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Archive for Adwords Regional Targeting’ Category



How Much AdWords Traffic Can You Get From NI/UK/IRL?

I wrote about this in a post from *ages* ago here :-

Here is some updated information on the sort of levels of traffic you could expect from Northern Ireland v Ireland v UK…

From Google :-

Reach is an estimate of how many people in a location could see your ads.

How it’s calculated: Your estimated reach may differ from census data, because reach calculates the number of unique cookies from people visiting Google sites. Reach also varies due to the number of devices or browsers per person, length of activity and number of temporary visitors to a location.

How to use it: The reach estimate should only be used to compare location targets. To estimate the number of ad impressions, try the Keyword Planner.


According to the 2011 census, population estimates for the regions (or countries if you prefer to call them that) are:

Estimated populations of the four constituent countries of the UK are 53 million people in England, 5.3 million in Scotland, 3.1 million in Wales and 1.8 million in Northern Ireland.

This means that NI should make up 2.85% of the UK population.

To keep this simple, let’s do the following:

  1. Ignore weird people like me who use more than one browser per device.
  2. Assume that people in Great Britain have on average, the same number of internet enabled devices as people in Northern Ireland.
  3. Assume that the ratio of internet users who regularly visit Google sites is the same for GB & NI.

Google reckons that the population of NI is 2.14% of the UK total.

This means that Google underestimates the Northern Ireland population by  25%*

At least part of this figure can be explained by BT incorrectly indicating that lots of people in NI are actually in Scotland, and every IP address I have ever had (with Virgin, Plusnet, and Three) has been an English one.

In theory this should improve as more people use mobile devices and share their location with Google and stay signed in to their Google accounts. But that’s a small comfort to businesses who want to be able to target the population of Northern Ireland Reliably right now.


PS – for the Republic of Ireland you are currently looking at being able to target approx 4.4 times as many people as you can target in Northern Ireland.



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Location Targeting In Google Shopping (UK) Part 2

Just over a month ago in this post, I complained about how the location targeting in Google Shopping was completely illogical (IP address overriding the location that was manually set by the user).

But guess what, Google listened to my feedback and fixed the problem! (OK, maybe it is just a coincidence…)

So, now, if you exclude a region in the UK as a location in your PLA campaign (or new Google Shopping campaign I assume), and a Google Shopping user happens to have an IP address which incorrectly indicates they are in that region, they can override this by specifying their actual location at the top left of the shopping results as shown below.

Google Shopping Location Selection

Furthermore, it seems* that they are now taking this user specified location into account when displaying ads in Google Search as well as in Google Shopping. Hopefully this will improve location targeting a great deal in the future as more people start to see Google Shopping results and specify their correct location in Google Shopping.

*On my PC today at any rate…

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Location Targeting In Google Shopping (Northern Ireland, UK)

I have a client who was wondering recently why their products were not showing in Google Shopping for them.

The have a product listing ads campaign (obviously). A region of the UK was added as a negative location in the product listing ads campaign.

The IP address of their office network happens to be in that excluded region.

OK, you think, it would be fairy logical for Google to assume that they shouldn’t be shown the products as their IP address in in the excluded region.

But, luckily, Google Shopping allows you to specify your location at the top left of the screen :-

[screen shot]

So this should override the (often incorrect) location information they have from the IP address, right? WRONG!

AdWords support have confirmed that (unbelievably) it is the case that if you have an IP address in an excluded area then this will over-ride anything that you set manually in Google Shopping.

Quite why they give you the ability to set the location you are interested in when they then completely ignore it is beyond me. It wouldn’t be so bad if IP addresses were in any way accurate in the UK but they are not (mine is now London, used to Sheffield, and I live in NORTHERN IRELAND).

When I eventually got AdWords support to understand the stupidity of the current set up they emailed me a link to add this as customer feedback…. Sigh..

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How Much Traffic Can you Get From The Different UK Regions (And The Republic Of Ireland)?

This used to be a difficult questions to answer, particularly for N.Ireland business.
You could use the AdWords traffic estimator, but when selecting ‘Northern Ireland’, you would often end up with zero clicks a day which wasn’t very helpful at all.

In a previous post on AdWords Geo Targeting, with a few un-scientific observations, I reckoned that Northern Ireland had a reach of around 0.66% of Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales).

Well we have to guess no more – as Google have finally given us ‘reach’ values when you are selecting which areas to target for your campaign.

Here are the UK regions (and Eire) :-

According to these figures, Northern Ireland currently has approximately 1.04% of the reach of Great Britain.

They also say :

Reach is an estimate of the audience in a location target, based on unique cookies. The reach estimate may differ significantly from census population data, because it is based on the number of users seen on Google properties. In addition, the reach estimate varies due to a range of factors, including the number of devices or browsers per user, the number of outside visitors to the selected location and the length of user activity.

This reach estimate should only be used as general guidance for determining the relative number of users in a location target, as compared with other location targets. To estimate the total number of impressions for your ads, try Traffic Estimator and DoubleClick Ad Planner.

So this is not intended to be a very accurate view of how many unique users there are, but it certainly, at the very least gives you a very good idea about the relative amount of traffic you can get from different geographical areas.

Or does it…..?

Here are the estimates for the whole of Northern Ireland, and for Belfast in Northern Ireland :-

Doh! It says that you can get about a third more traffic by targeting Belfast rather than the whole of Northern Ireland. There is something very wrong with that…

*Update* (25th January 2012)

Someone from Google has obviously been reading this post, and adjusted the figures for Northern Ireland and Belfast :-

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AdWords First Page Bid Estimates – UK v Republic Of Ireland

Anyone who is familiar with Google AdWords knows that the ‘First Page Bid Estimate’ for keywords is only a rough guide, but all the same, have a look at the following estimates for the same keywords in the same account:-



This is not an isolated incident either.

