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Targeting in Google Ads

Targeting in Google Ads [How to Think Like a Google Ads Agency]

Your ads can still serve outside your targeted location if people specify the location in as part of their search terms. If you want to definitely prevent people from other geographic regions from seeing your ads, you may need to exclude locations.

— Petra Manos
High ROI Ecommerce Google Ads Specialist

To find out which locations people were in when they were shown your ad and clicked to your website, go to the Locations settings in Google Ads. Switch your view from Targeting Locations to Matched Locations. If your Matched locations include a whole lot of locations that you did not target then you are wasting your money. First up, make sure the location setting on your campaigns is set to “People in or regularly in your targeted locations” to restrict users to people who actually live or work there. If the problem persists, you can manually “exclude” locations to prevent them from ever being shown your ads.


You may be advertising to people who live overseas! By default Google advertises to people who are “interested in” your targeted location. Make sure the location setting on your campaigns is set to “People in or regularly in your targeted locations” to restrict users to people who actually live or work there.

— Petra Manos
High ROI Ecommerce Google Ads Specialist

To find out which locations people were in when they were shown your ad and clicked to your website, go to the Locations settings in Google Ads. Switch your view from Targeting Locations to Matched Locations. If your Matched locations include a whole lot of locations that you did not target, then you have fallen prey to this particularly frustrating setting! Keep in mind you are paying Google for each of those clicks, so this is an important source of wasted budget.


Are your ads set up to target the people most likely to buy from you? Because Google can spend your money indiscriminately if all you want is a “click” to your website.

— Petra Manos
High ROI Ecommerce Google Ads Specialist

There are lots of ways to target people in Google Ads, make sure you do them! Otherwise Google will have no issue with spending your money if that’s all you want Google to do.

Here are some ideas for different ways you might want to target people:

a. By geographical region
b. By keyword
c. By in-market audience
d. By affinity audience
e. By device type (mobile, computer etc)
f. By website placement (where your Display shows up)
g. By gender
h. By age
i .By product they are looking for

Usually we would split up campaigns by some combination of these so that we can weight your advertising budgets towards the segments we care the most about. If you lump everyone into one campaign and apply an automated bidding strategy Google will do its best to bid according to these different targeting factors anyway, but then you are giving up your control and strategy to the same entity who is happily taking your money!


It is better to pay to be #1 for a small number of best users than to pay for a whole lot of clicks from people who are unlikely to buy.

— Petra Manos
High ROI Ecommerce Google Ads Specialist

I might have set up a false dichotomy here, as the most profitable outcome will be somewhere in the middle since you don’t have to get the absolute top rank to get a click. But the thing is, if clicks from the best audiences cost you $1.20 and clicks from the worst audiences cost you $0.50, you’d want to set up your campaigns so that you only paid for the cheap traffic if there were no “best” people left.

If the better audience are many times more likely to purchase from you, targeting the cheaper audiences to get more traffic would just be a waste of money. Always seek to be the undisputed leader for your best prospective customers, and let your competitors fight over the rest.


Google gives us some valuable targeting options based on what users have searched for, what they have shopped for, what their interests are, and which other websites they have been to.

— Petra Manos
High ROI Ecommerce Google Ads Specialist

Rather than just targeting everyone, your campaigns have a much better chance of being profitable if you can pinpoint the criteria that makes up an ideal customer and target them first. Your campaigns should be set up like a waterfall – first target the best people, then if we run out of opportunities and we still have budget left target these next best people, etc etc. Obviously if you are running Search ads a targeting criteria will be keyword and if you are running Shopping ads a targeting criteria will be inventory. Cold audience display targeting requires laser focus in order to give you a return on your investment.

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