Guillaume from the SEOmoz blog today talked about a very common problem with geo-targeted ads, the accuracy of user assigned IP addresses, in the post Google is losing hundreds of thousands of advertising dollars in Canada.
There have been many cases where a users IP address appears as a different region, sometimes hundreds of miles apart as I found when my IP address while in Brisbane was located in Melbourne! This is more of an issue in the UK where the geographical location of counties are obviously a lot smaller than a US state, leaving a narrower margin of error. The country of the IP address is far less of a problem as this is generally correct the majority of the time.
But in this particular case the location is Montreal in Canada, with the problem being:
“Ads not showing in Google-sponsored links because the IP is resolved in Ontario. This is caused because many Bell/Sympatico ISP servers delivering the Internet connection to Quebec residents are located in Ottawa and Toronto, and Google thinks the customers are located in Ontario and therefore won’t show the ads to them.”
With local search becoming a very important aspect of PPC advertising, Google really needs to improve the regionalisation of it’s ads, maybe (as suggested in one of the posts comments) by using information within a users Google login to determine the location of where a search is being made from or by forging a partnership with the larger ISP companies.
This has been a popular discussion in many forums, for example WebmasterWorld’s Google regional targeting, not so regional? post, and as an advertiser there are ways you can try to maximise the amount of traffic received from a geo-targeted region. One method is by running a campaign (in addition to geo-targeting) aimed at a larger audience (e.g. a country) and using localised keywords to ensure your ad will appear for all local searches, irrespective of the geographical location assigned to the IP address.