Google Ads Update: Location Targeting Settings For March

As of this month, advertisers on Google Ads have been informed of upcoming modifications to location targeting settings across all campaign types. According to Google, these alterations have been designed to simplify the targeting process for advertisers, enabling users to design impactful campaigns more seamlessly.

Beginning in March of 2023, Google Ads will no longer offer ‘Search Interest’ targeting and ‘Presence or Interest’ exclusion. This change is being implemented to streamline the location targeting options and enhance the effectiveness of ads.

In this article, we are going to provide an overview of Google’s changes and their rationale. Along with a breakdown of what this update means for advertisers and its potential impact on campaigns.

Changes To Your Ad Campaigns Targeting

Location options in Google Ads allow you to either include or exclude individuals based on:

  • Their most probable or habitual location.
  • The locations they have demonstrated interest in.

By default, location targeting includes both physical locations and locations of interest, but advertisers with more refined skills can utilise these options to narrow down their targeting to specific subsets of these categories.

One of the most significant changes to target settings involves Google eliminating two of the options:

  • “Search Interest: people searching for your target locations”
  • “Presence or interest: People in, regularly in, or who’ve shown interest in your excluded locations”

According to Google, these targeting options are not always being used efficiently by advertisers. The “Search Interest: people searching for your target locations” option has lower adoption rates and the “Presence or interest: People in, regularly in, or who’ve shown interest in your excluded locations” option is often perplexing for advertisers and has minimal impact on campaign performance.

However, advertisers will still have the ability to select between “Presence or Interest” or “Presence” opportunities, which lean to be more aligned with the advertising objectives of campaigns today. Despite the removal of this option, campaigns will still exclude individuals in your excluded locations.

With these changes, Google is aiming to harmonize the location targeting settings across all types of campaigns, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the targeting experience for advertisers.

How Will This Affect Advertisers?

March’s new targeting update in Google Ads will streamline advertisers targeting process, simplifying the creation of campaigns and bringing you closer to achieving your campaign goals.

Although a few advertisers may have relied on the options that Google is eliminating; through conducting interviews with numerous advertisers and testing these new changes, Google intends to improve the targeting experience for advertisers by standardising the location targeting settings across various campaign types.

In anticipation of these changes, advertisers should be prepared to research and adjust their targeting settings accordingly, in order to benefit from this update.

Like with any new update to the Google Ads platform, advertisers should always be mindful of any changes to their account settings. Whether you are setting up a new campaign or making changes to an existing one, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of how modification can impact your campaign’s performance.

Final Thoughts

Prior to configuring your location targeting, it’s worth considering the level of specificity your campaign may require. Employing broad geo-targeting options such as ‘Presence or Interest’ can aid you in reaching individuals not only present in your targeted locations but also those who have exhibited an interest in them.

Location targeting relies on several factors, including users’ preferences, devices, and interactions on Google’s platform. Google ads does its best attempt to display ads to individuals who meet the criteria specified in your location settings.

However, due to the variation in these signals, 100% accuracy isn’t always guaranteed in every scenario. Therefore, it is advisable to always double-check your overall performance metrics regularly, to ensure that your settings align with your advertising objectives and adjust them whenever necessary.

If you still need help with your Google ad campaigns get in touch with Finsbury Media’s PPC experts today. Our Google Ad Agency will ensure that your campaign is running smoothly and achieves all your business goals this year.