google adwords: how to exclude locations in google adwords

Geo-targeting in Google Adwords is a very powerful feature. It allows you to target specific users based on their geographic location. It also allows you to exclude marketing to users in specific locations. There are several advantages in using the geo-targeting functionality in Adwords.

We will talk specifically about how to exclude locations in this post. There might be many different reasons as to why you want to exclude locations.

Reasons to Exclude Locations

Many of the reasons why you would want to exclude certain users will be very much site specific and/or campaign specific. Let’s see some of the general reasons:

  • Low ROI: You find that users or visitors from a particular location returns very low sales or revenue for the cost of advertising in that area. These could be areas for some reason or other is not converting very well.
  • High Cost: A certain location might be very costly to market in regardless of the ROI. Big markets such as New York or London will not only produce large amount of traffic, it might also have a higher CPC that will increase your overall cost.
  • Low Click Thru Rate (CTR): This is related to the above point about return on investment, the traffic from a particular location might be generating very low CTR. This means that it is negatively affecting the Ad Score or Keyword Score for the rest of the campaign. You might be better off creating a new ad campaign for this location or ignoring it altogether.
  • Non-Service Area: Sometimes your business itself might be very location based. You might not ship your products to a particular location or if you are a service oriented business, you might not be servicing a particular area.

Alternatives to Exclusion

While excluding a location from the Adwords campaign might be good idea in your case, you should know there could alternatives or other things you can do to reduce the impact. So instead of excluding visitors from a location completely, you do have the option of marketing to these locations differently.

  • Decrease the bid amount based on location: You can reduce the bid amount for your keywords based on user location. This will reduce the clicks or visits from these locations, but will ensure that the few clicks will reduce the overall cost and may give you a better return on investment.
  • Create a separate campaign for the location: Sometime, the location needs to be marketed using a different set of keywords. You can create a different or separate campaign using a different set of keywords and ads, that target specifically to these areas.
  • Create more targeted ads: Sometimes, you need better ads that target these locations. Try creating ads that are more specific and test to see if it makes a difference.

Usually, it is much easier to include or target specific locations rather than trying to exclude locations. I find it much easier to create separate campaigns that target specific location. These are much easier to maintain as well over time. Having said that there will still be some specific use cases where explicit location exclusion is needed.

How to Exclude Locations

Well, excluding specific locations works pretty much the same way the inclusion works. However, the exclusions occur in a different section than the inclusion.

To exclude a location from a campaign, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the campaign name in the left hand side menu
  2. Click on the Settings tab in the main panel
  3. Click on Locations in the sub-menu in the panel
  4. Click on the +Locations button on the page (it is the big red button)
  5. Type the location you want to exclude in the text box
  6. In the pop-up window, you will find the exclude option next to each location
  7. Click on the exclude link next to the location that is closest to your location
excluding locations in adwords

After you have selected the locations that you want to exclude, you will see these options or values populated in the table under the section named Excluded Locations. You can remove this location at a future date if you need to from this table.

Once you have excluded specific locations from the campaign, the users from these locations will not see your ads. The geo-location algorithms used are generally not 100% accurate, so there might be some bleed-through. However, your cost from marketing to these locations should significantly decrease.