Google Ads Introduces Advanced Location Targeting Options

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

One of the most useful parts of modern digital advertising is that it’s possible to target ads based on where people are and the places they’ve been. This feature allows business owners to create highly-targeted campaigns that reach their target demographic within a specified area. Google Ads announced an update that will expand location targeting to include people who visit a location regularly, even when they aren’t there at the moment.

A recent change has been rolling out across Google’s advertising platforms. Google has changed the “People in your targeted locations” option to “People in or regularly in your targeted locations.” The change was first noticed in display ad campaigns, but it has since been seen on search and shopping ads as well.

Location-based digital ads have many advantages, but there are some limitations. If a person isn’t using their phone to search online when they’re at the location, they may miss out on relevant ads that could affect their decisions. For example, if a store gets poor phone reception and there’s no WIFI access, it would be hard to target ads to people in the building. Google is using its wealth of location data and extensive ad network to reach these otherwise unreachable target audience members.

Thanks to your smartphone, Google knows a lot about where consumers go regularly. There are privacy settings to restrict how much location data your phone sends Google, but most people don’t modify these options. This data collection means that even if a person isn’t at a location at the moment, Google knows if they visit the place frequently.

Google is using its location data to let advertisers target consumers who usually visit a location, even if they aren’t in the area. So if the target consumer is searching online while at home, they may see ads related to places they regularly visit. This feature benefits advertisers in several ways. It makes it possible to connect with hard-to-reach members of a location-based audience.

Additionally, targeting people while they aren’t at the location could do more to boost sales for the advertisers. For example, if a consumer is at home when they see the ad for a place they like to visit, the person may decide to go there as soon as possible even if they hadn’t planned on it before.

It’s believed that these changes are designed to reach more commuters. Workers drive to an area almost every day. But since they are less likely to be using their phones for random things during the workday, commuters may miss out on ads for nearby businesses that could be beneficial. Targeting these people before they start their commute could boost sales for retailers in the area.

Google hasn’t made an official blog post about this update to the location targeting options, but it’s likely that they will clarify some of the finer points soon. For example, it would be helpful to know how Google is determining if someone has visited a location often. Is it based on frequency, recency, or another factor? In the meantime, using the option to target commuters is a safe bet, because any definition of frequent visitor would include people who drive to the area every weekday.

For more news about online marketing and ads, read this article about changes to Facebook’s policy regarding certain ad types.

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