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Is Google showing your ads on areas you did not target?

7:19 am on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Recently, I suspected a lot of invalid clicks in my account and I just learned this new one that Google is showing your ads to areas you did not include in your targeting. If it's true, then do we have to pay for the clicks accrued by our ads on areas we did not target? Had anyone experienced this kind of situation?
12:06 am on Sep 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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if i target japan with the keyword sushi (broad)
my ad will show for the search sushi in japan anywhere in the world
thats just the way the targeting works
1:45 am on Sep 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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thank you cyberandroid. is there any other way of preventing your ads from showing to other counties you did not target?
3:54 am on Sep 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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use exact match only
9:56 am on Sep 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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A couple other cases where the ad shows outside a country you've geotargeted:
- google.co.uk/google.de/google.ca show ads for the UK/DE/CA market even to those outside the UK/DE/CA
- google.com/products shows ads for the US market even to those outside the US
- etc.

There are probably a bunch of other situations like this too. I think these contribute a relatively tiny number of impressions, though, so it's nothing to get overly concerned about.

4:21 pm on Sep 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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its more significant when your targeting cities vs countries though

but your info is spot on about countries Rehan

6:13 am on Sep 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I only see this in the search network. Almost seems to be broken in that network.
10:38 am on Sep 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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in the search network its a differant problem
alot of us just turn the search network off
many of the search partners dont support targeting properly

its like a milkshake made with half of the finest vanilla icecream and half sludge

is the good worth the bad?

8:21 am on Sep 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've experienced the same problem in my content campaigns as well where I was targeting one state and getting major amount of clicks from some other state.
Google rep was supposed to get back to me on this issue..which never happened!
In case of a search campaign, they pass it off as "query parsing". Doesn't make sense to me anyways!
1:35 am on Sep 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

supposing I turn off the search network, how about those ads that will appear on the content pages? there are thousands of those sites and no matter what i do on the targeting, still my ads appear on those content pages in my targeted and non targeted regions.
2:24 am on Sep 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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well then turn off both
search network and content
8:06 am on Oct 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I already turned off the search networks. Thanks cyberandroid. I'm just wondering if Google will lower my placement on the content network because i paused the search networks?
10:25 am on Oct 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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in a word
8:03 pm on Oct 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I target United States and English language. In my content campaigns I was receiving traffic from .uk domains. I wrote to Google yesterday and this is the response I got:


When determining where to show your ads, the AdWords system looks at a user's Google interface language setting to see if it matches one of the languages that your campaign targets. For example, only users whose Google interface language is English will see ads in a campaign targeted to English.

Each Google domain's language setting defaults to the language most commonly associated with that Google domain. For example, Google.com defaults to English, Google.fr defaults to French, etc. Users can change their Google interface language via the 'Preferences' link next to the Search Bar on the Google homepage.

The Preferences link on the Google home page allows users to choose the language in which they want to search. When the user sets the language preference, Google only displays ads that are targeted to the chosen language. If the user does not specify a language preference, the Google domain (like Google.fr) determines the default language preference (in this case, French).

Since the UK and the US both speak English, there is no way to differentiate this within your account.


The Site and Category Exclusion tool lets you prevent your ads from showing on individual websites or categories of web pages in the Google content network.

We realize that all AdWords users have different preferences and that some advertisers may want to avoid appearing on web pages featuring certain kinds of content, such as UK domains. We offer this tool so that you can enjoy the benefits of advertising on the content network while still precisely controlling your targeting.

Learn how to use the Site and Category Exclusion tool at [adwords.google.com...]

8:04 pm on Oct 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

And as a follow up I was sent this after asking more about geo targeting:

If you choose the United States as your geographical targeting, that means the IP address has to be in the Unites States when they search. However, a user could be in the United States but search on Google.uk instead of Google.com. Does that make sense?

You can target by geo-graphical area (ie: United States) and by the language (ie: English) but you can't differentiate between domains (.com, .org, .edu, .uk).

I hope it is helpful.

8:48 pm on Oct 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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sanfrankid94102 use negative keywords that relate to the uk
5:51 am on Oct 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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That really helps. I followed cyberandroid's advice by turning off the search network. I also noticed that most of my conversions came from the content network and out of the 100%, I only got 0.44% in the previous month. Now my ads won't be appearing on searches on Google and search network. How about you? are you guys doing good on the search network? I'm also using site exclusion tool and excluded those sites that has a high traffic on countries that i did not target.
It takes a long process of identifying those sites but it really helps. Now I'm thinking of developing sets of negative keywords.
7:59 am on Oct 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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im glad things are working
reading this thread i am unsure whether i should take the credit though

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