. They explained how an airline trying to reach customers in Atlanta could use these settings to now show ads for the search query “flights to Hawaii” and provide extremely targeted ad copy with a headline such as “Fly Atlanta to Hawaii” or other geo-specific text.
A similar change was made to the AdWords exclusion method. We’ve learned that this new setting allows us to act quickly if an opportunity for a geo-targeted campaign arises. We can create a new campaign using the same keywords in an existing campaign and simply add the new geo-targeted location as an excluded location to the original campaign. Before the change, search queries including your excluded location would still impress your ad. Now it will exclude people searching in your excluded location and those outside of it using the location name in the query. One other tip is to add the location name as a negative keyword to your original campaign.
With these new settings now in place, it’s a good idea to review your current inventory of keywords to see if you have any location terms that could impact your account. You may even discover an opportunity for a new geo-targeted campaign.