How ads are matched to geographic locations

  • AdWords allows you to target customers in the geographic locations that you've chosen, so your ads can appear in the areas where you do business.
  • Location can be determined either by someone’s physical location, or locations that they’ve shown interest in (known as locations of interest).
  • You can use your advanced location options to choose whether you’d like your ad to appear for someone’s physical location, locations of interest, or both (which is the default setting).
Where your users are located (physical location)

The AdWords system uses a number of factors to determine someone’s general physical location and whether to show your ad. When possible, we determine general physical location based on someone's computer or mobile device location, or other methods.

  • IP address:

    Location is typically based on the Internet Protocol (IP) address, which is a unique number assigned by Internet Service Providers to each computer connected to the Internet.

    If a mobile device is connected to a Wi-Fi network, we may detect the mobile device's IP address to determine physical location. If the mobile device is connected to a mobile carrier's proxy server, we may use the carrier IP to determine the device's location.

  • Device location:

    If users have enabled precise location sharing on a mobile device, we can detect the device location, and use on the search network, from one of the following sources based on availability:

    • GPS: Accuracy varies depending on GPS signal and connection.
    • Wi-Fi: Accuracy should be similar to the access range of a typical Wi-Fi router.
    • Google's cell ID (cell tower) location database: Used in the absence of Wi-Fi or GPS. Accuracy is dependent on how many cell towers are located within an area and available data, and some devices don't support cell ID location.
Locations your users showed interest in (location of interest)

If the AdWords system detects geographic areas that someone is interested in, we may show appropriate ads targeted to that area or surrounding areas (known as location of interest).

Some of the ways that we might detect a location of interest are based on:

  • Terms used in searches that indicate a location.
  • Past searches that indicated a location of interest.
  • A person’s past physical locations.
  • The content and context of a website where an ad is displayed. Keep in mind that the mention of a location on a page doesn't always indicate an interest in that location.
  • Searches on Google Maps or Google Maps for Mobile.
  • If someone sets a custom location for Google search results.
  • If a person uses a country-specific domain, such as

On the Google Display Network, we may infer a location associated with a page or site when we believe it will be useful for targeting your ads. A location mentioned on a page may not always indicate interest in that location. For example, someone who is reading news about San Francisco isn’t necessarily interested in ads for San Francisco florists. Similarly, we might infer an interest in a location, even if that location isn't specifically mentioned on a page, but the context of the entire site indicates an interest in that place.

Location of interest isn't restricted to a person's country, or the Google search domain the person is searching on. For example, if someone in Paris, France searches for Los Angeles taxi on (France), we'll still identify Los Angeles as a location she's interested in.

Advanced location options

The default advanced location option in AdWords will use both physical location or location of interest to determine where ads can appear. You can update your advanced location options at any time.

Related areas

When you target an area, we may also show your ad to customers in nearby, closely related areas that normally couldn't be targeted because of low population, insufficient data about the geographic area, or because that level of targeting isn't available. For example, if you target the city of Portland, we may also show your ads to searchers in nearby suburbs of Portland.

Ads on and

Location targeting works differently for users who search on and

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