Google Ads Targeting Options Explained

Digital Marketing » Managed PPC Marketing » Google Ads Targeting Options Explained

Google Ads is an online advertising platform that businesses can use to create and display ads on Google’s search engine results pages, partner websites, and YouTube. For local service businesses, Google Ads can be an incredibly powerful tool to increase visibility and attract new customers.

This article will help local service businesses understand and optimize Google Ads targeting options. By optimizing your targeting options, you can ensure your ads are being seen by the people who are most likely to be interested in learning more about your products or services. We’ll compare some of the different targeting options available in Google Ads, including location targeting, audience targeting, and keyword targeting, to help you better understand how to use these options to create more effective ad campaigns that reach the right people and generate more leads.

Understanding Google Ads Targeting Basics

Targeting is a crucial part of creating successful Google Ads campaigns. By targeting your ads effectively, you can ensure that your ads are being displayed to the right people at the right time, increasing the likelihood of clicks and conversions. Google Ads offers a variety of targeting options to allow you to customize your campaigns to reach your ideal audience, including:

  • Location targeting: Target specific geographic areas, such as cities, regions, or countries.
  • Audience targeting: Target specific groups of people based on their interests, demographics, behaviors, and more.
  • Keyword targeting: Target specific keywords or phrases related to your products or services.
  • Device targeting: Target specific devices, such as mobile devices, desktops, or tablets.
  • Time targeting: Target specific times of day or days of the week.

Targeting options impact the success of your ad campaigns in several ways. More effective targeting can increase ad relevance (whether or not your ads are being shown to people who care about seeing them) and engagement (whether or not people who see your ads choose to click, share, comment, etc.). Better targeting can also reduce costs and improve your ad campaign’s return on investment (ROI).

Geographic Targeting for Local Businesses

Geographic targeting is essential for helping local service businesses ensure that their ads are being shown to customers who are located in their area. Using location targeting, businesses can target specific geographic areas such as cities, regions, or zip codes to increase the relevance and effectiveness of their ads.

To set up location targeting in Google Ads, navigate to the settings tab in the campaign you want to adjust and select “locations.” From there, you can choose the geographic areas you want to target or exclude from your campaigns.

To refine geographic targeting for more precise results, you can also use advanced targeting options such as radius targeting, which allows you to target specific areas around your business. Additionally, you can use location-based ad copy and keywords to further increase the geographic relevance of your ads.

Demographic Targeting

Demographic targeting is another key aspect of using Google Ads to reach your ideal customers. By targeting specific demographics such as age, gender, and household income, you can create more relevant and effective ad campaigns.

You can use Google Ads to target a wide range of demographics, including age, gender, household income, parental status, and more. By selecting the right demographics, you can ensure that your ads are being shown to the types of people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.

To select the right demographics for your local service business, start by learning about your target audience and their characteristics. Analyze your existing customer data and conduct further market research to identify the demographics that are most relevant to your business. From there, use Google Ads’ targeting options to refine your campaigns and ensure that your ads are reaching the right people.

keyword research

Keyword Targeting and Match Types

Keyword targeting is critical for successful Google Ads campaigns. Keyword targeting ensures that your ads are shown to people who are searching for specific words or phrases related to your business’s products or services. It’s essential to understand different keyword match types, as they determine how broadly or narrowly ads are matched to search queries.

The four keyword match types in Google Ads are broad match, phrase match, exact match, and negative match. 

  • Broad match reaches the widest audience and includes variations of the keyword.
  • Phrase match targets more specific search queries. 
  • Exact match is the narrowest and targets only exact search terms.
  • Negative match prevents ads from showing up for irrelevant search queries.

To select the most effective keywords and match types for your local service business ads, start by researching relevant keywords and their search volumes. Use more specific match types for highly relevant words or phrases to increase the odds of potential customers seeing your ads. It’s also important to monitor and refine your keywords regularly based on performance.

Audience Targeting

Audience targeting is another powerful targeting tool that helps you find potential customers who are likely to be interested in your products or services. Google Ads offers several audience targeting options, including affinity audiences, in-market audiences, and custom intent audiences.

