As we move into 2018 we have seen a number of new improvements, alterations, and some not so liked changes within the Google Adwords interface. However there are quite a few default settings that Google has in place that are not so obvious to see what they are. By some of these default settings being set to the way they are, new to novice Google Adwords account managers could be missing a big piece of the equation when it comes down to optimizing the account. There are some very critical default settings that could have your account, campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and even your ads performing at a much lower clip than what they should be or than what you would expect them to with the optimization you have already applied to the account. So throughout this write up we will take a closer look at some of these default settings in detail and talk about where to find these settings and what they would mean to an account if they were left on or what improvement if any you could expect by turning them off. To some new Google Adwords users these may have never been discovered on their own, so get ready to discover 3 default settings that can make or break your Google Adwords campaigns.
Location Options (Advanced) In The Google Adwords Campaign Settings
The first default setting we will focus on can be located in the Location Options (Advanced) settings at the campaign level. When you first create a campaign from scratch you may come across this setting, but you may not pay that much attention to it. The reason you may not pay that much attention to is is because just above it, is the section where you choose which Location to target (country, county, city, zip code, or other targets). When we enter which location we are targeting, we automatically think to ourself “ok I have my target location entered, so I will only show in my targeted location that I just entered”. But, if you have thought the same thing in the past, you could not be more wrong. Let us go ahead and take a deeper look at these settings and discuss how you may very well be showing your ads outside, and not just outside but FAR outside the targeted location that you just entered.
Ok for example, we have just created a brand new campaign and we are wanting to target the whole country of United States, so that is what we enter in our Locations (targeted location). That is all fine and well as we have just called out that the United States is our targeted location to run out ads. Now let us explore the section named Location Options (Advanced) that can be found just below the Locations section that you just entered your targeted location of the United States. When you clickable link that reads “Location Options (Advanced)”, you will see a drop-down view that contains 2 additional sections. The first section is named “target” and should have 3 additional options within it. The 3 additional options within the “target” section should be as follows, “people in, searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location (recommended)”, “People in my targeted location”, and “People searching for my targeted location”. By default, you will see the first option (people in, searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location (recommended)) already selected for you, which at first glance looks like exactly what you need and want to run your campaign. However just to the right of the text copy that reads “people in, searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location (recommended)” you will see a small box with a question mark in it that should give you a brief definition of what this setting actually means. So go ahead and click or hover over that small box with the question mark in it, it should read as follows “Your ad can appear for anyone who is likely to be physically located in your targeted location. Your ad can also appear for anyone who shows interest in your targeted location. People can show interest through terms used in their searches, content that they view online, if they were recently in a location, or other methods, and should be followed with a “Learn more” that you are able to click and read more information.
By reading this brief definition, it may sound exactly what you want at first glance. But here are the key factors of this definition that you need to understand as this could all but destroy any positive results your campaign has the opportunity to obtain. So let us look at the phrase “Your ad can appear for anyone who is likely to be physically located in your targeted location” first, yes this is absolutely exactly what we want as our setting because we absolutely want people physically in our target location, this phrase check out just fine to our needs and wants. Now here is where it gets a bit misleading to those who may not understand fully the definition of “Your ad can also appear for anyone who shows interest in your targeted location”. The key word in this phrase is “anyone”, which if this campaign happens to run can literally mean “anyone” can see your ads, even those outside of the target location you have selected in the section just above that. So as we break down that phrase, we now see that Google is literally telling us that even though our targeted location is indeed the United States, you have just given them permission to show your ads to “anyone who shows interest in your targeted location”. For example, if I lived in Australia, your ads are available to show to me and possibly get a click and cost you money, because of the last part of that phrase “shows interest in your targeted location”. So all I would have to do if I lived in Australia is show an interest in “the United States”, and boom your ad can show to me, even though you though that only people in the United States were going to see your ad. Ok, let us look at the 3rd part of that definition which reads “People can show interest through terms used in their searches, content that they view online, if they were recently in a location, or other methods”. This last part of the definition clearly does not say that only people in my targeted location will see our ad, but rather it says anyone who “shows interest through terms”, this means if any of your keywords are in their search query your ads will indeed show to them. And even more, the last part of the definition “if they were recently in a location, or other methods” clearly says that all the searcher (me who lives in Australia or any other country) has to do is have visited the United States at some point or “other methods” which Google keeps us in the dark about. Now that we know that this is clearly not the setting we want, I hope that you can now see that by Google having this sections already as your Default setting, you can and will show ads in locations that you felt you should never show in.
In the continued portion of this write up we will take a look at the other options in the “target” section as well as the other 2 Default settings that can make or break your campaigns, so stay tuned.
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