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June 12, 2019

Google Ads Location Targeting Settings are Changing

by Harry Phillips

As we all know, Google loves making changes.

If we had £1 for every time Google changed something we formerly enjoyed using, we would most likely have enough money to get a return flight over to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Upon our arrival, we would kindly ask Larry Page and Sergey Brin to bring back the former Google Ads interface (R.I.P AdWords).

Embracing change is something we pride ourselves for at This Digital, however, there is a line.

Google Ads location targeting options are now broader

In the latest update, Google has made the location targeting available in Search, Shopping and Display campaigns broader.

What’s changed? The previous option was to target “People in your targeted locations”. This has now been replaced, with the option to target “People in or regularly in your targeted locations”.

Source: About advanced location options, Google

Using the previous targeting option would only show your adverts to people who were physically in your targeted location.

This option has been vital to making sure your adverts don’t end up showing in random locations around the world.

When we perform a PPC audit, one of the most common optimisations we make to new accounts is ensuring that the Google Ads location targeting options are correct – it’s easy to implement and very effective.

Now, this setting is gone.

What is the new location option?

The new option to target “People in or regularly in your targeted locations” has been rolled out to allow advertisers to not only target people who are physically in your targeted location but also to people that are regularly in it.

In theory, it’s a great idea.

Maybe you searched for a product in work, but later that day you go home (which is 15 miles away), you might not be in the targeted location anymore meaning you won’t see the relevant adverts.

So, for advertisers, it will allow us to target people that commute back and forth or frequently visit our targeted location meaning we can show adverts to them at work and at home. Winner!

What’s the catch? Ah yes, the catch. It’s pretty clear that this new targeting option will genuinely help some advertisers reach the right users, but, there are a few things which raise our eyebrows.

Things to keep in mind

Google kindly left out the criteria which would qualify a user that “regularly” visits our targeted locations. This is pretty important for advertisers to know.

What is the window? Once a day? Once a week? Surely not… once a month?

At the point of writing this, there is no segmenting option to show advertisers the performance between users that are “people in” vs. “regularly in, but not currently in”.

Seeing this metric would be great, and would really benefit advertisers – hopefully, this is in the pipeline.

One part of me wants to believe that the broadening of this option has been done to truly help both users and advertisers.

Although, the other side of us, thinks this change may be another step closer to losing more and more control over our accounts.

What we want from Google Ads

In an ideal world, it would be amazing to have the option.

Some advertisers will only want to show ads to users that are physically in their targeted locations.

Having the option would let us test the new against the previous option, and actually, make the decision for ourselves.

Is that asking too much?

Written by Harry Phillips
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