Ads for Local Businesses – How to Make Dynamic, Low Cost and High Traffic Ads with Localization in Adwords

Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins

CEO - Shout Agency
[email protected]

Unless you are a global FMCG behemoth like the Coca Cola Company, you probably don’t need every single person on the face of the earth to see your online ads. It’s far more likely that the product you are selling is targeted to a specific demographic, neighborhood, city, state, country, group of countries or other specific geographical region. This is where Google Ads localization is invaluable.

It’s a feature on Google Ads allowing you to target your pay-per-click (PPC) ads to a certain location or group of locations. Ad localization is especially useful for brick-and-mortar businesses that depend on foot traffic such as restaurants and car dealerships but it also relevant for ecommerce sites that only serve certain jurisdictions. 

Since the cost of PPC ads depends on the clicks your ad receives, ad localization ensures you don’t waste your advertising budget by having people outside your target area clicking on your ads. Those who do click your ads will be those geographically qualified for your products and services. In other words, localization can help you greatly increase the efficiency of your PPC ad spend. So how do you do it?

Basic Setup

To localize your PPC ad, log into your Google Ads account, select the campaign you want to localize, go to Settings -> Locations and Languages -> Locations and click ‘Edit’ and then click the Search tab. Type your desired location and wait for it to appear on the drop-down menu showing relevant matches. You can geo-target by country, state/province, city, zip code and even specific installations such as airports. 

Google Ads will display a Reach for the location(s) you choose which is the estimated number of persons who could potentially see the advertisement. There are three options you can choose from per location—Add (to add the location to your ad target area), Exclude (to block your ad from showing up on devices in the specified area) and Nearby (display regions within proximity that you may want to add to your selection).

Advanced Settings

Go to the Radius tab, enter a location into the search box and choose a radius distance around your selected location. This is referred to as proximity targeting. You could for instance specify a radius of 25 miles around your sports goods store location to display your ads to customers searching for similar stores within the area.

Click the Bulk Locations tab and you can enter (or paste) as many as 1,000 locations at a go so as to add, remove or exclude them from your ad. The locations must however be within the same country.

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Managing Your Localized Ads

Go to Settings and click the Locations tab to see which geographical areas you are attracting the most traffic from. See the impressions, clicks and cost per click as it relates to each location. 

The Total – Other Locations row shows all traffic you’ve received from areas outside the locations you specified. Unfortunately, there won’t be details as to where exactly this traffic is mostly coming from. However, you can tweak your location specifications by adding and removing nearby locations. It’s unlikely that the traffic would consistently come from a place far away from the areas you initially chose.

Generate the Search Terms Report by going to the Campaigns tab then Keywords > Details > All. You’ll see what keywords people searched for to see your ads. If some of the keywords are from places outside your target market, add them as negative keywords to exclude them from triggering your ads going forward.

Best Practices

What we’ve discussed so far will give you an important foundation upon which you can base the localization of your PPC ads. To maximize your ad impact however, you can significantly benefit from the following best practices.

Go Where Your Customers Are

Choose locations in tandem with your pre-defined target market. If your product can only be shipped to people within your country of operation, target the entire country. If you only serve a certain state or city, choose that in your ad location and no more. The more specific you are, the less likely you will be to waste your PPC ads budget on clicks from people you will never sell to.

Exclusions as Important as Inclusions

It’s only natural that you’ll focus your efforts on specifying the locations you want your ads to appear in. However, exclusions are equally important. For example, if you ship to an entire country with the exception of 2 or 3 cities, you can list the cities as excluded so they don’t see your PPC ads. The combination of inclusions and exclusions helps you clearly demarcate a well-defined target audience.

Seek Insights on Your Customers

Use helpful tools such as Google Trends to identify which locations show the most interest in your product. Google Trends can show which city, metro, sub-region or country your chosen search keyword is most popular. This can serve as a guide in case you weren’t certain of where the bulk of your potential customers live.

Use Regional Terms in Keywords

If you run a used car dealership based in Baton Rouge, your keyword lists should include terms like baton rouge car dealership or car dealership baton rouge. This will be complementary to your existing geo-targeting efforts which already ensure that even if you use generic terms like used car dealership, your ads will only be displayed to people in and/or around Baton Rouge.

Localization is the Future

The importance of localizing Google Ads is only going to increase thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and therefore mobile internet browsing. The above is a useful guide that covers all the most important points you need to know to localize your PPC ads.

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