Location-based advertising on Google: how does it work?

Google, the most popular search engine in the world, is also a very powerful advertising tool. Thanks to its Google Ads advertising network, the American giant offers advertisers the possibility to create particularly effective local digital campaigns. But how does location-based advertising on Google work? DeepReach explains all.

Location-based advertising on Google: how does it work?
Location-based advertising on Google: how does it work?

What is Google Ads ?

Google Ads is a platform for creating paid digital advertising. Thanks to its features, it is possible to create advertising at a local level.

A powerful advertising network

Search Engine Advertising (SEA) refers to all advertising links on search engines. It is undoubtedly the most effective way of promoting a company's products or services by positioning itself via an online bidding system on specific keywords. As Google is the most popular search engine in the world, its status gives it a definite advantage in connecting advertisers with their communication targets.

The American giant has a range of tools for creating contact points between brands and Internet users, including platforms such as YouTube and DV360. These can be used to increase the number of calls received, increase the number of visits to a shop or increase the number of visits to a website.

However, the platform that remains the keystone of any digital strategy is Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), because of its power, targeting possibilities and comprehensive range of features.

Based on user queries and the keyword planning tool, Google Ads enables advertisers to address their local business challenges: 

  • in-store traffic ;
  • sales ;
  • brand awareness;
  • prospecting or product availability information.

Geo-targeting in SEA

Geo-targeting is based on a simple principle: adapting your communication, an offer or a service in accordance with one or more localities.

Google Ads makes it possible to establish these geographical targets in order to run campaigns with optimal local precision.

Through its platform, Google offers three types of targeting zones:

  1. Country targeting : which allows advertising messages to be displayed in one or more countries at the same time.
  2. Targeting by national geographic zones : to communicate on a region, a country or a city.
  3. Targeting via a radius around a specific geographical point determined in kilometres.

Geographic targeting is an essential parameter in the development of a digital strategy. It allows the performance of advertising campaigns to be optimised while reinforcing the link of proximity that exists between brands and Internet users.

What are the limitations of Google Ads locally and how can they be tackled?

Although Google Ads does allow advertisers to create effective campaigns, the platform nevertheless has some limitations. There are solutions to counter these and complement the local marketing strategy.

Media mix

Google Ads is a tool that has revolutionised digital marketing strategies, especially local ones. It is still indispensable, but no longer enough when it comes to implementing retail marketing and point-of-sale marketing strategies. Nowadays, internet users alternate between Facebook, Instagram and other social networks and media. To be fully visible, even with a limited local budget, it is imperative to have a balanced media mix.

Moreover, the most used social network in the world also has its own advertising platform, Facebooks Ads. It allows ads to be displayed on Facebook and Instagram and thus reach a target group in a well-defined geographical area.

The pressure of advertising

When we run global campaigns, each geographical targeting strategy incorporates the same parameters, which leads to identical advertising pressure for each point of sale. However, a digital ad will not have the same impact in London as in Northumbria : the targets, the objectives and the media's audience share are totally different!

The solution for advertisers is to run several campaigns for each outlet. This is a very complex and time-consuming task, especially when the number of locations to be promoted is substantial. However, some companies specialising in local marketing, such as DeepReach, are making the job easier for advertisers thanks to their advanced technology.

The establishment card

Formerly known as Google My Business, the business listing complements Google Ads as part of a local marketing strategy. The business listing helps businesses to gain local visibility on Google and Google Maps. It appears on the first page of the search engine and provides useful information about the business such as address, opening hours and customer reviews. This digital showcase provides visibility and reassures Internet users who are more likely to visit the site or go to the point of sale.

Solutions for optimising Google Ads in local marketing

There are tips for boosting the effectiveness of Google Ads in a local marketing strategy.

Media balancing

Media balancing is the optimisation of an advertising campaign by regulating the budgetof each media (Google Ads, Facebook, Waze, programmatic...) according to their individual performance. Media balancing can be done manually by a traffic manager, but machine learning now offers the possibility to automatically detect possible adjustments and operate them at a much faster pace.


Each geographical area behaves in a unique way and media strategies to reach its audience effectively must be geared as close as possible to the point of sale. This is why it is necessary to adapt the advertising pressure to each area. Simply put, a point of sale means a dedicated campaign with its own parameters and its own ads. When one outlet works better than another, the budget is more concentrated on that location.

Google Analytics

The search engine has many features including Google Analytics, a free dashboard that displays the results and performance of a website. By connecting Google Ads to this analytics tool, advertisers have access to a wealth of useful information about the customer cycle. This allows them to obtain data on the performance of campaigns (number of impressions, clicks, conversion, etc.). With this valuable information, it will be easier to optimise location-based advertising on Google.  

In summary, Google Ads is undoubtedly a very effective advertising network, but it is not in itself sufficient. It is important to leverage other tools such as geo-budgeting and media balancing as well as the use of analytical data in order to achieve better performance in local marketing. Secondly, a media mix strategy reinforces the digital presence through channel diversification. Finally, for even more optimisation, campaigns should be personalised for each locality!