Google Changes to Location Targeting for AdWords

Google announced recently that they will be changing several parameters in the Location Targeting feature available in the Adwords interface (see “Location targeting updates in AdWords“). These changes will begin rolling out after July 8, 2011, and will become mandatory at the end of 2011.

In brief, the changes are:

  • Some available locations changed or removed: Some geographic designations worldwide have changed, and so may no longer be targeted. (List is here.)
  • Elimination of custom geographic shapes (multi-point or polygon targets): All geographic targeting must be changed to available regions or cities with a radius designation.
  • Removal of “Show address in this ad” feature: You will no longer be able to designate specific ads to have an address extension. You may still use the Location Extensions feature, found in the Ad Extensions tab. Location Extensions can only be set at the Campaign level, and will affect all ads in that campaign.

Although transition to these new policies will be gradual, Google recommends that advertisers begin changing over their existing ads to conform as soon as possible to avoid any problems down the line. After the end of 2011, any non-conforming settings will automatically be converted to whatever Google thinks is the best approximation of your original settings.

Google Changes to Location Targeting for AdWords by

Mark is Director of Digital Outreach for Virante Inc. Mark helps businesses build strategies to increase brand influence and attract natural links and social signals. He has a special reputation as an expert on Google+ and Google Authorship. A former teacher, Mark has worked directly in Internet marketing since 2005, but has been involved in social media and online community formation since the mid 1990s. When not helping Virante clients improve their online presence, Mark participates in competitive storytelling, plays with a Dixieland street band, and (surprise) spends more time on the web.


  1. Google’s recent changes seem to favor local. It seems that unless your in a niche its going to be impossible to compete even in adwords against brands in a local space.

    • David,

      You may well be right, that this is an intentional move by Google to favor the local advertiser. A few things may be driving that decision (if indeed, it is intentional):

      1. At the same time that Google has probably peaked in usage among large, national or worldwide advertisers, it lost ground in the local market over the past couple of years as small, local advertisers became frustrated with the expense, complexities, and competition on AdWords.

      2. Localized mobile usage is soaring, as we all know, and is on its way to becoming the default way people find out about local businesses.

  2. Extremely helpful article, pelase write more.

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