You already know that it is possible to use Google ads and online marketing to reach your local customers.

With Google ads, there are several different tactics you can use so that your local audience is reached more effectively. You’ll have to use a few features that are designed specifically to reach a location based audience.

It’s best to hire a great PPC management company to help you optimize your local campaigns but here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to understand more.

What are Local Campaigns?

Different from a traditional local advertising campaign, a local Google ad campaign is based on your Google My Business location. While traditional local campaigns involve setting up billboards or running prints in the local newspaper, a Google ad campaign is completely online, but still only visible to your local audience.

By using automated features, your local Google ad campaign can have its own unique geographic area, keywords, and target audience. This is easy to set up, thanks to Google’s easy to use system and features. With a local Google ad campaign, you can customize your ad, create your own daily budget, and let Google know whether you’re targeting people who want driving directions, to make a phone appointment, or visit you in-store.

Google can also track how many of your ad viewers actually follow through and visit you in-store, make an appointment, or complete whatever other goal you have in mind.

Although Google does track who visits your store offline, one of the best methods for seeing the success of your campaign is by choosing driving directions. This will tell you who is actively searching for how to get to your business.

With a local Google ad campaign, you have four different platforms to show your ad on: Display, Search, Maps, and even YouTube. You can run the same campaign across all platforms and reach an audience that uses any of them.

Requirements for a Local Campaign

So you want to run a local Google campaign, but need to know what the requirements are before you commit? There are actually very few requirements for setting up a local campaign and they aren’t difficult to fulfill.

In order to run a local Google ad campaign, you need a filled out and completed Google My Business account. It’s basically a Google file on your local business and includes everything such as phone numbers, addresses, hours, photos, links, and maps to your physical location. If your want your campaign to run as smoothly as possible, you’ll want to make sure everything is completed.

Your Google My Business account will give Google all the information necessary to run your local ad. Without an accurate and updated My Business page, Google may not be able to run your ad. Because Google has such specific needs for running local business ads, there are a few other eligibility requirements you must meet in order to have the local Google ad campaign available to you.

Here are some of the other eligibility requirements Google will expect you to meet:

  • Have at least 10 physical locations
  • Use active or affiliate location extensions
  • Link your Google My Business account with your Google Ads account
  • Have a certain number of clicks per month

If you don’t meet all the eligibility requirements, you won’t see the option to run a local campaign. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for smaller businesses to use this feature, but there are still other ways to run an ad targeted for your local audience.

Successful Google Ad Campaigns for Local Businesses

Before you launch your local business ad campaign, here are a few tips to get your google ads campaigns sent off in the right direction.

1. Google Tag Manager

Using Google tag manager can make tracking your conversions a breeze. Google Tag Manager will keep a record of all the users who successfully complete the task you want from them.

If your goal is to get someone to sign up on a form, Google ads will track the number of people that successfully fill out the form. If your goal is for someone to complete an order or make an appointment, Google will track that as well. Whatever your goal is with the ad, Google will track the number of successful conversions (people who complete this goal) in one easy to find place.

There is the option to create and install the tag yourself, but using Google Tag Manager makes the process so much easier. Unless you have sufficient experience in creating tags and tracking conversions, we recommend you stick to the readily available Google option: Google Tag Manager.

2. SKAG-based Structure

SKAG stands for Single Keyword Ad Group strategy, which is a fantastic way to create specific ad campaigns that can be refined by match type. If you aren’t looking to invest in targeted keywords, then go ahead and disregard this tip.

For advertisers that have specific keywords and targets in mind, you will want to take advantage of the SKAG strategy.

With SKAG-based strategies, you create local campaigns that are highly specific and able to be refined by match type. It works particularly well for local campaigns as it can allow you to narrow down the open audience to just those that are local. It keeps your Google ads relevant and local.

To get an idea of how SKAG strategy works, here’s an example with a florist shop:

  • Campaign: Flowers
  • Ad Group: Florists near me
  • Keywords: “florists near me”, [florists near me], +florists +near +me

Here, the ad group chosen is “florists near me” so the keywords are designed to fit different match types. You can use many different ad groups and change the keywords if you want which is why SKAG-based structure is fantastic.

3. Call Extensions

With local ads, it’s likely you’ll want people to call your business or at least have the option available. Fortunately, it’s easy to set up call extensions for your ad.

By going to the extensions option in your ad page, you should be able to find the call extension pretty quickly and enter the number you want potential customers to be able to reach.

When setting up your call extension, you can edit it so the call option is only available during certain hours. Don’t want to get a phone call during your lunch hour? Set up the extension so that during that time, the call option doesn’t appear on your ad.

You can also customize it so it reflects your business hours, but in a way that doesn’t affect when your ad is shown.

4. Keyword Research Tools

It should go without saying that you need to research your keywords for Google ads before choosing them. A keyword that you think may be relative to your business may not actually get you the results you want.

While there are many paid research tool options available, Google provides a free tool that you can use and it’s just as great.

When you use Google’s free Keyword Planner, you have a better sense of which keywords get a higher traffic flow than others. It’s easy to use and can save you frustration when it comes to picking and choosing your keywords in your local campaigns.

To use Google’s Keyword Planner, select the ‘Tools and Icons’ button and look for ‘Keyword Planner’ in the menu.

From there, type in whichever keyword or keywords you want to investigate and click enter. You can edit the location to see how popular certain keywords are in your area and see the estimated conversion number, clicks, impressions, cost, and other metrics.

5. Google Trends

Another great online advertising resource to use is Google Trends. This can help you understand how current world situation or trends are affecting different searches and queries.

Just go to and type in the search or query you’re interested in.

From there, you can change the location to match your own and see a general overview of how often people are making a similar search.

6. Refined Targeting

Although targeting is important for all online advertisements, it’s even more important for local business ads.

You’ll have a much narrower and more refined target audience and your goal will be to reach those that are as close to your business’s physical location as possible.

In order to refine and edit your target location, click on the left-hand menu and select locations. Under the ‘targeted’ option, choose regions and locations you want to target.

You can determine how big a region is or select the radius option and decide how far your audience can be to still see your ad campaigns.

For businesses that have multiple locations, you can set up several different target regions or radiuses around each of the various store locations.

There is also an option to show your ad to people that are not only searching for your target area, but people who are regularly in your target area.

You can find this option by expanding the ‘Locations’ and then ‘Location Options’. You’ll see three different choices and can choose whichever one you think will best fit your local campaigns. Within the same section, you can choose a people group to exclude.

7. Organize and Optimize Your Website

If your website is not easy to navigate, you’re going to have some problems with conversions. When you’re running a local ad campaign, you want to make sure your website is optimized and organized so that your customers can find what they’re looking for.

When optimizing your website, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of users will be on their smartphones. Don’t forget to create a responsive version of your website for smartphone users or you’ll see a lowered amount of conversions.

With an optimized website, Google will give you a higher Quality Score which can affect how often and how high up your ad is shown. You’ll be a step up from competitors and when you’re paying for your keywords, every little bit helps.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to leverage the power of local Google ads to bring in potential customers and more foot traffic can be a game changer for your local business. If you need more help or ideas, don’t hesitate to call us. Our digital marketing agency would love to give you some suggestions.