Local ads refer to a Google Ads campaign type that helps you reach potential customers within a specific location, like a neighborhood, town, or district. Read on for best practices, expert insights, and more.

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For brick-and-mortar stores and local services, local audiences are highly valuable because they can convert online, over the phone, or in person. This gives you greater potential to convert leads and generate more revenue.

But first, you have to reach those audiences.

According to Oberlo, 81% of consumers research products online before making a purchase decision. Using Google Ads Local campaigns, you can reach local audiences when they are in this research phase of the buying journey and attract more potential customers to your physical locations.

Let’s discuss why Google Ads Local campaigns are right for your business and how to take action. Get a grasp on vital best practices for reaching wider audiences with Local ads and which businesses these types of campaigns are best suited to.

3 reasons to use Google Ads Local campaigns

Local ads give you many options for reaching audiences in various places within the Google search network. And while having options is great, what other reasons are there for using Google Ads Local campaigns?

Local search ads are more effective than other ad assets for many businesses. There are a variety of reasons for this, but here are “the big three:”

1. Relevance

Relevance is the key to any Google Ads campaign success. Not only does it improve your click-through rates (CTR), but it also impacts your Quality Score.

By using local audiences in your Google Ads, you add the element of relevancy through location, making it almost guaranteed.

2. Intent

Targeting audiences with the right search intent is essential to creating high-converting ads.

Local keywords often have high intent, which leads to faster conversions. For example, if a user searches for “hamburgers near me” or “family lawyer in my area,” it usually indicates that they want a lawyer (or a hamburger) right away.

3. Competition

Google Local Campaigns are targeted at people in a specific geographic area. This narrows down your audience significantly and makes competition for these keywords less than ad campaigns targeting several cities or whole states.

What is a Google Ads Local campaign?

A Local ad is a Google Ads campaign type that helps you reach potential customers within a specific location, like a neighborhood, town, or district. Ideal for service companies or businesses that want foot traffic, you’ll only reach those audiences within a certain distance of your specified location.

Using keywords with localized intent (such as ‘near me’) along with geo-targeting, Google Ads Local campaign strategies ensure that potential customers in your desired location are served your ads.

Map tacks magnified

These campaigns effectively reach audiences within a specific location, like a neighborhood, town, or district. (Image: Adobe)

To create local ads, you simply enter your business locations, add a campaign budget, and upload creative assets.

Google’s machine learning technology can even help automatically optimize your campaign bids and ad placement to make new campaign setup simpler. But here’s the thing: to make the most of your local campaigns, you’ll need to continuously monitor, manage and optimize them.

Local campaigns can be delivered in various formats and appear in the following Google Properties:

Where do Local ads appear?

One of the distinct advantages of this campaign type is the wealth of Google properties your ads will appear on. Since you appear all over Google, you’ll be able to catch your customers at the right time, wherever they may be shopping.

Google ads local ad for dentist

Google Maps

Have you ever typed a search like “restaurants near me” into the search bar on Google Maps? Users often search on Google Maps for places to go in their local area. This can vary from a local pizza restaurant to a dentist that offers Invisalign services.

Local service ads on Google Maps help attract potential customers to your location when they plan to visit different destinations (score).

Navigation ads within Google Maps show people relevant information about your business concerning the services or products they’re searching for within Maps. They then give potential customers relevant information to help them reach your location.

Google Search

With Google Search ad placements, your ads are displayed to folks searching for terms relevant to your business and location.

For example, someone may search for the term “Pizza in Brooklyn.” If you have a restaurant that offers pizza in the Brooklyn area, you can use keyword targeting to reach users who search for this term.


YouTube ads allow you to reach users who recently searched for certain terms, products, or services on Google.

For example, if you are the owner of a plumbing service, you could reach people on YouTube who recently searched on Google for ‘plumber in Manhattan’ with custom intent audiences.

You can deliver local ads to users and attract potential customers to your shop who have already demonstrated search intent.

