Allie Kraft

by Allie Kraft | Search Marketing Strategy

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could personalize your ad copy to fit the location of each search, without separate campaigns for each city or state? You’re in luck. Turns out, there are two underused Google Ads features that allow you to do just that. The features are called Geo Ad Customizers, and they allow you to create ad copy personalized for the region where your ads are showing, which can boost CTR and ad engagement.

If you provide a localized service, geographic ad customizers can help you speak directly to your searchers. Image via Pixabay.

What are Geo Ad Customizers?

Geo ad customizers allow you to leverage geographic data by dynamically changing ad copy based on the searcher’s location. For example, if you have a free shipping offer for your products, and someone in New Orleans is searching for that product, your ad copy will dynamically update to read “Free Shipping to New Orleans.”

“Wow! That sounds super cool! How do you do that?” – you (probably)

Geo ad customizers are easy to set up and easy to maintain. The first step no matter the route you take to geo-customize your ads is to decide what you want to put in the ad copy for the locations you are targeting.

  • One great use for these customizers is if you offer free shipping all the time (or a free shipping offer with set price limits). You can set your ad copy to say “Free Shipping to [searcher’s city],” making clear that the shipping offer applies to the searcher’s location.
  • Another great use is if you offer a service in just a specific set of cities. In this case, you could update your ad copy to read “Book Now for Next Day Service in [searcher’s city],” or “Order Now for One-Hour Delivery in [searcher’s city]” showing that you are available when and where the searcher needs you.

Once you have decided what you want your ad copy to display to the searcher, follow the remaining instructions below for two simple ways to dynamically insert locations into your ad copy.

1. Geo Ad Customizers for Responsive Search Ads (RSAs)

The easiest and newest method rolled out by Google to dynamically insert locations into ad copy is available for Responsive Search Ads [RSAs], only. To get started, create a new RSA, click into the headline you’d like to insert the location feed into, and type a curly bracket (“{“). From here, a drop down menu will appear with options to select from. Click “location insertion.”
Example of image insertion in headline spot

From here, you can select city, state, or country to display in the headline. It’s that easy!

However, there are two important things to note before you post your ad. Be sure you read through your headline from the searcher’s perspective. Does it make sense? If it was an ad for free shipping on running shoes, you wouldn’t want the headline to read as just the location “New Orleans,” or “Free Shipping New Orleans.” Ensure outside of the Geo Ad Customizer brackets, your ad reads well, like in the example below.

Example of ad reading well outside of brackets

The ad above would read “Free Shipping to New Orleans.”

The second important thing to think about, is what happens if Google is unable to return the searcher’s location, or what if the location returned sends the headline character limit over 30 characters? You will need to enter default text to show as a catch-all should the location insertion fail (gasp!). The default text is entered into the curly brackets after the location you have defined.

Example of entering a text default just in case Google can't pick up on location
Now, if all else fails, your headline will read “Free Shipping to Your City,” still creating a seemingly personalized ad experience for the searcher, improving the likelihood they will click on your ad. You are now ready to post!

Now what if you wanted to use Geo Ad Customizers in an ad type that is not an RSA?

2. Set up Geo Ad Customizers with a Location Feed

If you want to localize your ads outside of Responsive Search ads with an Expanded Text Ad, you will need to:
1) Get a list of the cities you plan to target in your ad copy.

  • Here is a nifty list of all the different location targets available in Google

2) In an Excel sheet, put your customized ad copy in a column before or after the “Target Location” column.

In the screenshot below, I’ve titled this column “Shipping (text).” You must put “(text)” after whatever you name the column. I also suggest choosing a one-word name for this column to make ad customization easier. This is your business data feed for upload to Google Ads.

You can also include multiple columns here if you want the ad copy to change between ad groups.
Example of excel sheet specifying target location

3) Once complete, go to the Shared Library and then to business data

4) Click the +Data dropdown and select Ad customizer data.

5) Name the feed something simple like “Geo” or, if you’re targeting a specific state, “Colorado” (or whatever other state you’ve created the feed for).

6) Upload and preview to make sure there are no errors.

7) Once you’ve set up your feed, you’ll need to create the ads to change dynamically based on your feed attributes.
  a) Like you did when inserting your location into an RSA, write your ads as normal, but reserve part of it for the dynamic line. I like to add the dynamic text in headline 1, 2 or 3 to make it as visible to the searcher as possible, but any part of the ad text will work.
  b) To reference your location feed, use the following format.
    i. {=Geo.Shipping}
    ii. In the screenshot below, “city list” refers to the name of the feed (not the file name) and “Shipping” calls out the column with the copy you plan to insert into your ads.

After you have uploaded and your ads are approved, you can test and troubleshoot your ads with the ads preview tool if you are targeting your own location.

Once again, that’s it! You’re good to go here and can start monitoring performance.

Geo ad customizers allow you to speak directly to consumers and call out your special offerings in their specific locations. Using them can be an easy way to boost searcher engagement and drive more sales. For more tips on PPC strategy, read our blog or contact our team.