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How does Analytics determine locations?

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 1
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆



I've recently launched an AdWords Search campaign targeting the US and have found that the majority (90%) of clicks are those with US as location of interest instead of physical location. Because AdWords doesn't reveal the physical locations of the users labeled as location of interests, I would assume that I could cross-check the physical locations by identifying the locations of the sessions originated from the same campaign in GA.


However, GA reports that the highest number of sessions are still from the US, so I'm a little bit confused why AdWords reports the clicks as location of interest (assuming that GA identifies the locations based on IP address, which would mean physical location).


Can anyone help me with this?



1 Expert replyverified_user

How does Analytics determine locations?

Participant ✭ ✭ ☆
# 2
Participant ✭ ✭ ☆

Hi Khairil,

Location of Interest will not include people physically there. I think in advanced location targeting options you have selected "People in, searching for, or who show interest in your targeted location".


Need to select 

  • People in your targeted location

Your issue will resolved.


"For Location of Interest, Google have a few methods to determine what will count as an "interest". Some of them are: People can show interest through terms used in their searches, if they were recently in a location, content that they view related to the location (pages or sites),  if they select the location in their Google search settings or if they have set their home location in Google Maps somewhere inside of your targeted location."


Hope this helps.



Re: How does Analytics determine locations?

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 3
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆

Thanks for your response. I understand that the physical locations won't be
shown, hence why I was cross checking the locations on Google Analytics,
specifically sessions that originated from my AdWords campaign (my AdWords
acct is linked up to the GA acct). However, the location specified in GA
for the majority of the sessions from my AdWords campaign still show up as
United States, which I assume is identified through physical IP address.

What I'm seeking clarification for is how does GA identify the locations of
the users? If it's based on IP addresses, which are physical locations,
then what it means to my data is that the majority of the clicks from the
AdWords campaign should've been US as physical location as well.

Hairi Azizan
T +6 03 2856 0805 M +6011 234 03480 E
Althea Inc. |

How does Analytics determine locations?

Participant ✭ ✭ ☆
# 4
Participant ✭ ✭ ☆


I can tell you only that Google Analytics determines locations from a visitor’s IP addresses and where internet service providers assign those ranges.



How does Analytics determine locations?

Follower ✭ ☆ ☆
# 5
Follower ✭ ☆ ☆

Hi Santosh,


Thanks for your feedback.


Understood, so GA recognizes the sessions based on the IP addresses, hence physical locations. Rather odd that the data on my AdWords campaign report otherwise, in that it says that they are of locations of interest instead of physical location.


Any idea why this would be the case?

How does Analytics determine locations?

Rising Star
# 6
Rising Star

You can also see the physical location of your clicks in AdWords.  By clicking on the Dimensions tab and selecting View:Geographic, you can see if the clicks were based on location of interest or physical location.

 To see the physical location of all your clicks, click on the campaign tab and select a campaign of interest. go to Targeting, and select Locations.  Next, click on the tab "View location reports" - you can choose either what triggered your ad or where your users were.

You can read more about how AdWords determines location here:

Google Analytics determines locations independently and bases it ONLY on IP Address - see

Director of Marketing | Nehmedia | Partner Profile