Google Display

Your business can also display ads in relevant locations within the Display Network. This includes thematically fitting publishers, YouTube, and more.


Local campaigns can also reach Gmail users on mobile.

Who should use these campaigns?

Local ads are a dream come true for some businesses.

If you have a service-based business and work with clients in the local area, or if you’re a shop looking for more in-store visits, Local campaigns were made for you.

Small business owner at entrance looking at camera

If you have a service-based business or if you’re a shop looking for more in-store visits, Local campaigns were made for you. (Image: Adobe)

Not only that, but if you want to expand your business into a new region or open a new location, Local ads may be the perfect marketing tool to help you reach audiences in those areas.

Here’s a list of industries that typically thrive with Local ads:

Home services

Maybe you offer home cleaning, home repairs, electrician work, plumber services, or are a renovator. No matter your home service, your audiences will likely be around a specific geographical area. People who need home services will search locally for a close business that offers the home services they are looking for, which is why these businesses should use locally targeted ads.

Healthcare services

Medical providers like dentists, doctors, and psychologists typically have clients with a high degree of urgency. Therefore, Google search engine users on the hunt for medical services have a high chance of converting.

By successfully implementing a Google Ads Local campaign, medical service providers can deliver ads with relevant details about their center that will help users decide when and where to reach the services they need.

Google Ads may significantly improve lead quality and help your medical center build valuable relationships through building brand awareness and reaching clients when in need.


Restaurants are another business type that predominantly relies on local customers. Google Ads can increase your online presence and become the first point of contact for new customers.

By implementing a local PPC strategy for your restaurant, you can get in front of audiences at the right moment – when they’re hungry and searching for somewhere to eat.

Real estate

Real estate agents in both the residential and commercial markets are a natural fit for local ads. Whether your customers are looking for a new home, apartment, or office for their business, they will probably start their search online.

Local PPC is hugely beneficial to real estate agents because they rely primarily on specific locations, cities, and regions and local ads give you the ability to target these areas.

Local PPC ads are a great option for the above-listed businesses or any others that have audiences in specific locations. Typically businesses such as restaurants and medical services can afford to invest in local ads because the cost to acquire new leads is low compared to the lifetime value that a new client provides.

With that in mind, let’s consider how much your business should invest in Local ad campaigns.

How much should you spend on these campaigns?

New to Local ads? Google recommends you set a budget of $10 to $50 per day.

There is no minimum budget for Google Ads Local campaigns, but it’s hard to see results from a very low budget of, say, $10 a day.

That said, Google’s guidelines are a good place to start, and you can absolutely begin at the lower end if that’s what your budget allows. As you accumulate more data, you will be better informed to create a budget that meets your goals.

Pro Tip: If you’re just starting with Google Ads, check out our PPC guide .

person online shopping with credit card

There is no minimum budget for Google Ads Local campaigns. (Image: Unsplash)

For example, let’s say you are a local car insurance salesman and your average cost per click (CPC) is $25. If your goal is to get six quality clicks per day, you would then want to set a daily budget of $150.

The longer you run a Google Ads campaign, the better equipped you will be to build and optimize your Local ads, and you probably want to set a higher budget. The more campaigns you run, the more data you will have to work with. And if there’s one valuable thing when creating a Local ads campaign, it’s data.

How to reach more customers with Google Ads Local campaigns

To get the most out of the budget you set, campaign optimization is key. Here are some best practices to help you reach a larger audience with your local ads.

Create a Google Business Profile

You’ll need to create a Google Business Profile (formerly a Google My Business account) for your company if you don’t have one already.

This business profile allows you to create a full profile of your business that will be displayed in Google searches. You can include information such as your business address, phone number, restaurant menu, hours of operation, and more.

Creating a profile is not only beneficial for your PPC strategy, but it’s also a great tool to leverage in your local SEO.

Another plus of a Google Business Profile listing is that it will help you include site extensions with your PPC ads.

