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Google AdWords - How About Total Control Over Geo-Targeting?

Justin Tadych
by Justin Tadych on Aug 27, 2009 9:59:00 AM

Recently E-Power discovered that one of our client's Google AdWords programs which we specifically Geo-Target to California was receiving impressions and clicks from outside the designated target area. This was taking place when a geo-specific qualifier was added to the search query.

For example, E-Power only wanted to serve ads for a law firm practicing in California to potential clients in California. Since the client is only licensed in California, out of state leads are not beneficial to them. Thus, any out of state traffic was of no benefit.

Based on solid key phrase research, testing and the fact that the client in question only does business in California, this geo-targeting-based query parsing is having a less than positive effect on the overall campaign in terms of wasted money and lowering of the overall Quality Score. Let me elaborate.

As a Business - The client in question only does business in California and as I stated above, outside leads are not beneficial.

Quality Score - is affected as impressions are accumulated outside of the practice area. Since Google adds the qualifier under the ad copy (in this case California), the Click Through Rate for the ads will be extremely low, thus lowering the overall Quality Score for the particular search phrase. In the end, this caused the client to pay more for what they thought was a well targeted campaign focused on California.

Wasted Money - Combine the two points above.

Now this geo-targeting example may not be a problem for all advertisers, but in this case it was. Don't get us wrong, E-Power realizes that some advertisers may see a benefit from these extra searches as a lack of research or uncertainty of influence outside the targeted region may play a factor.

The solution - leave the feature on as a default setting so that inexperienced advertisers have the potential to capture these extra leads. But for advanced search marketers who have done the due diligence in testing and research, give us an option to turn it off.

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Justin Tadych
Written by Justin Tadych
Justin is our Assistant VP, Online Marketing, focusing on online advertising strategies and services. Priding himself on running the most effective and efficient ad programs possible, Justin focuses on maximizing Return On Investment while generating the best possible results for our clients' online advertising programs.

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