You may have setup several Ad campaigns in Adwords. One of the setup options is related to Location. I did not give this one setting much importance. Instead, I would just enter the Country to target and forget about the rest. My assumption was that since I was “Targeting” visitors from just the one country, my ad would NOT be shown to anyone outside the targeted country.
Ignore this at your peril. To target tightly, click on “People in my targeted location”
For example, I have Ad Campaigns targeting users exclusively in the United States. Or so I thought! My assumption was wrong, but I found out the hard way.
Accidental Discovery via Google Analytics
I was researching my site bounce rate when I stumbled upon the fact that my Adwords Ad was being displayed to users outside my “Target” country. This was totally unexpected because I did not intend to do that. I was trying to reach a specific country, but instead it turned out that users in other countries were being shown my Ad. Because this Ad was not relevant to them, my bounce rate associated with such visits was higher than 70%!
Through my newly learnt skills at segmenting data, I was able to narrow down specifically 3 countries whose visitors were showing an extremely high bounce rate. Note that these 3 countries were NOT my targeted countries.
Once I uncovered these wasted PPC clicks, I was determined to find out why AdWords was showing my ad. My first impulse was “ha, I found a bug in AdWords!”. Ofcourse, on deeper reflection, that was untrue. A bug like that could be of huge proportion and would have been caught much earlier.
Needless to say, I went digging through my Ad Campaign Settings. Specifically, I was seeking the answer within the Location Options settings.
Location Options (advanced) explained:
As it turns out, I had not read the instructions clearly. Part of the reason I overlooked this setting was because of the “recommended” default. The “Recommended” default option allows the ad to be shown to anyone in my targeted location, but also to anyone who “shows interest” in your targeted location. To make this clear, say you are selling “medicinal soap” through your Ads. Your “Target” country is United States. All is good so far, but what happens when a user searches for “medicinal soap in usa”? You guessed it right, the Ad is displayed.
What does this mean for me? In my case, I want a very tight control over what target country my ad is displayed in. Hence the “Recommended” defaults was not apt for my situation. I believe my choice would be “People in my targeted location“.
This setting would make sure that the Ad is never displayed outside of the Targeted country.
Also, keep in mind that the same settings apply for “Excluded” countries as well. The logic is the same, just conversely.
As I stated earlier, I was not looking at AdWords settings initially. My goal was to figure out why the bounce rate was so high for my site. This may be a small factor, but I am excited to see if the bounce rate will be lower, atleast for visits from the Adwords CPC medium.