AdWords is now Google Ads. Our new name reflects the full range of advertising options we offer across Search, Display, YouTube, and more. Learn more

Ads
1.7K members online now
1.7K members online now
Get started with Google Ads - learn the basics to get set up for success
Guide Me
star_border
Reply

Location Targeting Does Not Work

[ Edited ]
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 1
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆

Last me first preface by saying I'm an Adwords Certified Partner for 4 year, and have managed about 10 accounts.  I just created a new account for a new business and have run into an issue I've never seen happen before.

 

I create several campaigns all with targeting of Location Intent Only, including a major city and it's surrounding cities.  12 hours later all ads were approved, and I also verified with support the Account was approved.  Yet I couldn't get any ads to come up in the Preview tool no matter what I tried, no matter what city name I included in the search.  It was giving the dreaded "this can happen for a number of reasons" error - so you don't know the cause of the ad not showing.

 

So I contacted support of course and they did not have a definitive answer and recommended I wait at least 24 hours and check back.

 

So hear I am, 6 days later!  I've since contacted support twice.  Both times, support rep said everything is set up right and ad should be showing for the test searches I was running so they are "escalating the issue to your rep."   That was 3 days ago.

 

So I decided to start playing around with my Campaign settings and changed one of them to also target the user's geographic location.  Waalaa, the ads started appearing.  However they still weren't matching on location intent.  And I'm talking keywords like "wedding photography service" for location intent Seattle, WA:  Example:  seattle wedding photography service.  This is not an obscure keyword phrase or obscure city target!

 

I set the bids even to twice what the top of page recommendation was!  Still, nothing will come up for location intent matching in any campaigns, any cities, any keywords.    No keyword issues such as "Low Search Volume" or "Bid Too Low for First Page."  All ads are approved.  I even quadrupled the budget just to rule out a budgeting issue.

 

Preview tool confirms "Because your query included location terms, ads matching this location are shown: Seattle, Washington, United States"  Location Target of Campaign = Seattle, WA, USA. 

 

So I don't expect to get resolution here as what else can I do?  BUT, I AM curious if anyone seasoned Adwords people out there have ever run into a similar issue where for an extended period, the location intent matching for an entire account just plain didn't work?

 

At this point, I'm thinking for the time being I'll just have to build Ad Groups with keywords with all the city names in them.   In fact I did one as an experiment "seattle wedding photography" and it works but the Location Intent Campaign for the same query still doesn't match.

 

Bizarre.

 

 
 
3 Expert replyverified_user

Location Targeting Does Not Work

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hello;

By saying "location intent" I understand that you included the city / location as part of the keyword.

This is redundancy that could cause  the conflict you have experienced. The system is sophisticated enough to recognize a location  in the search query and match it to the location targeting setting at the campaign level. Adding the location  (especially big cities) as a word within the keyword is a redundancy and could end in a conflict (as you experienced).

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Location Targeting Does Not Work

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 3
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆

Nah, you misunderstood.  None of my keywords have city names in it.  It's not necessary as you point out, when the Campaign is set to location intent including the area of all the cities.  My point it, after 5 days, not one impression. Not one successful view using ad preview tool and a few dozen different tests.  It has stumped support so far.

 

The campaigns with keywords with city names in it was just created in the last hour or so as an experiment to see if it was the entire account having issues, seeing it had 0 impressions total for everything.  If I pause those campaigns, it goes back to no ad previews.

 

I'm a long time Adwords person as I know you are too Moshe.  This is so bizarre, like nothing I've ever seen in several years doing this, I'd even give you access to the account so you can say "whoa, how is that possible?"

 

Location Targeting Does Not Work

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

Hi Jeff,

 

I would include location names in the keywords. It will give you better control and easier reporting. The majority of your conversions will come from the major city name and a few suburbs. 

 

I have managed hundreds of accounts where a city name is a powerful indicator of purchase intent, and I've never relied on location intent x generic keywords. 

 

Location Targeting Does Not Work

Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

Hi @jeff c,

 

I have seen odd actions with advanced location targeting... but not identical to your situation. Generally speaking, once the default setting is changed, a mixed bag can happen. Sometimes simply changing the setting back to default and then back to "reach people in your targeted location" will bring about action. Sometimes adding in radius targeting will affect change for the better, too. 

 

When you dig into the dimensions tab, what does it show for Geographic, Users Locations and Distance? This could help you understand more about the odd behavior or verify something more to review/adjust.  

