The world of PPC advertising is a tumultuous one, with numerous changes, updates, and “enhancements” coming down the pipeline from the search engines we all hold so dear. Just last week, Google made a big announcement regarding several new features that will be coming to AdWords over the next several months. But not every new feature rollout gets a big fanfare announcement. Some just sort of appear and you hear about them through the grapevine. One such feature is Location Group targeting.

Where and What Is Location Group Targeting?

Location group targeting allows you to set your location targeting according to special location conditions, allowing you to reach customers based on their proximity to certain place types or by certain demographics. There are 3 different location groups to choose from: places of interest, location extensions, and demographics.

You can find location group settings by navigating to the Settings tab of a given campaign, clicking the “+Locations” button, clicking “Advanced Search,” and then choosing the “Location groups” tab. Support for location groups is not currently part of Editor, so you will need to add location groups manually to each campaign in which you’d like to run them.

Location Group Types

Targeting by places of interest allows you to select targeting areas around airports, universities, or “central commercial areas” within a given geographic region. Say, for instance, you were advertising for a New York car rental company, you could set targeting for airports within the New York metro, knowing that your customer base may be searching in that specific area.

If you have brick-and-mortar locations loaded into your account as location extensions, you can set up your targeting to reach users within a given radius of those locations. Want to increase foot traffic to your pizza shop on North 3rd Street? Specifically target users within a mile or two of that exact location. Want to increase phone orders and deliver within a 5 mile radius? Set your targeting to 5 miles around your location to reach all users that location covers.

Targeting by demographics is limited right now, with the only option being to set your target based on household income data. This setting is based on data from the US Internal Revenue Service, and, thus, is only available for targeting within the US. But if, say, you’re advertising high-end luxury vehicles, you can target locations that fall within the top 10% estimated annual household income. Advertising financial assistance? Perhaps targeting locations within the lower 10% estimated annual household income is a good choice.

Modifying Bids by Location Group

After you set up your location group targeting, you can then set bid modifiers for these groups. For example, if your car rental business operates throughout New York, but you know business is best near the airports, maybe you want to set your airport bid modifier to +50%. I’d actually recommend setting bid modifiers to location groups to +1% for a few weeks in order to see if performance within these regions actually warrants special bid modifying, then apply a larger bid modifier if the performance supports the idea.

Location group targeting should be available to everyone, so get in there, try it out, and let us know how it goes in the comments.