The Ultimate Guide To Adwords Location Extensions

Adwords location extensions are a feature that allow you to dispaly location information about your business alongside your adverts. Here is an example.


Location extensions allow you to occupy more real estate on the first page of Google, which increases the chances of a searcher clicking on your adverts and subsequently increases your click-through rate.  Google themselves have suggested that it will increase click through rates for local searchers by around 10%.

location extensions usually work best for businesses that have physical locations and want to drive Clients to those locations.

With over 20% of searchers on Google for local information and 40% of searchers on mobile devices looking for local information . It is now more important than ever to display this information alongside your adverts especially if you are  a business with a brick and mortar location.

A popular industry study reports that 80% of consumer spending occurs within 50 miles of home. A joint Nielsen and Webvisible study shows that 50% of consumers head to search engines first when researching local businesses1. Another study, carried out by TMP Directional Marketing and comScore, finds that nearly 4 in 10 consumers visit a store in person after researching it online

If you are a local business and somebody has writen a review of their experience at that location then ratings from Google users will now be automatically shown in their search ads alongside their location extensions. This is currently only available on desktop and tablet devices, but not yet mobile devices. We therefore enocurange our clients to try to generate more reviews of their location, to learn more about doing this check out the section in our seller ratings extensions article.


Your adverts are eligble to show up to 3 location extensions due to Googles latest update in 2014. If there are several business locations in close proximity The extensions can display the street address and distance from the user’s current location. Users can click to call or get directions for each location

All of the location extensions are now must be added at account level and Google will then decide which is the most relevant location extensions to show to that particualar searcher. Previously if you have read an older guide you were able to add location extensions at campaign level, however these have been recently phased out.

Who should not use location extensions

Sounds great right? However there are some business types that will not necessarily benefit from using location extensions, Here is an abreviated list by Calos rodriguez from white shark media.

  • If you operate at the clients address such as cleaning services, then you may not want to use location extensions as it is unlikely that you want them to come to your address
  • If you are an ecommerce based business with no physical retail locations then you should avoid using location extensions. Location extensions are there to help people find your physical location, if you don’t have one then it is pointless to have them enabled and it will waste your budget.
  • Large multinational companies, If you have offices in multiple countires you should not be using location extensions. If you main focus is global and not local and you export your products avoid using location extensions.

How effective are location extensions?

3Q digital recently published a case study that looks into the effectiveness of location extensions at increase click-through rate and other adwords metrics. The account that they ran the test on was a national members organisation.

There results were quite impressive, the found that location extensions increased click-through rate by 25% in the two days following adding location extensions where no other changes were made. They did however note that there was a small increase in average position from 2.8 to 2.4 which may have accounted for some of the increase in click through rate as adverts that appear in higher positions naturally get higher click-through rates.

How to set up location extensions

STEP 1. To set up location extensions the first thing that you need to do is head over to your Ad extensions tab. Once you are here your need to go to the view dropdown and then select View: Location extensions.


STEP 2. Once you are here you need to click Add location extension. You can use the three tabs to choose if you want to add location extensions at account level (the location extensions will be added to all of your ads within your account) at campaign level (your locations extensions will only be added to adverts within a certain campaign) or thirdly ad group level (where you guessed it your location extensions will only be added to adverts within that ad group.


There used to two options here if you have read an older guide, you can either enter your location details manually or your can sync your locations from your Google places account to create your location extensions. However Google have recently sunset adding your locations manually and it is now only possible to create location extensions by liking your Google places account.

STEP 3. To add location extensions you must now create a Google places account by signing up at here. Click start now on Google and then create your listing. For you listing to show you must have verified your business location which means waiting for Google to send you a letter to your locations with the details you require to verify your account.

For a full step by step article of how to set up Google places you can read: Google Places 101 – A Guide for Local Businesses By Travis Loncar


STEP 4. Once you have done this the next step is to link your Google Adwords and Google places accounts together. This can be done by click the +Extensions button in the Ad extensions tab and then Loging into your your Google places account. You will be signed in with the default email that you are logged into Adwords with, however you can choose ”use a different account” if you use a different email address to log into your Google place account with.


If you have more than one business address in your account, you can set a filter to only use certain addresses in AdWords. You set these filters using the business names or categories from your My Business account. Once you have done this your location extensions should appear within your account. Google will automatically show the location closest to the searcher.

