The Challenge: Targeting a Very Specific Area in Google Ads

Yesterday we were working on a campaign targeting a very specific radius around a client in Wisconsin. Even though we limited our ads to a certain radius; our ads kept getting impressions and clicks outside of the chosen targeted area. 

Of course, we unchecked the box that would allow Google to show the ads to people who’ve only shown interest in the targeted locations.


Picture of the words Error overlayed over a screen showing Google Ads

The Solution: Exclude Every Other Location

The only way we could solve this issue was by excluding all the locations that weren’t part of our Wisconsin / Illinois area.

We proceeded by adding a list of all the countries in the world, minus the ones Google doesn’t let you exclude such as North Korea, Sudan, Cuba or Iran. When we came to the United States, we uploaded a list of all the states (except Wisconsin and Illinois, since our target radius was overlapping the two states). 

The “Bug” – Google Defaults to Country Over State

This is when we noticed Georgia wasn’t being excluded. We first thought our list of 48 states was incomplete and Georgia was missing. Then we realized Google was probably confused and thought we meant Georgia the European country, a country we’d already excluded.

How did we solve the issue? We added Georgia, GA, United States of America to the list, instead of just Georgia.

Always make sure Google recognizes the locations you add, especially when adding them in bulk!

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