 

Kind Regards,

 

James

____________________________________________________________
Google My Business & Google Ads Top Contributor
Google Partner | GYBO Agency | Local Guide | My Profile


 


 


 

Location Targeting Does Not Work

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

My view is different than Rob's. (And this is also Google's best practice). Adding a  location extension as part of the keyword is a redundancy

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer’

Location Targeting Does Not Work

[ Edited ]
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 7
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆

Well here is the answer I got from Google and I am amazed I was not aware this:

 

"... when someone searches for Seattle Wedding Photography, the keyword [wedding photography] will not trigger in your Campaign with Seattle as a location intent target as it is set to exact match and any extra word or phrase other than they keyword will prevent it from triggering for that search query, even though the search is favorable for your location targeting."

 

WOW.  So essentially an exact match in a location intent campaign will not match if the search includes they location name.  Are you kidding me?  I guess then it will only display on a local directory or search engine for some partner site, or maybe the "nearby" search on Google Maps, where the location was already set to Seattle.

 

I guess I never really realized this because on all my accounts I segment exact match into a campaign and phrase/broad into another.  This is a low budget job so I initially I did only exact match  and tried to follow Google "Best" Practice not using the location name in the actual keyword and just using the search intent targeting.  

 

So essentially what they are telling me translates to Rob Skelton's technique were you use the location name in your keywords.  I've tried to compare that to location intent targeting but never collected enough data to make any conclusive observations. The thing I like about not using location intent targeting and just putting the location names in the keyword is then you can also constrain it by physical location.  I've found that conversion on location intent goes down with physical proximity also.  So for example there's better conversion with a user on the west coast than the east coast.  Unfortunately that's always been a hole in the campaign settings in Adwords in my opinion in that you can say, do location intent targeting for these locations but only for users in these locations.  You would have to do a very cumbersome physical location exclusion list in most cases.

 

Anyway at least the mystery is solved.  I would imagine there are others that would be flabbergasted to discover a Seattle location intent campaign with keyword [wedding photography] doesn't match the keyword search "Seattle Wedding Photography"  Just crazy.  Google is leaving a lot of money on the table if that is indeed the case. 

Location Targeting Does Not Work

Top Contributor
# 8
Top Contributor

Say I am promoting a dentist is a small town called Town in a State called State. Here's a simplified version of what I often do.

 

Statewide campaign

 

+town +dentist

"town dentist"

[town dentist]

(... own ad groups or same ad group, depending on your personal preference)

 

Radius Campaign (x miles around town)

 

+dentist

[dentist]

 

Both set to "users in this location only"

 

Interstate people are unlikely to make appointments. Local people are covered whether they use the town name or not. People from further away are covered if they do use the town name in their query.

 

 

Location Targeting Does Not Work

[ Edited ]
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 9
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆

Only problem is with your radius campaign, they could type "other town dentist" if say they were searching while at home within your radius, but wanted to locate a dentist near their work that was outside your radius.

 

When I've done your technique before I downloaded the top 250 cities by population in the United States, removed my target cities, and added that to the negative keyword list as I was seeing in the search term report people searching with location intent in other cities but because my campaign setting was physical location, and my target city wasn't in the keyword match like in your radius campaign, I was getting impressions and clicks for the wrong cities.

 

This can also be mostly remedied by putting your target location name in the ad headline but that's not always feasible.

 

The other issue with this technique is that you will miss some impressions from searches with location context that isn't in the search term itself.  An example would be if you have a user in San Francisco who is moving to Seattle and since most good dentists the appointment times can be weeks or months out, they want to get an appointment before they actually move.  So searching from San Francisco, they bring up Google Maps for Seattle and zero in on the area they want to find dentists and do a search.  If you have location intent targeting, you have the possibility of your ad showing in the local 3 pack for that area but not if you only have user location targeting as they are in San Francisco, and they aren't including the word "Seattle" in their search term.

 

I always wished you could get the actual URL of all search partner click-thrus as I'm pretty sure there are other "directory" websites that have a location setting that are search partners with Google that would also apply in this type of scenario, sort of like a Yelp type site where you set your location but you don't type the location name in your search term.  These would also match for location intent if the user location is outside the intent area.

 

But I must admit, you aren't leaving a whole lot of clicks "on the table" doing it that way but there are gaps.