Location extension targeting

One very useful feature of location extensions is that they allow you to target target customers within a defined radius of your physical location and also set different bids for these searchers. This allows you to reach people who are local to your business who are likeley to become customers.

You can set up a different radius and different bid adjustments for your business with a certain location, such as all of your london shops.

To do this when you are setting up a new campaign, go to advanced targeting and then select ”location groups”. When prompted to choose the location group type select “my locations” and then set the radius around each location that you would like to target.


once you have a month or two’s data then you want to start optimisng your bids. You will need quite a lot of data here to make informed bid changes on how you want to bid geographically. You can view the performance of your ads by going to the settings tab and then to the locations sub tab.


You will now want to optimise your campaigns by adding bid modfiers. To determine how much you should raise your bids by I would suggest reading this excellent article called ”making good use of those location extensions” by  Carrie Albright  from PPC Hero

Location extensions not showing?

Have you setup your location extensions only to find that they are not being displayed alongside your adverts? There can be several reasons for your extensions not to be shown, the first is that naturally Google will not always show them.

Google uses an algorythm called Ad Rank to decide which extensions to show you adverts with, and will show the ones that are most likely to results in a click. So if on desktop devices you are more liekly to get a click with a call extensions and seller ratings then these will be shown insead. As a rule of thumb our clients location extensions are generally shown between 30-50% of the time.

If you Ad rank is to low however then you location extensions may not be shown at all, Ad rank is based heavily on your max CPC bid and your qualtiy score, so to improve the chances of ebing shown is to improve your Quality Score (this is what we would recommend doing) or alternativly you could increase your CPC bid.

Another reason for your location extensions are not being shown is that they may have been disaproved. To see if your location extensions has been approved view your location extensions within your ad extensions tab and then view the status column. If your extension has been disapproved then you should check why it violated Googles guidelines.

A final reason could be that you have linked your Adwords account with a Google Places account that does not have any business locations, or that you have set up filters in a way that has stopped your locations from being synced so you may want to review this to ensure that this is correcly setup.

Tracking the performance of your location extensions

Standard location extension report

There are several reports that show you the effectiveness of your locaction extensions. The most basic report is the one that can be found by going to Ad extensions > View:Location extensions. This will show you the data for the whole adverts when your location extensions were shown.


See how many users clicked on your ad extensions to get directions

This report allows you to see how many people have clicked get directions using your location extension. This shows a high level of intent for the searcher and is very valuable information for local businesses. This gives local businesses additional insight into the effectiveness of their ads.

To see this data for your location extensions then you will need to look at your click type report which will show you how many people clicked on your location extension to get directions to your store. To do this while viewing your location extensions go to segment and then from the drop down select click type.


You should then see a report that looks something like this where each location is broken down into the actions that users have taken, one of which will be users clicking on your location ad extensions to get directions to your store.


To view which adverts and keywords generated the most direction requests, Go to your keyword tab and view your keywords if you want to see which keywords generate the most requests or alternativly if you want to see which adverts generated the most requests then view your adverts tab.

Distance report

The distance report allow you to see how your location extensions have performed based on the disatance from your business that they were shown.  This report gives you all of the data that you would normally get in your reports including key metrics such as conversion rate, cost per click and cost per conversion.


To view this report the first step is to go to your dimensions tab. You then need to go the the view dropdown and then click View:distance and you should then see a report like the one above.


You can also determine the percentage of time that they show up by comparing the total number of impressions for a given time period, with the number of impressions when the location extensions were displayed.


Overall Adwords location extensions have been proven both by studies by Google and agencies using the platform to give strong CTR increases of between 10 – 25%. Given that Adwords location extensions can be set up in a matter of minutes there is no excuse for any advertisers not to be using this feature unless you don’t have a physical location, such as pure online retailers.

The In-depth reports that Google provide allow you to deeply analyse the performance of your Adwords location extensions based on a number of factors such as the distance the searcher was from your locations, the number of times users got locations as much more allowing you to accurately measure and test different extensions.

wesley parker
About wesley parker

Wesley is Founder and CEO at Clicteq. He currently manages a £6 Mil Adwords portfolio across a range of different sectors. He regulally features in leading search publications such as Econsultancy, Campaign Magazine and Search Engine Land. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Linkedin

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