The 10 Levels of AdWords Geotargeting

by Robert Brady April 2nd, 2014 

One of the most basic settings for any PPC campaign is the geotargeting where you set the geographic area where you want to show your ads. Believe it or not, Google AdWords features 10 different levels of geotargeting.

  1. Country - Google has a presence in most countries of the world. This is the largest geotargeting setting.AdWords-Targeting-Country
  2. State - This works in the US as well as the equivalent in many other countries (ie prefectures in Japan, provinces in Canada, cantons in Switzerland, etc.)AdWords-Targeting-State
  3. County - Keep in mind that as you target more specific areas, the audience size shrinks.AdWords-Targeting-County
  4. Nielsen DMA Regions - These are basically the TV media markets around large cities. Pictured below is the Los Angeles CMAAdWords-Targeting-DMA
  5. City - This is strictly based on the incorporated boundaries of the city. Notice that Los Angeles the city is smaller than Los Angeles county or the Los Angeles DMA.AdWords-Targeting-City
  6. Zip Code - Not just the US. Includes Canada as well. The example below is for 91007, which is part, but not all of the city of Arcadia, CA.AdWords-Targeting-Zip-Code
  7. Radius Targeting - This is the best option for physical locations. You can put in your address and set a radius for how far you want to advertise. In the screenshot below I used the address of the very first In-N-Out in Baldwin Park and set a radius of 5 miles, figuring that's the farthest anyone would drive for an In-N-Out. Realistically it might be too big since other locations are within the radius.AdWords-Targeting-Radius
  8. Congressional District - This is obviously a US only targeting option, but is perfect for election years when candidates want to focus their advertising in their district.AdWords-Targeting-Congressional-District
  9. Airports - Want to target people that you know are traveling? This is the perfect option. Just keep in mind that some people are locals going elsewhere, some are travelers visiting your area and some will be just passing through.AdWords-Targeting-Airport
  10. Universities - Currently offered for Australia, Canada, France, Germany, UK, and U.S. advertising. This is a great option for the college demographic. AdWords-Targeting-University

All geotargeting settings are at the campaign level, so if you want to target areas independently you'll need to have separate campaigns for each area. Adding new geotargeted areas is one of the many ways to expand your account. However, to maximize the benefit I recommend using the most specific location possible in your ad copy so that users know you're more relevant to them than the competition.

Robert Brady

Robert Brady is the head PPC wizard at Righteous Marketing, a Google AdWords Certified Partner and Microsoft adExcellence Member. He manages PPC accounts for both small and large businesses and offers a PPC training program for the DIYer.

Righteous Marketing

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3 Responses to “The 10 Levels of AdWords Geotargeting”

  1. Luke says:

    I'm just starting to hear about targeting Universities. Pretty cool IMO.

    Have you ran any university focused campaigns and can speak to the effectiveness?

    I wonder if this will lead to more granular targeting like companies, malls, businesses, etc? Could almost get some decent demographic sets this way, almost like Facebook.

    • Robert Brady says:

      Luke – I'm still testing with it, but my theory is that they've just gotten really specific with the IP locations of universities. It's cool because universities do have a more narrow demographic profile. Sounds like a good idea for a follow-up post.

  2. Aahna says:

    Hi Robert,

    I have already run few Adwords Campaigns but wasn't aware that it has so many Geo-targeting options. That's certainly something new which I learned here.