We all know Google Ads is a powerful channel for driving more leads, sales and high-quality traffic. Then why does sometimes waste money without showing much return? There are many nuances to the system and both beginners and advanced users can easily pick the wrong settings.
One such pitfall is the location settings. Many have asked me why their Google Ads are Showing Outside of their targeted locations. I’ve written this post to answer just that question. I hope you find it useful.
You’ll find useful data about locations in two places. Google Ads and Google Analytics. Here’s how to view this report in each of the platforms.
You can view locations at the account, campaign and ad group levels. The locations tab is usually inside "+Show more".
Once you've navigated to the locations tab, you'll be served with the default view. These are the locations you've set your campaign to target. Here you can adjust bids, remove and add locations. Though useful, this view won't show you the locations where users were in when they viewed and clicked your ads. There is an option to switch to matched locations, but Google has very kindly changed matched locations so they don't actually show you where the click came from. Thanks, Google.
The only place where you can view user locations in Google Ads is in a custom report. Look for user location in the fields and add them to the report. I like to view costs and cost/conversion for each location to know when I should exclude certain locations.
I find it much easier to view Google Ad user locations in Analytics. There are several ways to do this. I prefer going through the source/medium report. Clicking on google/cpc. When you've clicked on Google/cpc you will only see traffic that's come from Google Ads. Then add a secondary dimension for country or city.
Google has 3 settings for locations. Most advertisers think they're going to only serve ads in the locations they picked but Google's default settings will serve the ads anywhere in the world, as long as the user showed interest in the location you've targetted. This means you might have a service that's only relevant for manchester, but your ad is also shown globally whenever the search has a reference to Manchester or any of its neighbourhoods.
To view and change your location settings choose a campaign, click the settings tab and expand your locations. Then click on location options to open your 3 options of targeting.
It's likely that you've been using Google's default location setting. This means your ads have been running outside the area that you intended to target. It's easy to fix this. I recommend that you check your traffic in one of the mentioned reports after changing the campaign settings. You should hopefully see 95% of your costs coming from locations that you're genuinely interested in targeting. I hope these steps save you money and increase conversions from Google Ads.
I'm a London based Google Ads consultant with over a decade of experience. I specialise in PPC for lead generation. I run paid campaigns for companies from different sectors and have a large base of clients in real estate. If you're looking to promote your business with Google Ads or if you're seeking some training, get in touch for expert PPC knowledge.
Founder - EffectiveMarketing.UK