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Brian Hansen

Digital Advertising Strategist

Brian is a Digital Advertising Strategist with expertise in Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, and Google Data Studio. He uses these and other tools (and mixes in a lot of creativity) to help clients effectively and efficiently achieve their goals. He's a strong advocate of testing and measuring results, and isn't satisfied until his clients are. Brian is certified in Google Ads, Google Analytics IQ, and Google Tag Manager. 

Marketers: Improve Your Google Ads CTRs with Geo Ads Customizers

August 18, 2020 | Brian Hansen, Digital Advertising Strategist

4 Minute Read

There are several advanced features in Google Ads that are likely overlooked by most marketers. One of those features is called “Geo Ads Customizers,”  which allows the advertiser to dynamically insert a user’s location in the ad copy. 

This type of feature can be very useful in certain situations. For example, if you own a custom gifts company that has next day shipping to select cities throughout the U.S., it would be beneficial to run a dynamic text ad only to those select locations and include the name of the location in the ad copy. When a user searches for “custom gifts” and they are in Jackson, Wyoming, for example, the ad could read: “Custom Gifts | Next Day Shipping to Jackson | Shop Today.” The applications for this technology are vast and will likely improve your click through rate, as your ads are now more relevant to the end consumer.

Another example of when this ad type would be useful is if you are a manufacturer and have dealers in many locations throughout the U.S. that you are trying to drive traffic to.  You might ask, “why not just set up a different ad group with a different location for every dealer throughout the U.S.?” The answer is two-fold; one, because if there are more than about a dozen dealers, it can become cumbersome to set up, manage, and optimize all of those ad groups. The other is that Google optimizes better with volume, and grouping fragmented audiences together when applicable can allow for better optimized results in the long run.

Examples and Resources for Setup

Check out this article from Metric Theory with tips for setting up your geo-targeted campaigns.

You can also look at some of Google’s resources on ad customizers here

Also, this YouTube video does a great job of explaining how to set up dynamic location insertion, aka geo ad customizers. You can check out the link here

Location Types to Target

Once you get an understanding of how to set up your ad customizers in Google Ads, the next question becomes: which locations do you want use as “geo targets”? Google gives a pretty extensive list of all the “Target Types” that you can include in your ads. The list below is taken from here.

  • Airport
  • Autonomous Community *
  • Borough
  • Canton *
  • City *
  • City Region
  • Congressional District *
  • Country *
  • County *
  • Department *
  • District
  • Governorate *
  • Municipality *
  • National Park
  • Neighborhood
  • Okrug
  • Postal Code
  • Prefecture *
  • Province *
  • Region *
  • State *
  • Territory *
  • TV Region *
  • Union Territory *
  • University

*Supported in TargetingIdeaService

You may be wondering what some of these terms mean and when you might use them. We made a chart breaking down each location type with examples and short definitions to help you out. 

Target Type
Example Taken From Google's Active Geo Targets in 2020
Number in U.S.
Use Case Examples
Definition
Notes
Airport O'Hare International Airport 173 Targeting people traveling at the beginning or end of a trip.  Could be useful to catch their attention.    
Autonomous Community       Political and administrative division Used in Spain
Borough Manhattan, New York 23 Use alongside neighborhood campaigns An incorporated municipality smaller than a city  
Canton         Used in Switzerland
City New York, New York 16,404 Likely one of the most useful geo targets in the United States.  This allows marketers to create a very relevant text dynamically around the United States or World.   An inhabited place of greater size, population, or importance than a town or village  
City Region South Los Angeles 1 Not very useful in the U.S. Metropolitan area and hinterland Commonly used in Australia, Pakistan, and other parts of the world.
Congressional District AZ-1,Arizona,United States 436 Political campaigns an electoral constituency that elects a single member of a congress  
Country          
County Summit County, Colorado 3,098 Useful alongside City campaigns    
Department  *Not an option in USA       Exists only in Bolivia
District Foggy Bottom, District of Columbia 1   An area, region, or section with a distinguishing character  
Governorate *Not an option in USA 0   An administrative division of a country. Exists in Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Tunisia 
Municipality Leland Township, Michigan, United States 128 Use alongside "city" campaigns A city or town that has corporate status and local government  
National Park Hawaii Volcanoes National Park 57 Targeting people interested in outdoors, conservationalists, while they may be vacationing etc. A scenic or historically important area of countryside protected by the federal government for the enjoyment of the general public or the preservation of wildlife  
Neighborhood Pebble Beach, California 1,504 To target at a higher level than in a city.  If you have multiple locations within a city and want to be relevant to customers - this may be the best option. A district, especially one forming a community within a town or city  
Okrug *Not an option in USA     Roughly "area" "district" or "region" Exists only in Russia
Postal Code 90210 31828   Locations defined for the purpose of sorting the mail  
Prefecture *Not an option in USA 0     Exists only in Japan and Central African Republic
Province *Not an option in USA 0   A principal administrative division of certain countries Exists all over the world outside of the U.S. 
Region Silicon Valley 2     Mostly an option outside of U.S.
State Alaska, United States 51     Not the most useful geo target option
University University of Colorado Boulder 169 To create relevant ads to college students.  This could be useful for any company trying to target this demographic.    

 

At first, geo targets may seem overwhelming, and hopefully our chart helps to clarify some questions you may have about Google’s available Target Types. Ultimately, the regions you target and the customized message you send is up to you. Good luck!