  • Affinity audiences group users based on their interests and online behaviors.
  • In-market audiences include users who are actively searching for products or services similar to those your business offers.
  • Custom intent audiences group users based on specific keywords and URLs they have shown interest in.

To create and implement audience targeting strategies for your Google Ads campaigns, start by analyzing your existing customer data and conducting market research to identify relevant audience segments. From there, set up audience targeting in the Google Ads platform and refine your targeting options based on performance data. Don’t forget to regularly monitor and adjust your audience targeting settings to optimize your results.

Device Targeting

Device targeting is also crucial, as today’s consumers use a variety of devices to access online content and make purchases. By targeting specific devices in Google Ads, you can ensure that your ads are being shown to users on the devices they use most frequently.

To set up device targeting in Google Ads, navigate to your campaign’s settings and select “devices.” From there, you can choose to target or exclude specific devices, such as desktops or mobile devices.

Here are a few tips for optimizing your device targeting efforts:

  • Analyze your ads and landing pages to ensure they look and function great on each type of device. 
  • Adjust your ad bids for specific devices based on performance data to maximize your campaign’s ROI. 
  • Use device-specific ad copy and creative to increase the relevance and effectiveness of your ads on each type of device.

Dayparting and Ad Scheduling

Dayparting is a strategy that allows you to schedule your Google Ads to appear during specific times of the day or week — typically when your target audience is most likely to be online and searching for your products or services. This strategy can help you optimize your business’s ad spend and increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.

To determine the best times to run ads, analyze your customer data to learn when your target audience is most active online. Consider factors like time zone, seasonal trends, and buying habits, test different ad schedules, and monitor performance metrics to help you refine your strategy and optimize results.

Remarketing and RLSA

Remarketing and remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) are powerful tools that allow local service businesses to re-engage with potential customers who have previously interacted with their brands. By targeting these users with relevant ads, you can increase brand awareness and drive conversions.

To set up remarketing and RLSA in Google Ads, you need to install a remarketing tag on your website to track user behavior and create audience lists. From there, you can create campaigns that target these audiences with specific messaging and offers.

To use remarketing and RLSA more effectively, segment your audience lists based on behavior and tailor your messaging and offers accordingly. You should also use ad copy and creative that is both relevant and compelling to encourage users to take action. Furthermore, monitoring performance metrics and adjusting your targeting and messaging can help you optimize your remarketing and RLSA results.

Testing and Optimizing Your Targeting Strategy

Testing and optimizing your Google Ads campaigns is critical to ensuring that your targeting strategy is effective and driving the best possible results for your business. By continually analyzing campaign performance and making data-driven adjustments, you can improve your ad targeting and increase your campaign’s ROI.

You can use Google Ads reporting tools to track key metrics such as click-through rate, conversion rate, and cost per acquisition. Use this data to identify which targeting options are performing best and which areas may need improvement.

It’s important to continuously improve your targeting by testing different targeting options and adjusting your bids according to the results. Experiment with different ad formats and different messaging to discover which combinations resonate best with your target audience. To refine your targeting further, consider geographic and demographic trends.


Well-planned targeting options are key to a successful Google Ads campaign. By utilizing the various targeting options available in Google Ads, you can reach the right customers, at the right time, with the right message — resulting in higher conversion rates and better ROI.

By leveraging targeting options such as geographic targeting, demographic targeting, keyword targeting, audience targeting, device targeting, and dayparting, you can refine your campaigns and connect with your ideal customer base. To ensure the effectiveness of your targeting options, you should continually test and monitor campaign performance. By monitoring the performance of different targeting options and fine-tuning your campaign strategy accordingly, you can achieve the best possible ROI.

About The Author

Masha Mahdavi

Masha Mahdavi

Masha Mahdavi has over ten years of experience in digital marketing. She has worked with clients across a variety of industries including legal, medical, retail, and local businesses. Her focus is on working with clients in highly competitive niches and generating ROI through data-driven strategies, search engine optimization, paid search advertising, and paid social media.