Location Targeting gets a makeover

Monday, October 31, 2011

Today, many businesses are using location targeting in their online ad campaigns to reach the right customers and improve campaign performance. Online agency iProspect, for example, uses location targeting to focus on top performing geographic areas for their client Talbots. As a result, they were able to lower their cost-per-click (CPC) by 36 percent, driving higher quality leads at a lower cost.

To provide an even better experience for our advertisers, we've connected the location targeting feature within AdWords to Google Maps. This will allow us to provide more information about locations, make relevant location suggestions, and improve the level of accuracy of our location targeting. We think these changes will make location targeting an even more useful tool for improving your campaign results.

Today we're announcing the first of these changes: a makeover to the location targeting interface within AdWords. The new Location Targeting Tool will make it easier to discover and obtain more detail on potential target locations.

Easily discover locations

Let's say that you want to target your latest AdWords campaign to New York City. On your Campaign Settings tab, as you type "New York" into the search box in the location targeting section, you'll instantly see helpful search suggestions. The suggestions include (1) matches like the city of New York, (2) locations that enclose New York (such as the state of New York), and (3) related locations that may be near the location that you've entered, have a similar name, or enclose a location that has a similar name. You can then pick the options that make the most sense for your business and quickly make the appropriate selection.

(click for full-size image)

You can also view your locations via a map, which shows more detailed location outlines. The new tool also allows you to view the boundaries of multiple locations that you've selected simultaneously, so you can see how much area the city of New York (smaller area shaded in blue) covers in relation to the entire New York metro area (larger area shaded in gray). Once you choose a location, you can easily add, exclude, or view nearby locations by clicking the appropriate links.

More detail on locations

We now offer reach numbers to help you estimate the audience within your selected target. These reach numbers are based on the number of users seen on Google properties and may differ significantly from census numbers. Reach should be used only as general guidance to help you determine the relative number of users in a location target compared to other locations. For example, you can see from the screenshot below that targeting the Dallas metro area could result in three times the reach of the city of Dallas.

Additionally, we will use the 'Limited reach' label to indicate locations where we may not be able to associate users with a selected location based on their devices' Internet Protocol (IP) address. In these instances, we will primarily be using user intent data rather than device location data to target these locations.

When you target a radius (also known as proximity targeting), we'll show 'Locations within this target' so you know exactly which areas are covered by your radius. You can also choose to 'Add all' of the individual locations within your radius.

Additional Changes

Beyond the new features mentioned above, here are a few more changes to be aware of when planning your campaign.

Increased location targeting limits: We've increased the location target limits from 300 to 10,000 locations (plus 500 additional proximity targets) per campaign.

Polygon targeting migration: For existing polygon targets, you will see a 'feature removal planned' badge which will signify that we will continue to support this feature through the end of the year. We recommend using the Target a radius feature which now allows you to selectively add locations within your radius target.  You can also run a geographic performance report to get an idea of which locations received traffic within your custom shapes and target those individual locations.

We hope you enjoy the new Location Targeting Tool and explore ways to use geographic reports and location targeting to optimize your campaigns. As always, we welcome your feedback through the Contact Us link in AdWords and we encourage you to review our FAQs through the AdWords Help Center for more details.

Posted by Smita Hashim, Group Product Manager, Local Ads Quality

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