Google Ads Local Targeting: Now you can reach local customers near your business

by Toby

December 10, 2021

local geotargeting with google ads

Find, and Grow Local Customers Within A Short Radius Of Your Business

Geotargets + Local Behavioral Targets

If you’re a business that draws the majority of its customers from within a local radius of your location, Google provides excellent advertising options to reach more of your ideal customers. 

Who is this post for? 

Any local business owners that needs to attract more local customers, create more local awareness of the company’s products and services using Google’s local ad targeting options. 

It’s a missed opportunity to not leverage these Google ad tactics as a local business. But doing so will improve the ROI of your ad spend, grow sales, and increase repeat visits - most KPIs (key performance indicators) that local businesses want to improve. 

If you’re an independently owned business, these ad segmentation tactics will help you compete against local and national brands, many of which are not dialed in on hyper local digital marketing tactics.

So if your customer base is local and you need more customers this should be part of your media mix of local digital marketing tactics. 

Geotargeting To Only Those Areas Where Your Customers Live and Work

Here’s a suburb of San Diego called Poway. I typed in the Poway zip code of 92064 to target only people in that area. Google has 150,000 people in that zip code.

google ads geo targeting a specific zip code

Google Ads geo targeting a specific zip code

Or perhaps your customers are only within 2 miles of your business. You can use the Pin Drop method and set your own radius. Here’s an example with a 2-mile radius. You can drop the pin anywhere you like.

google ads using pin drop to geotarget specific radius

Google Ads using pin drop to geotarget specific radius

But you can decrease that targeting size all the way down to 1 mile or 1km, and conversely, expand it out to your needs as well. The options are many for you to find just the right geotargeting and cut any waste out. 

Plus, when you are focused on a specific geographic area, you can customize your advertising so it speaks to that audience. For example, “Hey Poway, come see what’s new in our store.” 

Google Ads Campaign Jumpstart

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Layer Demographics Targeting To Narrow Down To Your Ideal Local Customer

Google has improved its demographic targeting abilities over the years. It continues to provide more detailed and granular options for advertisers that want to reach local audiences.

These options are similar to the more well-known Facebook demographic targeting options. Facebook has always had the most robust demographic targeting abilities but Google is definitely offering advertisers some comparable options. 

Remember this about Google, it has lots of data about people. Like more data than the God of your choice. 😉

Here’s a shortlist of how Google collects such relevant demographic data on a massive scale:

  • It has the number one mobile phone operating system with Android and by a massive margin over its nearest competitor (far more than Apple and iOS). As a result, it collects all sorts of consumer data from including where someone goes on a daily basis, to their purchases, online viewing habits, and more 
  • Almost every website in the world has Google Analytics installed which is collecting user behavior data on hundreds of millions of websites
  • Gmail is one of the largest email providers so it collects that data as well
  • And finally, it pulls all these information sources together combined with predictive AI and Machine Learning to produce a juggernaut of effective local targeting options for businesses

Targeting Your Ideal Customer Segments

Here are some of the demographic options to layer on to your geotargeting and help you target only your ideal local customers. 

  • Parental Status - with the drop-down on ages of the children
  • Marital Status
  • Education level
  • Homeownership
demographic targeting options in Google Ads

Demographic targeting options in Google Ads

We can segment based on all ages of kids in the household.

segment on age of kids in household Google Ads

Segment on age of kids in household Google Ads

Or, perhaps relationship status matters as a characteristic to your ideal customer. Are they Single? Married? Or “in a relationship.”

segment and target based on relationship status Google Ads

Segment and target based on relationship status Google Ads

What type of education level does your ideal customer have? Is targeting based on education level important?

target Google Ads to people based on education level

Target Google Ads to people based on education level

Perhaps whether they are homeowners matters? Do they rent or own? You can target on that too.

google ads segmentation target homeownership

Google Ads segmentation target homeownership

Drill Down Further With Behavioral Targeting To Find More Local Customers

So those are the core demographic targeting options. However, if you need to drill down further, and perhaps reach people lower in the funnel (closer to buying right now from you), you have even more options available.

Keep in mind, though, as you layer on more targets it’s possible that your audience may get too small.

Google Ads behavioral targeting

Google Ads behavioral targeting options

Affinity Segments

Affinity can you help you find people that Google knows based on past behavior signals (where customers are going daily, what stores they visit regularly, purchase habits, sites the customer visits often, and more) that indicate they would be interested in what you’d offer.

For example, perhaps you’re a beauty salon (related post here on using Facebook Ads for Beauty Salons and another post here on Google Ads For Beauty Salons), offer massage, or you do lash extensions, there’s an Affinity segment for Beauty and Wellness:

Google Ads affinity segments for targeting

Google Ads affinity segments for targeting

Or perhaps you’re a restaurant and want to target fast-food diners - there’s a target for that, too:
(a related post here on Google Ads For Restaurants)

Google Ads behavioral targeting for fast food diners

Google Ads behavioral targeting for fast food diners

This is the type of segmentation you’d typically associate with Facebook’s ad platform that Google now offers. 

In-Market Audiences - People Actively Searching  For Your Product and Services Now

In-market audiences are different from Affinity audiences. These segments comprise of people that are actively searching and researching right now for products and services that you offer. 

Here’s a partial list of the hundreds of options available to you. 

Google Ads Targeting In-Market Audiences

Google Ads Targeting In-Market Audiences - People Searching Now For Your Products and Services

In keeping with our theme of beauty salons from above, you can further drill down into more niche behavior signals. For the beauty category, here’s what’s available to you: 

Google Ads In-Market Audience Beauty Customers

Google Ads In-Market Audience Beauty Customers

And here’s an additional category - Life Events. And then down selecting further to Moving which is under Life Events. 

Moving is an excellent in-market signal as people that move have unique needs. In addition, people that have recently moved establish their shopping habits right away so this can be a great way to reach these people early before your competitors.

For example, this would be a great category for restaurants (related posts here on digital marketing for restaurants). People need to eat and likely are not setup yet to cook in their new home. 

Or what about a daycares/pre-schools business targeting parents that have young kids that recently moved? You have to get’em interested in your business early before they sign up elsewhere.

Google Ads Behavioral Targeting People That Moved or Recently Moved

Google Ads Behavioral Targeting People That Moved or Recently Moved

The targeting options are plentiful with high rewards for sales for those advertisers that have discovered these options. 

Overall, Google has excellent demographic and behavioral targeting similar to what Facebook offers its advertisers. 

Putting ad dollars here will grow your total customer base beyond what it would otherwise. Most importantly, if you’re using any traditional marketing tactics, this will cut out much of the waste in print advertising that is so prevalent. 

But remember, the best marketing campaigns layer multiple digital tactics. 

About the author 

Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

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