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Google Quietly Removes AdWords Places of Interest


Google AdWords / March 27, 2017

Some of you might have noticed that the AdWords’ Places of Interest option found under the “Location groups” section of Location targeting, has disappeared. No, it’s not a bug and no, you’re not losing your mind. To prove it, here are a couple of screenshots:



I reached out to Google today to find out what was going on. The rep I chatted with wasn’t aware of any changes, but after a few minutes of investigating was able to confirm that indeed, the Places of Interest option was no longer there.

It seems that Google quietly removed it and didn’t tell anyone. Even the Google rep I spoke with hadn’t gotten the news and confirmed; there was no documentation of the change at Google. In fact, the AdWords help file on geographic targeting still says you can target this way.

The rep I spoke with guessed that since this was a lesser known feature that wasn’t as widely used, Google decided not to make any noise about sunsetting it.

Not cool Google.

So What Now?!?

Before you start panicking, there is some good news. You can still target Airports and Universities, but you have a little extra work to do. Instead of being able to do so in one shot by picking the Airports or University option and choosing the whole United States, for example, you now have two options – neither of them as good as before:

  • You’ll have to search and add them one at a time as you would any other location
  • Or dig up a list of them and use the “Bulk locations” option (see instructions here).

Better than nothing, but still not cool Google.

What About Central Commercial Areas?

Unfortunately, those are gone for good. Google decided to completely remove the ability to target Central Commercial Areas for some reason. It’s a shame because here at Bloom, we found that more often than not, this form of targeting brought in higher CTRs, Conversion Rates and ROAS (Return On Ad Spend), so we were able to apply bid adjustments to get the most out of them. They tended to work especially well for e-commerce clients since we could reach people in active shopping mode who were searching from their mobile devices.

I checked to see if campaigns that had been targeting Central Commercial Areas still had them and they do (see screenshot below). For now, they are still collecting data, and we can still apply bid adjustments to them. I guess it’s only a matter of time before they disappear from campaigns altogether.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I figured you’d want to know.

Hopefully, Google will reconsider this move, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Although, the optimist in me hopes they’re coming up with some better way of targeting users on a geographic level.

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