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.

  • 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 operator's proxy server, we may use the operator 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 mobile ID (mobile phone mast) location database: Used in the absence of Wi-Fi or GPS. Accuracy is dependent on how many mobile phone masts are located within an area and available data, and some devices don't support mobile ID location.
Locations that 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), even if the person isn't physically located in the location.

Some examples of how we might detect a location of interest if a user does any of the following:

  • Includes the name of a recognisable location in her search.
  • Searches within an area of the map on Google Maps or Google Maps for Mobile.
  • Sets a custom location for Google search results.
  • Uses a country-specific domain, such as (France), without including another location in the search. This will indicate the country specified in the domain (France, in this instance) as a location that the person may be interested in.
  • Views content on the Google Display Network related to a geographic location. A location mentioned on a page may not always indicate interest in that location. For example, someone who is reading news about Melbourne isn’t necessarily interested in ads for Melbourne florists. For that reason, we'll determine location from a limited set of pages when we believe that it can be useful for targeting your ads.

Location of interest isn't restricted to the country that the user is located in, or the Google search domain that the user is searching on - for example, if someone in Paris, France searches for London taxi on (France), we'll still identify London as a location that they're interested in. Since the search was performed on, it's also possible that they'll see ads for the keyword London taxi that are targeted to France.

Recent locations

We may estimate an approximate physical location or a location of interest and serve relevant ads based on a person’s past searches or physical location, if they’ve enabled these features.

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 cities

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

Ads on and

Location targeting works differently for users who search on and

Related articles


Was this article helpful?