Best Methods for Google Ads Location Targeting

A Guide to Proper Location Targeting in Google Ads

One of the most important components of a winning Google Ads campaign is proper location targeting. One of the main reasons that Google Ads is such a powerful marketing tool is because it allows you to go on a map and physically draw a line around the exact area where you want your ads to show up. This concept was revolutionary when it first came out, and it remains one of the best marketing tools to this day.

When you’re structuring your location targeting in Google Ads, there are quite a few considerations on how to do so properly. Continue reading to learn more about how to properly structure location targeting for your Google Ads campaign.

How to Structure Your Location Targeting

Your options for location targeting, in descending order of general effectiveness, are: state, radius, city, zip code, and designated marketing area (DMA). Targeting each of these location ranges comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Targeting an entire state is very straightforward. You can simply set your Google Ads to target all locations within the boundaries of your state. For smaller states, this is usually the best option. However, if you’re trying to target a specific region of a larger state, proper location targeting is trickier.

The most effective way to target a particular area within a state is to go into your Google Ads interface, drop a pin on a map and program a certain-sized radius around that pin, whether you’re just trying to hit a couple of cities or an entire metro area. Radius targeting is usually both easier and more accurate to your desired service area than trying to go through city by city or targeting a specific zip code, which can actually be detrimental to your Google Ads campaign.

Many business owners mistakenly believe that targeting specific zip codes in Google Ads is most effective. The reality is that the geographic layout of zip codes is often an erratic patchwork. There may be cities in the far corners of your zip code that you don’t want to service or you may miss nearby cities that fall under another zip code. In metro areas where zip codes are small because of population density, it can be difficult for Google to properly match up users as being within the correct zip code.

If a business is interested in targeting particular zip codes with their Google Ads campaign, the best approach is usually to look at those zip codes on a map and create a radius that encompasses the vast majority of those zip codes, but isn’t as limiting as the patchwork structure in which zip codes tend to be laid out. Location targeting a particular radius like this often creates the best visibility for ads and the best ROI for your company.

It’s also usually best to avoid targeting DMAs with your Google Ads, because this can result in your ads being seen by users far beyond your desired service area. For example, the Minneapolis-St. Paul DMA region extends far into northern Minnesota. Targeting this DMA region will allow your ads to be seen by Google users who live hours north of the central metro area, likely far beyond the area you actually want to work in, which can result in your business getting many unwanted leads from beyond your service area.

Looking for Help with Location Targeting?

While there are a lot of different ways to target locations in Google Ads, targeting either an entire state or a radius will usually be most effective. Contact NorthWing Digital today if you have further questions about proper location targeting and how it can help your business get leads.

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