Google announced today that they would be making a few changes to the location targeting feature in AdWords starting July 8, 2011. Location targeting for account campaigns grew into 17 new countries back in February and since those additions, Google has been seeking out ways to continue the expansion of this feature in ways that make it “more accurate, easier to use and more flexible.”

The upcoming changes will affect the following:

  • Existing available locations: Based on recent changes in geography (i.e. abolished provinces in Finland), you may lose the ability to target certain locations that were previously available. However, you will still be able to target specific cities in those areas. There will also be an automatic migration that will occur in your account if you target one of the locations being eliminated to a new targeted location if you don’t make the settings changes manually yourself.
  • Multi-point targeting: The ability to make “free-form” targeted areas is being eliminated by the end of 2011. Again, this will be a rolling process that will completely terminate the feature by the end of the year. So, you can proactively change your current multi-point targets to available locations, or Google will migrate your settings to one of those locations at year’s end.
  • ‘Show address in ad’ feature: Some countries allow you to check an option to add an address to your ad for campaigns targeted around certain map points. That option will no longer be available to AdWords users, however Google does offer up their alternative: location extensions.

Again, these changes are not slated to begin rolling out until July 8, 2011, but all advice coming from Google says to start making your location targeting settings changes as soon as possible to prevent any last minute problems from negatively affecting your account.

How do you think this change could affect your account? Do you think the possibility of eliminating locations that can be targeted could cause a drop in CTR overall due to less targeted ads? Or do you think you can optimize your remaining account settings to overcome the changes? Share your ideas below in the comments section and tell us what you think!

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