Like it or not, Enhanced Campaigns are coming, so now’s the time to start figuring out how to make the new system work for you. (Tip: PPC Associates have already shown you some Enhanced Campaigns workarounds and how to get keyword-level bid adjustments.)

One of the best features of the new system is the ability to fine-tune your geo-targeting with location bid adjustments. If you have chosen to keep your account structure relatively simple, these bid modifiers are a godsend, offering the ability to customise bids without overcomplicating your account.

location targeting bid adjustments

One of the best parts of Enhanced Campaigns; we’ll break down how it works.

How Do Location Bid Adjustments Work?

You have the ability to either increase or decrease bids for all of your targeted locations by a specific percentage.

So, for example, you have a campaign that targets New York, Newark and Staten Island. New York drives significantly more conversions, and they are well below your target CPA. On the other hand, the CPA for Staten Island is above your target CPA.

You have worked out that splitting these areas into separate campaigns wouldn’t deliver a good enough return to justify the increased workload, but you still want to improve these campaigns.

With the bid modifiers, you can increase your bids in New York by 10%, while decreasing your bids in Staten Island by 2%. This would make an ad group bid of $1.00, $1.10 (1.00 x 1.10) in New York and $0.98 (1.00 x 0.98) in Staten Island.

If you are also making use of mobile or ad schedule bid adjustments, your different bid adjustments will be multiplied together before they are applied to your bids.

For example, for your New York, Newark and Staten Island campaign, you also choose to decrease mobile bids by 10% and to decrease bids by 30% on a Sunday.

So your bid adjustments for mobile users in New York on a Sunday would be:

10% (1.10 – for location) x -10% (0.90 – for mobile) x -30% (0.70 – for Sunday) = -31% (0.69).

This would make your ad group bid of$1.00, $0.69.

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that AdWords does not simply multiply the percentages – they convert your percentage to a decimal number. When trying to figure out how your bid modifiers will interact, be sure to do the same to avoid potentially frightening numbers like this one:

10% x -10% x -30% = 3000%

Currently these are all set at the campaign level – there’s no sign that the ability to target individual ad groups with mobile bid adjustments will be rolled out to the location bid adjustments.

How Do I Set Up Location Bid Adjustments?

Setting up your bid adjustments is relatively easy: simply navigate to the Settings tab of the campaign you’re working on. You’ll notice there is a new sub-navigation: All settings, Location, Ad schedule, Devices – you need to select the Locations tab.

You’ll have a list of your targeted locations, with a column for “Bid adj.”, click in this column next to your chosen location and choose to either increase or decrease bids by a specific percentage.

If you need a little extra help in understanding how to do this, I’d suggest that you watch this video by Kayla Kurtz that walks you through the process.

How Do I Know What Adjustments to Make?

The Locations tab does give you some insight into which areas get the clicks, but you’ll notice the conversion data is MIA. While you can access some conversion data using the Location details drop-down menu, this isn’t going to give you the most comprehensive data possible.

Before you think about modifying any bids, take the time to analyse your data. Use your Dimensions reports to understand how your campaign performs in the different regions.

Note: it is vital that you understand what locations settings you’re using and how this is impacting on your accounts. Be sure to identify whether traffic is physically located, or merely interested in, a certain area before you make decisions.

Using the data you’ve found you may decide that you need to:

– Reduce bids for areas that over-spend and under-perform.

– Increase bids on areas that deliver big wins.

– Add specific locations that are currently captured by radius targeting but that need a different bid.

Once you’re armed with the best possible information, adjust away! Just don’t be tempted to set and forget your bid adjustments. Be sure to keep reviewing your geographic performance so that you can be sure you’re getting your new bidding strategy right.

– Katie Saxon

Leave a Comment


Katie Walton is Head of PPC at Boom Online Marketing. She works with all major PPC platforms, loves Excel and never met a cake she didn’t like. When she’s not at work you’ll find her walking her miniature schnauzer.