As previously announced, you can now target 5-digit U.S. ZIP codes in AdWords campaigns on Google Search and Display networks. ZIP code targeting can help you reach the same audiences as your direct mail campaigns, target specific service areas, reach more profitable customers, or optimize national campaigns at a more local level.

To help you make the most of ZIP code targeting, here are a few best practices covering ZIP code campaign setup, selection, bulk uploads, and reporting. You can also sign up now for our June 12th webinar on how to increase online and offline sales with ZIP code targeting.

Campaign Setup
Based on feedback from early adopters, we recommend that you get started by supplementing your national or regional campaigns with a separate local campaign, so you can optimize bids, budgets and creatives at a ZIP code level while maintaining your reach and volume with the more broadly targeted campaign. This supplemental campaign can be implemented by targeting specific ZIP codes of interest to you.

Jef Hall, Paid Search Manager at Sterling Commerce Group, a telecommunications reseller company, shares his strategy for using ZIP code targeting. “We use ZIP codes to better target our service areas. Our first approach is to create supplemental campaigns that target ZIP codes in areas that we sell to,” said Jef. “We also are testing a different method by targeting broadly at the state level and excluding the ZIP codes for areas we don’t sell to. After testing, we’ll go with the method that performs best according to the lead volume of the area, and the cost per lead metrics that we track.”

Selecting ZIP Codes
To implement your strategy, go to your campaign Settings tab in AdWords. Then simply begin typing a ZIP code to view its estimated reach and to add or exclude it as one of your targeted locations.

Alternatively, when selecting your locations, click the Nearby link to view a map and nearby locations which can be filtered by metro, city, or postal code.

If we are not able to associate people with a selected geographic location by their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, we’ll show a Limited reach badge next to the location name. This location will still receive traffic from searches with a specific location mentioned in the query and from users with high-end mobile devices that have enabled the "My location" feature.

If many of the ZIP codes you target have limited reach, consider setting up ZIP code targeting via a supplemental campaign that complements existing campaign targeting more broadly at a city, metro, or state level. That way you maintain your desired reach while bidding more aggressively and customizing campaigns for specific ZIP codes.

Bulk Uploads
With over 30,000 US ZIP codes available for you to target, we want to make the location targeting selection process fast and easy when you’re targeting a lot of ZIP codes.

In the AdWords location targeting tool, you’ll see a new tab called, “Bulk locations.” You’ll be able to enter up to 1,000 locations in a single country at a time. After copying and pasting your list of ZIP codes, click the Search button and review the matched results below before adding them to your campaign. If you’ve ever had to split up campaigns because of location target limits, you’ll be happy to know that we recently raised the location target limits from 300 to 10,000 locations per campaign.

To see how your campaigns are performing at a granular level, ZIP codes now appear in the “Most specific location” column in your AdWords geographic performance reports. This is an excellent way to identify your top and your low performing ZIP codes and make campaign optimization adjustments accordingly.

We’re eager to hear about your experience getting local with ZIP code targeting, so share your story here. In addition to our June 12th webinar, you you can also find out more about postal code targeting, the bulk locations feature, and geographic reports in our help center. ZIP Codes are already available in the AdWords API as a beta feature and will be included in the next release of AdWords Editor.

Posted by Aileen Tang, Senior Product Manager