How To Build Your Geo-Targeting Parameters In AdWords - Part I

For those marketers with a smartphone at their side at all times, you've undoubtedly noticed the deals start streaming into your device from apps and Google as you go about your daily business, even while running errands on the weekend. It might start as a suggestion or offer to provide more information about a business or restaurant near you as you shop, and build to a crescendo that sees one of your favorite apps send you a limited-time only coupon for use in a nearby store. This all happens as a result of geo-targeting, but how does that company and its app know where you are and when to target you? The simple answer is that the marketing gurus for that company set effective geo-targeting parameters for their ad campaigns, most likely using Google AdWords. So, how can you do the same?

Start with the Basics

Google AdWords allows you to geo-target numerous regions of the world, but the United States and Canada are set as the default for North American users. Now, you can certainly advertise to those wide regions if you wish, but you may find it more effective to narrow down your searches. If you're a bigger business looking for a wider reach, this might be enough. However, small business customers might want to get more specific.

Using Advanced Options for Locations

Right below the standard options of "All Countries and territories," "United States and Canada," and "United States," you'll find an option that says "Let Me Choose." For small businesses, this is the button you want to select and start setting specific geo-targeting parameters. When you click this option, you'll be presented a map with numerous tabs on the right side.

Start by entering either the city name and state or ZIP code you want to target with your ad campaigns. If you just enter a city name, such as Chicago, Illinois, it will offer you a number of enhanced options to target specific regions within Chicago based upon the number of ZIP codes in the area. You'll also notice that you can choose to add, exclude, include nearby, and even radius target areas.


Just as those first two words indicate, as you begin to narrow down the areas you want your ads to appear, you can opt to include certain ZIP codes in the area while excluding others. For example, you can target the ZIP codes in Chicago's north side, while excluding ZIP codes from the south side to target only the customers you hope to attract.

You can also select nearby areas to your chosen ZIP codes. Looking again at the Chicago example, you can expand to nearby ZIP codes and cities that comprise suburban Chicago and even out into rural areas (if you wish) covering northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. How far you reach is up to you.

Targeting Radius

Last but not least, you can use the radius targeting option to set parameters for how many miles around your chosen locations you want to target. Again you'll have the option to add, exclude, or search nearby as you set your targeting radius to ensure that your ad campaign is visual only in the areas you want it seen.

These are just some of the many geo-targeting tools that AdWords offers marketers. Stay tuned for our next post as we look at applying this to mobile and discus beacons and sensors in your Pay Per Call and other marketing campaigns.

In our next post, we're going to cover some advanced strategies for building Geo-Targeting parameters in your AdWords campaigns.

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