Many of you use location targeting to show your ads in specific geographic locations such as countries, regions, and cities to more precisely reach your potential customers.

We’ve heard your requests to have more choice over how to reach your potential customers. Beginning today, you can choose to target or exclude your ads based on the user’s physical location or the location of interest (for example, the location-specific terms in their search queries). By physical location, we mean the place where the user is actually located, such as “New York City,” instead of the location that’s included in the search query, such as “restaurants in New York”. In addition, we’ve modified the default setting for locations that you don’t want to reach and made it more in line with your requests.

Because the use of advanced location options will limit your ad exposure, we recommend that you use these location targeting settings only when your advertising goals specifically call for more granular controls.

Here are a couple scenarios to illustrate the new targeting and exclusion methods:
  • Targeting method: Target using physical location
    Let’s say you run a furniture store in Chicago and you want to advertise only to people located near your store. With the existing location targeting in AdWords, you can only specify the location you wish to target, Chicago. However, your ad might be shown not only to people in Chicago, but also to people elsewhere in the US whose searches include one of your keywords along with the word “Chicago”.

    With the new settings, you can now target Chicago “using physical location” only. As a result, the ad will only be shown to users based in Chicago who search for keywords that are part of the campaign. Someone in, say, Milwaukee who searches for “chicago furniture stores” will not see your ad. Similarly, someone who’s in Chicago whose search indicated they’re interested in a different region will not see your ad. For example, a Chicago-based user searching for “pennsylvania amish furniture” will not see your ad. This is the case even if your campaign includes that exact keyword.

  • Exclusion method: Exclude by physical location and search intent
    This time, let’s assume that you run a vacation rental company and are advertising properties in California, and you don’t want to advertise to people who are based in Florida or interested in Florida properties. You can opt for a more restrictive exclusion method by choosing “exclude by physical location and search intent,” as shown below. As a result, your ads won't be shown to people based in Florida or to those who include a Florida location in their search queries.

And, here’s how the new default behavior of excluded locations will work:
  • If you happen to own a restaurant in New York City, you may want to advertise special deals only to people planning a visit to the city but not to those who live there. Previously, if you excluded New York City from location targeting in AdWords, your ads wouldn’t be shown to people in the city nor to those searching for places in New York. With the new default settings, your ads won't be shown to people who are in the city, but people outside the city can see these ads if they specify “New York City” in their search queries.

With these changes, we’re excited to provide you with more control over how you reach your potential customers. If you'd like to learn more about the new location targeting features, please visit the Help Center.

Posted by Lisa Shieh, Inside AdWords crew