Google has made a new feature called Zip Code Targeting that is “supposed” to help local businesses target local customers with ease. This new targeting method allows you to set up targets under the location targeting area of your settings tab in Adwords. You can even use their “Bulk Upload” feature to simply enter in a number of different zip codes that are in the area you want to target… then magically you can now target your offers and ad variations to this specific area based off of zip codes! Great, right?… Well, not all is as it seems here. Let me explain something that I stumbled upon the other week.
I have a client in the Los Angeles area that sells widgets. These widgets are area, so it is important that we show her area specific ad variations to people that are either in, or searching for her widgets. You should know that she has 5 different areas to target. Therefore, when someone is in targeted area #1 (hereby reference as TA1), but is searching for a widget in TA3 they will need to see the ad variation for the widgets located in TA3 and not TA1. You may think to yourself… “this is simple”… and if you were targeting a city instead of a zip code it would be. Normally you would simply select the campaign targeting option (under settings) to target “people in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location”. However, I have found that if you are targeting using zip codes, this does NOT work. It seems that if you are using zip codes to target areas, Adwords does not identify with the city names located inside those targeted areas.
My conclusion is simple really. If you are going to target one area with many zip codes, zip code targeting may be exactly what you are looking for. However, if you are looking to target multiple zip codes utilizing multiple ad variations that are specific to each region, such as the example above. Then zip code targeting is just a waste of time. Target either your cities, or Adwords predetermined Metro areas and then everything should work just fine.
Written by: Ed Cehi