« Back to front page

Local AdWords: 3 creative ideas for locally targeted AdWords campaigns

Nowadays, the highly competitive market requires online advertisers to be extremely creative in order to survive. The steadily rising click costs (CPCs) are a major challenge in this case.

One way through which account managers can effectively address different target groups and thereby gain a competitive advantage is through creative targeted campaigns.

Google AdWords offers a broad range of targeting options with which you can focus on a specific target group. In most cases, the real challenge lies in maintaining your focus despite the numerous options. It is therefore key that you first understand your target group perfectly. Not only should you analyze information about the surfing behavior, demography, gender, and interests, you should also know where and when the target group can be reached.

740x400-LokaleAusrichtung-02 SEA Local Adwords Google Adwords

Once you have researched all the relevant data, it becomes much easier to derive ideas on how you can best address the specific target group using AdWords. The available targeting options serve as ideal tools to verify these hypotheses. This article will use different examples to show you how you can use the local targeting options innovatively.

Here, "think global act local" does not just apply in the global context..

Introduction of the location targeting options

Before looking at specific examples, it is important to understand the different targeting options that are available in Google AdWords. To access the settings, click on "Locations" under Campaign (see figure). This allows you to select countries, states, cities, etc. You can also find more configuration options under "Advanced Search".

Artikel_Onpage_Org_JS_Bild_1_engl SEA Local Adwords Google Adwords

Figure 1: Location settings under Campaigns

Location-based targeting allows you to direct your advertisement to a specific region with a 1 km accuracy. The selected geographical region is shown in the corresponding mini-map. This tool enables you to perfectly tailor your campaigns to different regions. However, you must enter all addresses manually when specifying the different regions.

Artikel_Onpage_Org_JS_Bild_2_engl SEA Local Adwords Google Adwords

Figure 2: Advanced settings under locations

You will find several "presets" under "Location groups" > "Places of interest". These include "Universities", "Airports", and "Cities". However, there is no specification of the actual geographical orientation of these groups. These presets help you avoid having to manually research and enter all public places.

Artikel_Onpage_Org_JS_Bild_3_engl SEA Local Adwords Google Adwords

Figure 3: The different location groups

The preset options make it much easier for you to create several creative campaigns.

The following ideas should serve as food for thought, and you should always keep in mind that the success of advertising campaigns depends largely on the respective business models and objectives. Nevertheless, the ideas can be ideal starting points when planning your individual campaign if you want to address your target group in new, creative ways.

1. Airports and B2B

In B2B, the main challenge lies in addressing the target group without any divergence losses. Conventional AdWords campaigns are therefore not well suited for such cases.

As for "Airports", there is an interesting approach since the majority of business people often travel at a certain time of the day or week. Most of the airport traffic is made of business flights. This particular group of people can be addressed effectively using an AdWords campaign by simply selecting "Airports" in location settings and additionally using an appropriate ad schedule.

For instance, you can limit your advertisements to the period between 5-10 am and 4-8 pm on weekdays. Additional targeting options (keywords, interests, topics, etc.) can help you customize your advertisements even further, regardless of whether you are using search or display advertisements. Narrowing down on a specific geographical region easily sees to sufficient relevance in the traffic.

Artikel_Onpage_Org_JS_Bild_4_engl SEA Local Adwords Google Adwords

Figure 4: Settings in the ad scheduler

While waiting for their flights, business people often surf the internet on their mobile phones or via Wi-Fi in waiting rooms at airports. Most of them probably use their company’s VPN to browse anonymously and can therefore not be associated with the airport location by Google. Nonetheless, there are still enough users on whom a locally targeted campaign can be effective.

Locally targeted campaigns that are set for specific times can help you use your advertising budget effectively. In particular, B2B requires many different contacts before a lead or purchase. Such campaigns can therefore be very useful.

2. Trade fairs, conventions, conferences

Trade fairs in which representatives of an entire industry come together for a short time can also be a good target of special AdWords campaigns. With location-based targeting, you can specify a postal address when creating your campaign and a radius for which the campaign should apply. Here, it is recommended that you use a 1-5 km radius depending on the size of the event. You should also adapt the duration of your campaign to that of the respective event.

This will enable you to target online users who will be in the area where the events will be held. In this case, display campaigns are more practical since users at the event should not have to search for content that is thematically related to the event. This is why placement advertisements are always a good option for such events. Additional targeting based on "topics", "interests", "in-market audiences", etc. is therefore unnecessary. You can have a relatively broad keyword set for search campaigns. You could even use a "broad" match type without impairing the relevance of your traffic.

Such campaigns are not only useful for business customers. Many other end users often browse the internet when attending trade fairs in order to inform themselves about the latest trends in a specific industry (toy fairs, music fairs, etc.). This gives you a chance to address this target group and present your own brand using a low budget.

Artikel_Onpage_Org_JS_Bild_5_engl SEA Local Adwords Google Adwords

Figure 5: Example of a campaign targeting an online marketing trade fair ("Performance Marketing Summit") in Munich

3. Commercial centers

The term "commercial centers" seems a bit vague when describing location groups. Besides industrial areas and shopping centers, you can only guess the regions that are included in this category. Nevertheless, it is still advisable to experiment with this group since it offers numerous options for both B2B and B2C. This improves your chances of addressing the business customers in this geographical region. Consumers who are out shopping are already in a ready-to-buy state and are often more receptive to promotional offers.

To be more precise, this is also a form of "location targeting": You can specify large industrial centers or shopping centers manually. In order to do this, you need to research the postal addresses since there are many goods transport centers located further away from the city centers that bring together a large number of different industries.

Artikel_Onpage_Org_JS_Bild_6_engl SEA Local Adwords Google Adwords

Figure 6: Examples of postal addresses of goods transport centers with a 1 km radius


By combining different targeting options, you have virtually unlimited ways of creating unique applications. As illustrated by the examples, local targeting offers you a perfect way of designing exceptional campaigns. If you know your target group well enough, you should use this knowledge to design creative advertisement campaigns in AdWords.

Conducting small-scale tests and experiments are always good ways of identifying new potential. Here, you can first create and test low-budget campaigns due to the common financial restrains attributed to the local orientation. Next, you can proceed to optimize the campaigns once you have reviewed their performance. This could also entail revising your targeting methods, e.g., if you had initially narrowed down on a specific target group too much.

Take courage – testing and optimizing definitely pays off! You will certainly enjoy the fruits of personalized AdWords campaigns, which are perfectly tailored to your target group.

Ryte users gain +93% clicks after 1 year. Learn how!

Published on Aug 9, 2016 by Johannes Stabel