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Locate Your Audience in Minutes with Google Fusion Tables

When it comes to advertising on AdWords (or other search engines networks), it’s all about “Location, location, location”. It doesn’t matter about how good your advert is, if your advert doesn’t appear in the right places, it won’t perform well.

  • AdWords location targeting places your ads in geographic locations that you choose, such as: countries, areas within a country, a radius around a location or postcode, or location groups.
  • Location targeting helps you focus your advertising on the areas where you’ll find the right customers, and restrict it in areas where you don’t – which could help increase your return on investment (ROI) as a result.

Target ads to geographic locations

It pays to reach your customers where they are and where your business can serve them by using accurate location targeting. You can set and then adjust your location targeting settings in most advertising systems.

I often get asked to identify the best geographic areas for targeting from addresses of previous or existing customers. It’s easy enough to do when the number of customers is small, but when it is in the thousands it can get tricky.

Geocode location data

Geographic data that describes a location must be geocoded in order to place it on a map.

In the past, the process of outputting customers to a Google map was time-consuming as it required help from developers to geocode location data via a third party service.

This was a common issue for marketers, but thankfully a much quicker and easier option is now available; using Google Fusion Tables.

Visualise hundreds of locations in minutes

Visualising a large table of locations is now much easier thanks to Google Fusion Tables. Similar to pasting a description of a location into Google Maps, Fusion Tables automatically begins geocoding when you visualise the location on a map. Google Fusion Tables also allow you to import data from an Excel spreadsheet and display it on a map.

Pictured below is an example of a map created using Google Fusion Tables. The map – created in just a few short minutes – shows hundreds of plotted customer postcodes.

Visualisation of customers on Google Map

Note: Maps with hundreds or thousands of addresses or postcodes will take longer to generate.

Build a map in 5 easy steps

  1. In Google Drive, start a new Google Fusion Tables document. If you don’t have the Google Fusion Tables app installed, click on New > More > Connect more apps.

Connect app

  1. Search for ‘fusion tables’ app in the apps search and connect Fusion Tables (experimental) app.
    Search for fusion tables app
  1. Create a new Google Fusion Table.
    Create table
  1. To import a table with postcodes into Google Fusion Tables, browse for a file with postcodes on your computer. (I used a delimited .txt separated file, but you can also upload Excel or Google Drive spreadsheets)

Import postcodes

  1. Press ‘Next’ and Google Fusion Tables will start processing and geocoding your data.It may take a few hours to process thousands of postcode entries.Process dataWhen geocoding finishes, the table will load with a new tab called ‘Map of xxx’.

Using this map you can start setting up geo targeting in AdWords targeting by looking for cities or counties which appear heavily populated on your map.

Update geolocation in Google AdWords


Advertising on AdWords is extremely expensive, and the market is getting more competitive by the day. The ability to focus your advertising on the areas where your customers really are is critical for running a well performing advertising campaign and to achieve a good ROI as a result.

Try this quick and easy technique to visualise locations of your customers.

It may take minutes, but it could save thousands!



Polly Pospelova is a passionate online marketing professional who thrives on delivering unique value-driven search solutions. As well as managing Delete agency’s natural and paid search teams, Polly works closely with both technical developers and UX specialists to maximise customer experience, customer engagement and conversions.
  • Nice! Now imagine if you had data on the potential value each one of those postals represented, and a way to automatically adjust your bid for each one relatively? 😉

  • Great idea, Chad! The example used in this post is actually from a real business were we know exactly the value of every customer shown on the map.

    It is possible to automatically adjust bids for postcodes which bring higher value customers. You will need to use Google AdWords API to modify bids. You will need to develop a small application which analyses customer value in your the database and applies bid modifiers for higher value postcodes via the API. So if someone searches for our keywords within the postcode that brings higher value customers you apply +20%, +50% etc. bid modifier. Frequency of bid adjustments will depend on the pace of your business – you can run the application every day, every hour and even more often.

    For my client I already apply bid modifiers for postcodes which bring higher value customers, but in this particular case it is done manually because the pace of business is slow. For a different type of business it would be very useful.

    I hope this is helpful:)

  • Arianne Donoghue

    Hi Polly

    Just read this – it looks brilliant! Can’t wait to give it a try and see what insights we get.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Beautiful. I once did a campaign for a company and managed to sort data by state/zip code, then crossmatched it with Zillow to get estimated house values and then advertised on areas were we knew people could afford the service.

    Getting the ZIPs was crazy, this article would help a bunch a few years back 😉

    Again, awesome technique.