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Introducing Google ‘Location Groups’ in AdWords

By | February 17, 2014

As part of a company’s business strategy and goal of obtaining a competitive advantage, they typically decide who their target market will be before releasing their products or services. Companies try to either focus on being a low-cost leader (i.e. Wal-Mart) or on differentiation (i.e. Ferrari) to gain a competitive advantage. For years, search advertisers have only really been able to target users by their search query, their devices, their location, and the time of day and day of week. Wouldn’t it be great to target users differently searching on Google.com by say… their income? Well, Google now allows you to do so as they quietly rolled out ‘Location Groups’ under campaign settings.

Yes, ‘location groups’, yet another data set to analyze and potentially use bid modifiers to tweak your campaigns performance! Now, you might be asking, what types of advertisers would be more interested in bidding differently for different demographics? I would say several; especially if you know your target market well enough. Here are some examples (i.e. that would bid higher for top 10% household income):

  1. Retail: High-end clothing and accessories (purses, shoes, glasses)
  2. Health: Bariatric, cosmetic, and plastic surgery. These procedures are usually not covered by health insurance.
  3. Automotive: Expensive car brands (BMW, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes, etc.).
  4. Travel: International vacation packages, cruises, etc.
  5. Real Estate & Mortgages: There is a strong correlation between household income and credit scores. This would be a great test for mortgage companies.

So, where do you find these ‘Location Groups’?

    1. Go into campaign settings down to the ‘Locations’ section and click Advanced Search.location groups 1
    2. Click Location Groups and “Choose a Location Group Type” and then “Locations by Demographics”:location groups 2
    3. Enter the location you want to target and select the household income levels. I recommend adding ALL household income levels to start to see performance and determine which you might use bid modifiers to bid higher and bid lower:

location groups 3

Our Google representative mentioned that it’s tied to the user’s zip code as opposed to a user’s profile settings and search history (i.e. Google+). I looked into this more closely and saw it’s based on the average household income for a specific location. This is not a perfect system by any means, but what is these days? Looking at the zip code of where the user is located should provide Google a good idea to household incomes the majority of the time.

Again, definitely turn this on for ALL of you campaigns to start collecting data. I would not exclude any household income until you have data to support your optimization efforts; you may be surprised on the results!

To review data by household income, simply go to the location tab under campaign settings after you select the campaign you opted into ‘location groups’:

location groups 4

Please note, the data will take a couple of days to start populating:

location groups 5

Have you started trying out this feature to help optimize and improve the ROI of your campaigns?

1 Comment

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About Joe Castro

Joe Castro is the Director of Online Advertising at Fathom. He has over 6 years of experience in digital marketing with a concentration in PPC/paid search and display advertising. He primarily works with healthcare clients, but his experience spans across all verticals. Joe is a frequent blogger for Search Engine Journal. In his free time, he enjoys working out and spending time with family and friends.

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