Google AdWords Geographic Location Targeting

AdWords Geographic Locations Explained For Beginners

You’d think choosing the location would be easy. We’ll explain your AdWords audience targeting options and show you how to get it right, first time!

Probably the most important factor, other than your business’s goals in driving your AdWords decisions is choosing the right audience – your customer persona. You will base your keywords, marketing channels and landing page design off of what is best for your customers.

The more you understand the customer experience and behavior when interacting with your business, the better position you will be to make make improvements and increase conversions.

We put a lot of energy into thinking about the customer experience. Not only for you all but your customers as well. If you’d like to delve into this more, read this article where we explain how to discover and define your target audiences. Knowing who they are will make your AdWords experience WAY easier. Even when it comes to signing up for AdWords, you should know where in the world your customers are and who you want to be seeing your ad.

The Importance of Audiences in AdWords

The more you understand who will see your ad, the better you can customize the customer experience to maximize conversions. This is how you’ll get calls, downloads, emails, and purchases. Yay! You can have an ad with no presentation and conversions will likely be lower but don’t worry.We’ll get you on the right track. 

Start by researching where your customers live, work and spend their free time. This isn’t creepy, this is only market research. It’s actually very important! This is a highly valuable tool in marketing today. 

Finding Your Audience

Country, states, cities, postal codes, a certain distance from your business or maybe the whole world. You have free range of where you can locate your audience. When creating your AdWords account you have quite a few options, so tread carefully. If your business can only service those in your city or state then keep things close. Targeting places you cannot serve is just wasting your budget. If you are an international business that can globe-trot, then focus on areas that you believe your service will be most useful. For example if you are a technology company you may want to focus on areas that have high technology adoption rates, like many metropolitan areas.

By the way geographic targeting is set at the campaign level, not the ad group level. The default is often much wider than you need so please don’t forget to set the targeting for the campaign. 

Geographic selections you could choose from:

AdWords Geographic Location Targeting Options
AdWords Geographic Location Targeting Options
  • All Countries and territories
  • Your Country
  • Your Country and a country close to yours (Ex: U.S and Canada)
  • Let Me Choose- Where you can target or exclude a location.

Excluding a location is equally as powerful and specifying a location. This helps you avoid interactions from places that won’t provide you quality leads. This becomes very noticeable when you get into radius targeting and somewhere you don’t want sneaks into your circle. It can be easy thinking of “what ifs” in choosing locations, but be realistic and definite of where your customers are. Especially at first. When you are business with a physical location focus on your town or neighborhood to start. Im sure we all agree if there is a great option close by then we won’t travel further than necessary. You can always expand later.

Don’t stray too far from home though, especially if you’re a local main street business. Stay close to home first and then, when you’re confident you’ve got a profitable campaign, you can create a second campaign that expands to neighboring towns. This tactic ensures you’re not wasting your budget on low quality clicks.

Advanced AdWords Location Scouting

Once you get into the advanced options of locating your audience it can get exciting and a bit overwhelming. Not surprising since Google is known for their mapping skills. This is where you can select a certain radius around your business. You may even want to select certain locations specifically, which can go up to 1,000 locations. Don’t only make it a bucket list of places you want to visit!

AdWords Geographic Location Targeting Options


Where it can get rather interesting, pun intended, is location targeting by those who are searching for or show interest in your targeted location. Say you sell surfboards in various places around the world and you want to location target one of them, Hawaii. Since lots of people visiting want to surf and buy surfboards there all year round.  You could target people who are searching about surfing in Hawaii and they don’t have to reside in Hawaii. Pretty rad! You could even target those searching about Hawaii in general. Interest is determined by terms they used in their search or by content they have looked at related to the location. Not by the domain they are searching on. So if their domain is in Japan and they search for “surfboards in Hawaii” or on a website that sell surfboards in Hawaii your ad could be shown.

However, if you’re a local business, we recommend you restrict the location setting to only people in your targeted location. In our experience, this avoids some weird false positives that burn your budget. So if your target market are not tourists or those who commute to your targeted area we recommend targeting people within your location. If you are going by interest you will see more and more clicks that don’t apply to you. Makes things a lot simpler and a great place to start.

AdWords Geographic Location Targeting Options

Important Elements To Consider For Your AdWords Location Geo-targeting


There are a couple more things to be mindful of when you have locked on to your target:


Make sure your ads are appearing to people who can understand the language it is in. AdWords does not translate ads or keywords but you can target by language based on the searcher’s browser settings. Targeting Spanish or French speakers may be beneficial as a North American business. You do have the option to target all languages. But this can get very tricky depending on the words you choose in your ad. You will be better off creating separate campaigns for different languages.

Household Income Demographics

Also in the advanced setting of location targeting is grouping by household income. This is great if you want to focus in by this particular demographic in a region. So we are clear this is different from demographic targeting. Say your product is rather pricey, like luxury cars, and you want to focus on those who could potentially afford it a bit easier. 

Places of Interest

While looking at household income you may also notice, Places of Interest. This is a rather simple addition to a campaign if you want to focus in places of interest offered. Such as airports, shopping malls and universities. These are hubs for lots of people, so if you are nearby or apply to people there this would be a good option for you. If you are targeting airports you could be a hotel, rental car agency, or an activities company.

Monitor Your AdWords Reports

As you try out campaigns targeted for different locations you are going to make sure those targets are working well for you. So take a look at the User Location report, Geographic report and Distance report. Now this is only if you have had location targeting going for a while.

View in your Campaign > Settings > Locations > View Locations Report

  • User’s Location: Focus only where your customers are searching from.
  • Geographic: Their location as well as locations they have been interested in their searches or web pages viewed
  • Distance: This feature is if you are using the location extension, so you can find out how well your ads did by certain distances around your business. This could be a searchers physical location or by their interest.

Locate Your AdWords Audience Easily

After reading this you may feel like you just looked through a whole “Where Waldo?” book. Possibly a bit confused and forcing your eyes to refocus. Finding your location isn’t as tough as pinpointing Waldo – you just need to start thinking of where your best customers are located. It could be down the street or maybe in Hawaii, but remember to always start simple, and you can expand later.

You can have Teacup act as your AdWords satellite and make sure you’re getting the most out of your best suited locations. We are located around the world, so we understand the value of finding those who are important to you and your business.







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