Last year, Google rolled out an update to the AdWords API that allowed users to target people based on their Location of Presence or Area of Interest. It was a great feature for AdWords, but things can always be improved. Those improvements are coming today.
Announced on the Google Ads Developer blog, the AdWords API team says they are rolling out four new updates to the advanced location targeting system. These updates are the culmination of customer feedback that wanted to improve the power and clarity of this particular feature. These changes come on top of an already extensive amount of location targeting improvements that came to AdWords proper last week.
The first change sees location targeting being easier to understand. This just means that the wording under advanced location options has been simplified so all users can understand the options available to them.
The other change will show ads to people in a physical location, without exception. Google says that when people chose the "target using physical location" option, it would show people in that location ads unless they were searching for something in a different location. Not anymore, as your ad will show up to them regardless of their search. This is especially useful for travel agencies whose ads missed the target market because users were searching for the place they wanted to travel to which excluded them from the targeted ads.
Speaking of location targeting, there are now more options for location targeting on the Display Network. Previously, the only location targeting signal was the "likely physical location of the user." Now both the likely physical location and the location extracted from the content of the page can both be used.
The new system won't apply to everybody though. Google says it only applies on a limited number of pages. They use the example of a person reading news about Hawaii not being interested in Hawaii tours so they won't be targeted with that ad. A person researching trips to Hawaii, however, would be targeted with that ad.
As a side note, if you are targeting the Display Network, your ad campaign will automatically be opted into this new service. You can change this by access the "people in my targeted location" option in the advanced location options.
As a final change, advertisers can now easily avoid getting impressions for excluded areas. The previous wording for exclusions was a bit vague, so they changed it to "People in, searching for, or viewing pages about my excluded location." This more restrictive option has also been made the default.
As an example, people will be excluded from your ad campaigns if they live in the excluded location or even search for said excluded location. You can set it to the less restrictive option that will only exclude those who live in the excluded location.
The AdWords team notes that these changes only affect new campaigns. Already existing campaigns will not be affected.