Rob Laver
Rob Laver Senior PPC Manager

Important change to location targeting within Google Ads

Rob Laver
Rob Laver Senior PPC Manager

There have been several Google Ads announcements recently, most coming out of the Google Marketing Live event in May. But one change that has gone under the radar somewhat is an amendment to location targeting.

Historically, there have been 3 options:

  1. Target people in, or show interest in, your targeted locations. This is the broadest type, and therefore what Google recommends, naturally
  2. Then there is the option to include people who are searching for your targeted location, which is a useful choice for campaigns where users are likely to travel for the product or service you’re offering
  3. Finally, you had the choice to advertise only to users who are based in your target location (should be the default option in our opinion, but we won’t get into that now)

The recent change affects the third option, because that has now evolved into targeting people in, or regularly in, your targeted locations. That subtle difference means that Google is now advertising to a portion of people based on how frequently they visit your area of choice. The change is already visible across all accounts, as seen below:

So, how is this likely to impact your campaign? It’s difficult to say for sure given there’s been no official word from Google on the amendment, but there are certain benefits and drawbacks that immediately spring to mind. If, for example your product or service is applicable to commuters, then this could be really positive news. By contrast, if you are trying to drive footfall into shops at the weekend, then the chances are that those commuters are not going to be heading your way at the right time.

It all comes down to what metrics and options are available in the future to analyse and optimise the changes. If the parameters of what makes a person qualify as ‘frequently visiting’ are too loose, then you could see impressions and spends increase for city based campaigns in particular. Do you need to consider what schedule your adverts run on more carefully, or how specific to make your location targeting in the first place (i.e. down to a postcode level)?

Our advice at this stage is not to do anything until the data starts to point you in a particular direction. If things remain as you expect, then chances are this change doesn’t impact you and your chosen location too significantly. Ultimately it will be difficult to know what fluctuating statistics for particular campaigns are actually down to if you start making too many amendments immediately.

As always with Google, it’s never straightforward, but as long as you are aware of what to look out for, you remain one step ahead of many other businesses.

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