Why are searchers outside my target locations seeing my ads?

This improvement stems from an overlooked default setting, hidden deep inside the Google Ads interface.

One of the campaign settings in Google Ads allows you to choose whether a campaign targets only targeted locations, locations a user is interested in, or both. By default Google selects both.

For example, if you were a local Las Vegas business targeting the city with your ads, by default your ads would actually be triggered by people all over the world who ‘show interest’ in Las Vegas.

‘Show interest’ could mean reading an online news article about Las Vegas, checking out web pages of other businesses based in Las Vegas, being previously present in Last Vegas, or even just searching Vegas-related terms. Sometimes this setting is a useful driver of business — if you’re in the travel and tourism industry, for example. But sometimes, it’s a waste of spend and could be pushing up your CPA for very few (if any) extra conversions.

If you want to check out the setting yourself, you can find it by selecting a campaign and navigating to Settings > Location > Location Options.

How does this improvement work?

This improvement will appear for campaigns using the default setting: showing ads to ‘People in, regularly in, or who've shown interest in your targeted locations’. Opteo will analyse each campaign, comparing the CPA of those present in your targeted location to the CPA those interested in the location.

When the CPA of searchers merely interested in your location is significantly higher (30% or more) than the CPA of searchers physically present in your location, Opteo will suggest you stop your ads from showing to those searchers only interested in your target location.

To help you decide if you'd like to push this change live to Google Ads, Opteo calculates how much you're expected to save over the next month, the expected reduction in CPA, and the number of conversions you may lose (if any).

To make sure we’re looking at a combination of the freshest data but with enough volume to be able to make a decision, Opteo will:

  • Perform a ‘Minimum Clicks’ calculation which looks at, on average, for this campaign (or campaign group), how many clicks it take to get to 3 conversions (minClicks = (1/AvgConvRate)*X). For example, if a group of campaigns has an average conversion rate of 10%, then minClicks = 30 clicks.

  • Check multiple lookback windows of 90, 180 and 365 days. In our example above, if a campaign has achieved 30 clicks within the last 90 days, Opteo will perform an analysis looking at this most recent data only. However, if we cannot get enough volume looking only at the last 90-days, then Opteo will check the last 180 and then the last 365 days as well.

  • If the campaign still doesn't meet the minimum clicks threshold, Opteo will group up similar campaigns (those in the same campaign group, targeting the same interest and presence locations and the same advertising network) and aggregate that data to populate the improvement.

Completing this improvement will refine your location targeting, so your ads only show to those physically present in your targeted location. All campaigns affected are listed within the improvement task.

Technical Notes

Opteo only recommends this improvement if:

  • The location of interest cost is at least 2% of the total campaign cost.

  • The campaign is not a smart campaign.


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