Posted October 31, 2011 3:05 pm by with 2 comments

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One of the most important features of Google Adwords has been the ability for advertisers to target specific locations to ensure that their ad spend was happening in the geography of their business. This goes a long way to being more efficient with spend and helps stretch an ad budget due to less waste.

Today Google has announced improvements in how local marketers can target their Adwords efforts. This comes from the Inside Adwords blog.

Today, many businesses are using location targeting in their online ad campaigns to reach the right customers and improve campaign performance. Online agency iProspect, for example, uses location targeting to focus on top performing geographic areas for their client Talbots. As a result, they were able to lower their cost-per-click (CPC) by 36 percent, driving higher quality leads at a lower cost.

To provide an even better experience for our advertisers, we’ve connected the location targeting feature within AdWords to Google Maps. This will allow us to provide more information about locations, make relevant location suggestions, and improve the level of accuracy of our location targeting. We think these changes will make location targeting an even more useful tool for improving your campaign results.

Today we’re announcing the first of these changes: a makeover to the location targeting interface within AdWords. The new Location Targeting Tool will make it easier to discover and obtain more detail on potential target locations.

The post disappoints a bit because there is no video so now it’s best that you go to the post and actually read about these improvements. How 2010 of you, Google!

Here is an overview of the features:

1. Easily discover locations: Just start typing your location in your campaign settings section and Google will start to make suggestions for you (how considerate!)

2. Look at these locations on a map. Hey this one only makes sense, right?

3. Reach numbers

We now offer reach numbers to help you estimate the audience within your selected target. These reach numbers are based on the number of users seen on Google properties and may differ significantly from census numbers. Reach should be used only as general guidance to help you determine the relative number of users in a location target compared to other locations. For example, you can see from the screenshot below that targeting the Dallas metro area could result in three times the reach of the city of Dallas.

When you target a radius (also known as proximity targeting), we’ll show ‘Locations within this target’ so you know exactly which areas are covered by your radius. You can also choose to ‘Add all’ of the individual locations within your radius.

There’s more at the blog post if you want a deeper dive.

I claim to have no paid search expertise at all. It is a science and art unto itself that requires serious study to be mastered. But as someone who has considerable experience with local businesses trying to stretch limited budgets and cut down on just wasting money, the more targeted you can be geographically with your ads the better. It’s just a common sense play.

So while Google looks to make money in other areas it is also looking to make sure that its flagship cash cow, bread winner, revenue monster that is paid search is working to keep advertisers happy. Google is more than aware that while they are looking broaden their revenue streams to include other parts of their offerings, paid search is going to rule the roost for the foreseeable future and beyond.

Better to keep it all shiny and new for folks so when the full integration of Google+ into all things Google eventually takes place at the local business level, even those resistant to going all in can always rely on Adwords for what it has always done well and that is deliver results.