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Google Ads Geo Targeting for Beginners [Ultimate Guide]

You’re probably aware of the impact of targeting specific geographical locations with your ads.

That’s where Google Ads Geo Targeting comes into play!

Think of it as your compass, pointing you towards uncharted territories and hidden treasures in the realm of online advertising.

Let’s begin!

What is Geo Targeting in Google Ads?

Ah, the digital world! A place where you can reach anyone, anywhere, at any time. 

But what if you wanted to zoom in on a specific region, like a magnifying glass focusing on a tiny detail on a map?

That’s where Geo Targeting in Google Ads comes into play.

Geo Targeting, also known as location targeting in Google, allows advertisers to display their ads to users based on specific geographic locations.

Google Ads uses the user’s IP address or GPS data to determine their location.

This ensures that the ads are relevant to the user’s current environment.

Why Use Geo Targeting?

  • Precision: It allows advertisers to pinpoint their audience. Instead of casting a wide net, you’re fishing in a pond where you know the fish are biting.
  • Relevance: Ads tailored to a specific region or city resonate more with the audience. It’s all about delivering the right message to the right people at the right time.
  • Budget Efficiency: By focusing on specific areas, you can ensure that every penny of your ad spend is being used effectively. No more wasting money on clicks from users who are miles away from your business.

Benefits of Geo Targeting in Google Ads

Imagine you’re a fisherman.

You’ve got a vast ocean in front of you, teeming with all sorts of fish.

But you’re not looking for just any fish; you’re after a specific type.

Would you cast your net into the vast ocean, hoping to catch that one fish? Or would you go to the specific spot where those fish are known to hang out?

This is the essence of Geo Targeting in Google Ads. Let’s dive into the ocean of benefits it offers.

Pinpoint Accuracy

  • Reaching the Right Audience: With Geo Targeting, you can ensure your target ads are seen by the right eyes.
  • Localizing Your Message: Tailor your ads to speak the local language, both literally and culturally.

Boosted Engagement

  • Higher Click-Through Rates (CTR): Ads that are relevant to a user’s geographic location tend to have higher CTRs.
  • Increased Conversion Rates: When users see ads that are relevant to their location and needs, they’re more likely to make a purchase.

Cost Efficiency

  • Optimized Ad Spend: Instead of spending money showing your ads to everyone everywhere, you can focus your budget on the locations that matter most.
  • Reduced Wasted Clicks: By targeting specific geographic locations, you reduce the chances of irrelevant clicks, which can eat into your budget.

How to Set Up Google Ads Geo Targeting [Step-by-Step]

Alright, adventurers of the digital universe, gather around!

Today, we’re embarking on a quest to master the art of Geo Targeting in Google Ads.

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or a newbie just dipping your toes into the vast ocean of digital advertising, this guide is your trusty map.

Let’s set sail!

Step 1: Dive into the Google Ads Dashboard

  • Accessing Your Account:
    • Log into your Google Ads account.

Step 2: Navigate to the Right Spot

  • Finding the ‘Locations’ Tab:
    • Once you’re in, head over to the campaign you wish to modify. Under the “Settings” tab, you’ll find the “Locations” option.

Step 3: Choose Your Adventure

  • Selecting Your Desired Location:
    • Here, you can set up location targeting by choosing entire countries, cities, or even specific zip codes.
  • Advancedtargeting options:
    • Proximity Targeting: Also known as radius targeting, this allows you to target a specific radius around a location.
    • Multiple Locations: If you have multiple branches or outlets, you can use google to target multiple locations in bulk. This is especially handy for businesses that have a presence in various parts of the city or country.
    • Location Extensions: Enhance your ads by showing your business address, phone number, and a map marker along with your ad text. This makes it easier for customers to find you.
    • Exclude Specific Areas: If there’s an area where you don’t want your ad to show, you can exclude it.

Step 4: Fine-Tune Your Strategy

  • Target Individual Locations:
    • If you want to get super specific, you can target individual locations. This is great for hyper-local campaigns or events.
  • Using Google Ads Location Targeting:
    • Make sure you’re using google ads location targeting effectively by regularly reviewing and adjusting your settings. The digital landscape is ever-changing, and so should your strategy.
  • Target the Right Audience:
    • It’s not just about where your audience is, but also who they are. Combine Geo Targeting with other targeting methods to ensure you target the right audience.

Setting up Geo Targeting in Google Ads is like charting a course on a map.

It ensures you reach your desired destination without getting lost along the way.

4 Google Ads Geo Targeting Tips

Navigating the world of Geo Targeting can feel like you’re Indiana Jones on a quest for the Holy Grail.

But fear not, fellow adventurer! With the right tips and tricks up your sleeve, you can master the art of Geo Targeting and unearth the treasures it holds.

Let’s embark on this journey together!

Tip 1: Understand Your Audience

  • Local Insights: Dive deep into your audience’s preferences, habits, and behaviors. The more you know about them, the better you can tailor your ads.

Tip 2: Combine Geo Targeting with Other Targeting Methods

  • Holistic Approach: Don’t just rely on location. Combine it with demographic, interest, or behavior targeting for a more comprehensive strategy.

Tip 3: Use Advanced Location Options

  • Refine Your Strategy: Google Ads offers advanced location options that allow you to target or exclude specific areas.

Tip 4: Regularly Review and Adjust

  • Stay Agile: The digital landscape is ever-evolving. Regularly review your Geo Targeting settings and adjust as needed.

Note: It might also be a good idea to set up content suitability settings in your Google Ads to avoid getting your ads placed next to inappropriate content.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Here we are at the pitfalls of Geo Targeting!

Even the most seasoned adventurers can sometimes stumble.

But with the right knowledge, you can sidestep these common mistakes and continue on your path to success.

Mistake 1: Over-Targeting

  • The Trap: Trying to be too specific with your targeting can lead to missed opportunities.
  • The Solution: Find the right balance. It’s essential to be specific, but don’t narrow down your audience too much.
Image of a magnifying glass over a map

Mistake 2: Ignoring Mobile Users

  • The Trap: Forgetting that many users search on the go, especially when looking for local businesses or services.
  • The Solution: Ensure your ads are mobile-friendly and consider the behavior of mobile users when setting up your Geo Targeting.

✏️Check out our guide on device targeting optimization in Google Ads.

Mistake 3: Not Using Negative Keywords

  • The Trap: Wasting ad spend on irrelevant clicks by not excluding certain keywords.
    • Imagine ads for “beach vacations” also showing up for “beach clean-up volunteer opportunities.” Not the best idea right?
  • The Solution: Regularly review your keywords and add negative keywords to exclude irrelevant searches.
Screenshot of Google Ads dashboard showing negative keywords

Mistakes are a part of the journey, but learning from them is what sets you apart. Learn more about the common Google Ads mistakes and how to avoid them.


Geo Targeting in Google Ads is a powerful tool, but like any tool, it requires skill and knowledge to wield effectively. 

Now, it’s time to turn these insights into action! Try out the location targeting feature in Google Ads for your business.

Eager to continue your learning? Check out our handy guide on Google Ads for local businesses.

Michael Schroder

Michael Schroder

Michael Schroder is a Google Ads and SaaS marketing consultant. He has been managing $200k-$300k monthly ad spend and has worked with 200+ SaaS companies. The thing that makes him unique is his data-led approach and his focus on SaaS businesses.