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Adwords Matching Location Intent To Wrong Campaigns - Buggy

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 1
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆

So I've been managing multiple accounts for a few years now and I've experimented with all sorts of optimization techniques and account structures.  I'm seeing a troubling occurrence in more than once account I manage.  I brought this up to Adwords Support and they couldn't give me an answer why it was happening (it was an uphill battle, even with links to screen shots, making them even understand the issue!)


Here's an example of the issue.  


Campaign Seattle - Location targeting is INTENT ONLY, and Seattle, WA USA is the only location included.

Campaign Bellevue - Location targeting is INTENT ONLY, and Bellevue, WA USA is the only location included.


First scenario is Campaign Seattle has an Ad Group with "Bellevue" as part of the keyword.  Doing an Ad Preview with location set to a different city (location doesn't matter on intent campaigns anyway), the search "somekeyword in bellevue, wa" was matching to the Campaign SEATTLE intent - this is EVEN THOUGH, the Ad Preview Page states "Because your query included location terms, ads matching this location are shown: Bellevue, Washington, United States"  The keyword in the Seattle campaign it was matching two had the word 'Bellevue' in it.  (Yes, I know, it is odd to put a city name as a keyword in an intent campaign that is outside the location target for that campaign but that should not matter as far as the Campaign location target settings matching or not matching!)


If you look in the map view of the Campaign Seattle location settings, you can see (by temporarily adding Bellevue, WA) that there is no overlap in the two cities.  The Bellevue campaign has the same keyword and match type that the preview was showing as matching to the Seattle campaign.  So if the Ad Preview tool is confirming it is using Bellevue, WA as the location intent, for some reason, Adwords will still match it to a campaign that does not include that location, if there is a keyword in that campaign that matches that location (and it has a higher bid*quality score than the keyword in the campaign it SHOULD match to ONLY.) The only way I was able to solve the problem was to add Bellevue, WA as an EXCLUDED intent location in the Seattle Intent campaign, or, of course remove the keyword in the Seattle campaign with bellevue in it.  Very BIZARRE that Adwords is not truly honoring the location intent target settings in the campaigns BEFORE looking at the keyword level.



It would seem to me the first 'litmus test' for a match would be, if this is determined to be a location intent query, is the location within the campaign location targets?  If not, then ignore that Campaign.  Apparently there is an issue/bug with the intent matching unless for some reason, even though Bellevue and Seattle are two distinct cities, Adwords is fudging the location target a bit by considering that city "close enough" as long as the city name is in the query.  





Re: Adwords Matching Location Intent To Wrong Campaigns - Buggy

[ Edited ]
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 2
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆

I assume by "intent" you mean you're using the setting People searching for, or who show interest in your targeted location.


If that's the case, you brought up my first thought - it is odd to have a geo target of Seattle using the Advanced Location Above and have Bellevue in the keyword. In essence, you're saying - target people interested in Seattle who are (also) interested in Bellevue. So then Seattle & Bellevue battle against each other and Google needs to determine which weighs heavier. It would probably determine this with different factors like the actual search query, past searches, location, etc.


I dealt with some similar questions lately and you can find a useful discussion here about it:


One thing I learned is that adding the state seems to give more weight to the location intent. ("seattle wa coffee" vs "seattle coffee"). This can often be because the "seattle coffee" term looks more like a brand search and often can be the actual name of a business that may or may not even be in Seattle. But it seems you're already including the state abbreviation in your test searches.


The other thought is that Google lumps together certain locations like Seattle - Bellevue, Minneapolis-St. Paul, etc. and the bigger city may win out in some cases.


Why not just use the excluded location like you said? I've done that myself before to help location targeting do what I want? It seems you can't do that either because any of your searchers would be interested in both Seattle and Bellevue. So excluding either location should keep those searchers from seeing your ad.


Bottom line for me: I can't think of any reason I would ever use "Interested In' location targeting for one location and include another location in the keyword. I'm sure you have good reason though.

Adwords Matching Location Intent To Wrong Campaigns - Buggy

Badged Google Partner
# 3
Badged Google Partner

Location targeting is not perfect. If you try to rely on the location signals for targeting alone, it's never going to work the way you want it to. The best thing you can do is put all the Seattle specific terms in the Seattle campaign targeted to Seattle, and do the same for the Bellevue campaign. Restrict your targeting only to users in your targeted area, and see if you lose any impression volume do to more restricted targeting. If your volume remains consistent, then that's about as good as it's going to get.