Optimize your ad copy with extensions

You want your local ads to grab a potential customer’s attention. With local ads, you might find that users don’t want to visit your website. Instead, they may want to call you or get directions to your store.

By using ad extensions in your Google Ads campaigns, you can quickly give customers this information and allow them to call you or get directions by simply clicking on the extension within the ad.

Some extensions to consider are:

  • Call extensions
  • Location extensions
  • Callouts

Exclude locations

Google Local ad campaigns not only allow you to include locations, but you can also exclude them – and you should.

If certain areas in your geographic location are underperforming, you may want to exclude them from your campaign to make better use of your budget and improve ROI.

Ideally, you will simply exclude areas that don’t have the same relevance to your business as others. For example, if you offer landscaping services, you probably want to focus on the suburbs as the people who live there are more likely to have a garden or outdoor space.

You can then exclude the urban areas within the region you are targeting, as they most likely won’t have a yard.

Multiple store locations

Do you have multiple locations? You don’t have to advertise just one. Boost store sales by creating a local campaign for each location you own.

Create more ad groups

Don’t rely on just one set of creatives. Create several ad groups testing copy and creatives. Split testing will help you optimize your campaigns.

Leverage location

Google offers many ways to target geographic locations. There’s radius targeting, which can be used to reach a radius around your store or a particular location. Or, you can target neighborhoods, zip codes, or cities.

Use all of these options to your advantage to reach your potential customers. Don’t rely on just one location. Divide your service area into smaller areas. This will allow you to call out locations, landmarks, and regionally relevant things, and use Google Analytics to see how different locations perform.

Optimizing Performance Max for Local

Now that Performance Max campaigns have taken over for Local Ads, there are some things you should do to ensure your ads are fully optimized for local traffic.

Use store visit conversions

Most of the time, we optimize for online actions, but if you have a brick-and-mortar store, you should be optimizing for local store visits. This type of conversion will allow you to understand your campaigns’ full return on investment (ROI).

Store visits are measured when someone is signed into their Google account and has their location history turned on in the settings. Then, they visit your store, and Google connects their visit to your ad campaign.

Measure call clicks

Calls are important to businesses with physical locations. It’s probably a no-brainer to measure if you take phone orders, but you should measure call clicks even if you don’t. Why? Because people call for directions, inquire about your products, and ask about your hours. These interactions go beyond a click to the website and show you your potential customers’ interests.

Use assets that make sense

Make sure you add assets (extensions) that add value and make sense for your business. Here are some examples.

  • Affiliate locations – if you sell through other stores or have locations within other stores, this will be useful for you.
  • Call extensions
  • Location extensions – so your customers can find you easily
  • Promotion extensions – use these to tell customers about your latest sales

Bidding strategy

Choose bidding strategies that match your goals. For instance, use maximize conversions with store visit conversions to increase foot traffic to your store.

Or, use maximize conversion value and assign values to calls, store visits, and other meaningful interactions. Then, you can measure the value of your campaigns.

Use offline conversions

If you use a CRM, measure offline conversions to match conversions with your campaigns.

This can be done in several ways, including connecting your Google Ads account and your CRM or uploading the conversions manually. Doing so will help you better measure your ROI.

The takeaway

Google Ads Local campaigns (now Performance Max campaigns) offer remarkable opportunities to local businesses that, while not as vast as global campaigns, can be much more impactful.

Local ads help your business reach customers with high buying intent who are searching for services with urgency. Given their lower competition, reach, and ROI, Google Ads local campaigns are a must for many types of businesses.

Digital marketing is an art. Would you like help setting up local Google Ads campaigns? Get in touch.


This article has been updated and was originally published in February, 2023.

Shire Lyon

Shire Lyon

Shire is a passionate writer and marketer with over eight years of experience as a writer and digital marketer. She's well-versed in SEO, PPC, and social media, helping businesses both big and small grow and scale. On her downtime, she enjoys hiking, cooking, gardening, reading, and sailing.