Understanding ad reach

  • Reach is an estimate of the number of users within a selected location target, based on unique cookies.
  • You can use the provided reach numbers to get a rough idea of how many users your AdWords ads could reach within a geographic area.
  • Get details on how to target areas that have limited reach information.

How reach works

With reach, you can estimate how many customers can see your ads in Michigan or Montana, or compare the number of people who might see your ad in Detroit and Ann Arbor. You can use those estimates to decide whether you've targeted the right areas, or if you need to select other areas that may provide the right level of exposure.

When you search for or select a location to target in AdWords, you'll find the location's estimated reach in the Reach column. You may also find some locations have limited reach, which means that ads targeting these locations may have a more limited audience.

Targeted locations

Tip

Reach estimates should only be used as general guidance for determining the relative number of users in a location target, as compared with other location targets.

How reach numbers are estimated

Reach in AdWords is based on an estimate of the number of users seen on Google properties within the specified geographic area. Therefore, you may find that reach numbers in AdWords may differ significantly from census population data or other sources due to a range of factors, including:

  • Number of devices (such as computers, laptops, mobile phones, or tablets used to access the internet) per person. Devices may be shared by multiple people.
  • Number of web browsers (such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer) used per person. Web browsers may be shared by multiple people.
  • Number of temporary visitors to a geographic location.
  • Length of time each person spends on a website.
  • Cookies (possibly deleted or expired) that double-counted or didn’t record a person’s visit.
  • Search partner or Google Display Network visits which aren’t included in reach number estimates.

Reach numbers should only be used as general guidance to help you compare how many people are within a location target relative to other location targets.

Tip

Reach helps you estimate the total number of people you could potentially reach with your ads, but it won't be able to tell you the total number of impressions your ads could receive. To estimate the total number of impressions for your ads, check out the Keyword Planner for search campaigns or the Display Planner for ads on the Google Display Network.

Working with limited reach locations

For some locations, you may see a "Limited reach" warning in AdWords. Limited reach means we aren't able to associate people with a selected geographic location by their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Possible reasons include a low number of users in the location, or the quality of IP to location mapping.

Targeting areas with limited reach

Limited reach may be due to low population in an area, or limited information about IP address mapping. But, this doesn't mean that you can't target customers in locations with limited reach. Your ads can still appear if you choose to target using search intent. This means your ads can appear when someone searches for related location terms along with your keywords.

Example

John currently lives in Los Angeles, and he's planning to visit Andover. He wants to find a place to stay in preparation for his trip, so he searches for "Andover ny inn" on Google. Because he used the location term "Andover" in his search, Molly's ads appear in his search results.