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Google Ads Changes Location Reporting

Google has recently “simplified” the location reports in the Google Ads UI by consolidating Locations reporting into one report. The old Geographic and User location reports are rolled into it.

A dropdown on the Locations report allows the filtering of performance data by the targeted locations or the matched locations (for a campaign or the full account):

  • Targeted locations show performance of the locations you’re targeting.
  • Matched locations show the locations matched based on either the user’s physical location or location of interest.

For example, if someone in New York searches for “restaurants in Paris,” Paris would show as the matched location, if that’s what’s being targeted in the campaign.

But how does the advertiser see the user location of “New York” now? As that’s no longer available in this reporting it’s now necessary to create a custom report in Report Editor to perform the important performance audit by user location.

There are five levels of “user location” data in Report Editor:

  • Country/Territory
  • Region (state, province, etc.)
  • Metro area
  • City
  • Most specific location target (post code, city area, etc.).

“User location” options can only be added to a custom report and filters can be added to weed out zero-click or impression locations to see where money is being spent. Depending on the location option settings, a wide range of user locations may be visible.

This is a valuable step to save spending money in unprofitable locations: filter by performance for campaigns with one or more conversions to see user locations that are converting and/or filter ad groups with zero conversions to see what user locations aren’t converting. Or you could filter by cost to see where you’re spending but not converting, etc. Those locations can then be excluded by adding them as negatives.

The big limitation here is you can’t filter these reports by location. That means there is no report of just the locations where users were outside of your target areas and your ads were either triggered by interest or “regularly in.”

Google’s assertion that these changes are a simplification is somewhat misleading, as it’s no longer as straight-forward as previously to determine (and then exclude) poorly performing locations. This now needs to be done by creating a custom report to see the only vital location performance stats that are still available.

It’s therefore now critical to now create a User Location report in Report Editor and regularly audit it to ensure you aren’t wasting money in unexpected places.

If you want to know more about effective Google Ads management, and how using the updated Report Editor and Custom reports can help your business’s online performance please get in touch.

Related article: Google AdWords Location Targeting Options