AdWords gets better every year at helping your target a more relevant audience to show your ads. Location targeting is old news in the grand scheme of things, but we still see many campaigns running with this simple setting that can seriously screw up your geotargeting efforts.

So let’s put this one to bed and get your location targeting back on track shall we?


AdWords default settings bite back again

AdWords default settings are a funny thing: sometimes you have to ask yourself what Google is thinking when it chooses defaults (anterior motive perhaps?). Location targeting just so happens to be one of those baffling defaults – the kind that can hurt your campaign performance.

By default, location targeting shows ads to people not only in the area you select, but people who “show interest” in that place too. Which means people in New York searching about Manchester could potentially see your ads.

If that’s what you want from your location targeting, then fine. But we know this isn’t what many advertisers are expecting when they start with geotargeting. And here’s how to fix it.


AdWords location options (advanced)

All you need to do to make sure your location settings are setup the way you want is to click on your campaign, click the settings tab and you’ll see Locations second in the list:


Click on Location (options advanced) and you’ll see the setting you need drop down


By default, the Target option is set to People in, or who show interest in my targeted location. If this isn’t what you want, click Edit to the right of this setting and you’ll get the following options


The options are pretty self-explanatory, but the point is you’ll need to change this setting from the default if you only want to target people physically in the locations you’re targeting. You may also notice your exclusion settings are set to People in, or who show interest in my excluded location.

This is also the recommended setting by Google, but you can change this to only exclude people in the locations on your exclusion list.

And that’s how simple it is to stop Google screwing up your location targeting, once you’re aware the default needs changing in the first place. Sadly, it’s another example of how you need to be on top of AdWords’ default settings, because there are plenty of boobytraps that can kill your campaign performance – and you may never realise they’re even causing a problem.