The Republic of Ireland is a much smaller market than the UK, but you will almost always find that you can get better value clicks there. So if you don’t already sell to the Republic of Ireland – you should at least look into it!

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My ‘PPC Northern Ireland’ AdWords Campaign Summary For March 2010

So, overall costs for me were  £8.17, which brought in 3 enquiries and one new customer (from Belfast).

My return on investment for these campaigns was 4284%.

The amount of time I spent monitoring and tweaking these campaigns during March was approximately 10 minutes.

That’s a return on my time and money that I’m pretty happy with.

As an aside, I have cut back on my spend in the Republic of Ireland, but only because in my line of business, face to face meetings are usually required…

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Adwords Phrase Match

Belfast Wheel

One thing not really made clear in the Google help about Phrase Match is whether it uses whole words as the basis for whether a search will activate your adverts.

Here is a snippet from

Phrase Match

If you enter your keyword in quotation marks, as in “tennis shoes”, your ad would be eligible to appear when a user searches on the phrase tennis shoes, with the words in that order. It can also appear for searches that contain other terms as long as it includes the exact phrase you’ve specified.

Phrase match keyword: Ads may show on searches for: Ads won’t show on searches for:
“tennis shoes” red tennis shoes
buy tennis shoes
tennis shoes photo
shoes for tennis
tennis shoe
tennis trainers

Phrase match is more targeted than broad match, but more flexible than exact match.

This is easy to follow. No Problems.


What if I want to target people who are searching for something “Northern Ireland” related.

There are a lot of different ways for someone to indicate they are looking for something specific to Northern Ireland.

For example, they could type in




and a lot of other similar phrases.

So say I sold  blue widgets in the Northern Ireland area, and wanted to be lazy, and catch each of the 3 combinations above, it might be logical to assume I could use phrase match and just put in my keyword list:-

“blue widgets n.i”

I’m afraid not…. Google reckons that “blue widgets n.i” is NOT a phrase match for the search term “blue widgets n.ireland”.  This seems a bit counter intuitive to me – but that’s how it works.

So if you do want to catch as much ‘Northern Ireland’ related search traffic as possible, it looks like you will have to build a big keyword list, or else rely on ‘broad match’….

In fact if you do live in Northern Ireland, here is a good starting point for your keyword list (Just replace the ‘Keyword’ text with ‘Blue Widgets’ or whatever is relevant to you:-

NI Keyword
N I Keyword
N.I Keyword
N.I. Keyword
N.Ireland Keyword
N. Ireland Keyword
Northern Ireland Keyword
Keyword NI
Keyword N I
Keyword N.I
Keyword N.I.
Keyword N.Ireland
Keyword N. Ireland
Keyword Northern Ireland
“NI Keyword”
“N I Keyword”
“N.I Keyword”
“N.I. Keyword”
“N.Ireland Keyword”
“N. Ireland Keyword”
“Northern Ireland Keyword”
“Keyword NI”
“Keyword N I”
“Keyword N.I”
“Keyword N.I.”
“Keyword N.Ireland”
“Keyword N. Ireland”
“Keyword Northern Ireland”
[NI Keyword]
[N I Keyword]
[N.I Keyword]
[N.I. Keyword]
[N.Ireland Keyword]
[N. Ireland Keyword]
[Northern Ireland Keyword]
[Keyword NI]
[Keyword N I]
[Keyword N.I]
[Keyword N.I.]
[Keyword N.Ireland]
[Keyword N. Ireland]
[Keyword Northern Ireland]

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Google Adwords Geo Targeting For Northern Ireland Continued…

Since the somewhat less than helpful reply from Google Adwords support on how accurate geo targeting for the Northern Ireland region is. I decided to so a small (very unscientific) test using the Google Adwords Traffic Estimator.

I typed in a number of keywords which I reckoned would get a relatively high search volume all over the UK (did I mention that this was very ‘unscientific’?)

Then I asked for traffic estimates solely for the ‘Northern Ireland’ region.  Here are the results:-


I then asked for the results from ‘England’, ‘Wales’, ‘Scotland’ :-


Which means that if Google Geo Targeting is to be believed, the number of Google users in Northern Ireland is approx 0.66% that of Great Britain, or that the population of Great Britain is approx 152 times that of Northern Ireland!

Here is the mid 2008 UK population statistics taken from

That is a BIG margin of error…

How do you get round this when setting up a Google Adwords Campaign that targets only Northern Ireland?

There is no perfect way of doing it *as far as I know*.

Adwords regional targeting now allows users that Google knows are physically located outside of your region to see your advert *if* they type in specific keywords that you are targeting in that campaign (provided you are specifying your geographic area using ‘Regions’ rather than ‘Custom’).

So, if I have a company that sells blue widgets, but only ships to Northern Ireland, I could set up a campaign that targets ‘Northern Ireland’, and has the following keywords (in summary):-

[blue widgets]

[blue widgets northern ireland]

[northern ireland blue widgets]

[n.i. blue widgets]

[blue widgets belfast]

etc. etc….

My Blue Widget advert will now show if someone with a Northern Ireland IP address types in “blue widgets” in Google.  It will also show if someone who has an IP Address located in Great Britain types in “blue widgets northern ireland” or “blue widgets belfast” etc..

To Summarise, if you are targeting Northern Ireland, and the AdWords Traffic Estimator tool keeps saying ‘Not enough data to give estimates’, then try targeting England, Wales and Scotland, then divide that result by 150 to get your Northern Ireland Estimates!

*Disclaimer* – Again, this is only a very rough estimate, and hopefully, with time Google will get better at targeting Northern Ireland as a region…

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