Understanding Location & Language Targeting Options in Google Adwords

Thursday, 14 April 2011


Recently I had the opportunity to work on a global paid search campaign targeting multiple languages and locations. Although languagelocation targeting in Google Adwords appears to be pretty simple, some aspects can be slighty more complex.


Location Targeting Options

The main criteria that Google uses to determine a user location, is the actual Google domain they use. For example someone search in Google.de, Google will assume that the user is more likely to want to see German ads rather an English ads.
However, Google also look additional parameters including search personalisation settings, user IP addresses and the actual search term. Based on the combination of all these, Google might decide to refine the ads it displays. ( Please note that mobile devices use different location targeting parameters)

What is often misunderstood with location targeting, is that locally targeted ads wont always display to users physically located in a specific region.
For example someone in Australia searches on Google France for a plumber (plombier in French), the Australian user will be able to see the ads targeted to France, but not the Australian Ads
Another example, the same person in Australia, searches in Google France for the term 'Accommodation New York', the user is likely to see ads targeted at France, but also ads regionally targeted to New York, once again the Australian user is not likely to see Australian ads.

When setting up a location targeted campaign, it is important to remember these details to be sure to understand the audience of your ads.

Language Targeting Options

Targeting becomes more and more interesting (and complex), when you bring languages into the equation. Google offers the option to target up to 40 languages, which is great. To target ads at specific languages, Google looks at the language of the Google interface.
If you are not sure, which language is your interface set to, you can see your interface language settings in the URL when you make a search. Look for the following parameter in the URL "&hl=en" - in this case it is set to English.

Although it does not really apply to English speaking countries, this element need to be understood when looking at different languages as you might miss out on a large share of audience.
For example, you are an Australian retailer and want to sell your product in Spain, you target your campaign at Spain as a country. If you only target your ads at Spain in English, your ads wont be displayed to all users searching in Google Spain with their browser set as Spanish! This is more than likely to reduce the reach of your campaign.

Moreover if you want to use multi-language ads, it will be really important to set your campaigns properly to ensure optimum results.

Best Pratices for Language and Location Targeting

Lets say your products are commonly searched in English and Spanish and you want to serve ads in Spanish to Spanish speakers and English ads to English speakers.

First, you will need to set 2 campaigns targeting Spain as the location. The campaign using Spanish ads will have to target Spanish only and the campaign using English ads will have to target English only.
When someone searching in Google Spain with his interface set to Spanish, the Spanish ads will be displayed. If the interface is set to English, the user will see ads in English.
Now, it is also really important to look at the keywords as they will play a big role. If someone searches in English in Google Spain with a Spanish set as the language, the ads will only be displayed if the actual English keyword is integrated in the Spanish campaign targeting Spanish, so your Spainish campaign will need to include both English and Spanish keywords to reach any possible combination of language/locations.

To summarise, for multi-language campaigns, it is strongly advised to target each country and language combination with a specific campaign, but do not forget your keywords. This will help to target global users with the correct language and therefore have a much stronger impact in terms of CTR. Obvioulsy local landing pages in the right language will also be required to achieve better results

2 Comments:

Captivate said...

Hi SEO Sydney, greetings all the way from South Africa, good blog.. enjoying your writing.

What is the chances of getting recruited to AU from here, do companies accept that ?

Alban G. said...

Hi Captivate,

I have seen people being recruted from the UK so it is definately possible. However please note that you will need the appropriate visa to work. If you already have a permanent visa to work in Australia, it should be quite easy otherwise the company will sponsor you, which could be longer and more difficult.