Google: "Not being used effectively"
Google Ads Product Liaison Ginny Marvin @GinnyMarvin announced this change to location targeting in tweets yesterday:
"The option to exclude “Presence or interest: People in, regularly in, or who’ve shown interest in your excluded locations” will be removed. We’ve heard that many found this confusing & saw low performance impact. Campaigns will still exclude people in your excluded locations."
"This update comes after a testing period & interviews with dozens of advertisers and agencies of varying sizes across a range of verticals to understand current usage & performance impact. The changes will align location targeting settings across campaign types."
I suspect that one reason this targeting option isn't being "used effectively" is that people either don't know this setting exists in Google Ads, or don't fully understand the implications of it for targeting and conversions, and run campaigns with it enabled when they should not.
If your business is located in the Island of Manhattan (a borough in NYC) and you're trying to attract customers who live or work nearby, you don't want to be showing your ads to people who are located miles away but have shown an "interest in Manhattan" - like they might want to visit next summer. Because that will only get you wasted clicks, no new customers, no conversions, no sales.
Beginning in March, Google will migrate campaigns now using "Search Interest" targeting to "Presence or Interest" targeting, and campaigns that use the "Presence or Interest" exclusion to the "Presence" exclusion.
These changes will be applied to Search, Display, Performance Max and Shopping campaigns.
Google notes that "you may experience an increase in reach" after these changes kick in. That means your ad impressions and clicks may increase - raising ad spend - but with lower conversion rates. Watch that carefully.