The success of your campaign on Yandex.Direct isn't just a matter of creating an attractive ad. It is also a question of reaching users who can actually respond to your ads if interested. Users are generally interested in goods and services located in the regions where they live or plan on visiting. Using geotargeting, you can ensure that you are reaching customers in your region.

How does geotargeting work?

Geotargeting refers to the technology which allows you to control the geography of your ad impressions. Yandex.Direct ads will only be served to people that can actually make use of your offer (either because they are located in the region you selected or are interested in that region). So if you only deliver pizza in Kursk, select Kursk as your display region in your campaign or ad group settings.

You can set up geotargeting in the ad group under Regions. By clicking the flag next to the name of the region, you select the whole region including all the towns within it (even if they are not shown separately in the region tree). For each new group in the campaign, the region settings of the first ad group are automatically applied.

Region selection tree

In the campaign settings under Advanced settings, Extended geotargeting is enabled by default. This option functions on both Yandex search and in ad networks. It does not influence ads served on YAN search sites (including search results pages for Yandex.Maps, Yandex.Market and other Yandex services). Limitations of extended geotargeting.

The extended geotargeting option allows you to serve your ads when users type in searches that include the name of your display region, regardless of their actual location. Yandex automatically determines the region of interest expressed in the user's query. The system takes informal and shortened variants of region name into account (e.g. NYC, MSK, Chi Town) when determining the region.

When extended geotargeting is enabled, it triggers the system to compare the region in the search query with the region you indicated in the settings for the ad or campaign. If the regions match, the system knows that the user is looking for goods or services like yours in your area. However, if you use one region in your keywords while extended geotargeting is enabled and set a different region in your ad settings, then your ads will not be served on search results pages if a user enters those keywords. In this case, you would need to disable extended geotargeting in order to start serving your ads in search results. To find out exactly where users will see your ads based on different geographical settings, take a look at this table.

For example, if you want to serve ads for an amusement park in Moscow, enter amusement park as the keyword and set Moscow as the display region. That way, your ads will be served to Moscow residents who search for amusement parks as well as people in other regions who search for amusement parks in Moscow.

However, let's say you created a special campaign for potential clients from Tver, entered the keyword amusement park Moscow and set the display region as Tver. In this case, the region listed in the keyword does not correspond to any of the selected display regions, so your ad will not be served if extended geotargeting is enabled. To start serving these ads, you must disable extended geotargeting in the campaign settings.

Where will my ads appear?

Extended geotargeting is enabled in the campaign

Extended geotargeting is disabled in the campaign

No region is indicated in the keyword or it matches** the display region A region is indicated in the keyword and it does not match** the display region Impressions do not depend on the region in the keyword

Is the user located in the display region? Yes*

Is the user located in the display region? No*

(if the search contains the name of the display region)

*The location of the user seeing the ad is compared with the display region in the ad or campaign settings. The location of a user of Yandex search, a network app, or visitor to a network site is determined by Yandex location settings or by IP address to be located within the display region.

**If a larger display region from the ad settings or campaign settings includes a smaller region from the keyword, the system considers these regions as matching (for example, Russia and Moscow).

Ads are moderated in accordance with the rules of the country that includes your display regions. Any legal restrictions on advertising that exist in the country where your ads are served will apply. An ad that passes moderation might not be served in a specific region due to local advertising laws.

Bulk editing of display regions

You can change display regions:
  • For all your campaign's ad groups — to do this, click  → Configure display regions.
  • For some groups of one or more campaigns — to do this, select the campaigns and ad groups in them, click Action → Configure display regions.
Changing display regions in all ad groups of the campaign in the old Yandex.Direct interface

In the old Yandex.Direct interface, you can change the display region from the campaign page by clicking on the Configure display regions link on the left.

In the window that opens, select the editing mode and specify the regions:
  • Replace regions — to replace the current regions with the selected regions.

  • Add to list — to add the selected regions to the current regions.
  • Remove from list — to delete the selected regions from the current regions.

Using geotargeting in your first campaign

To quickly launch ads with geotargeting, just create a campaign, create your first ad group, and choose the display regions where you offer your services or sell products for this ad group. Extended geotargeting will be enabled by default for this campaign.

If you would like to use keywords that feature the names of regions, as is common in ads relating to travel, tourism, hotels, or medical services abroad, disable extended geotargeting. To find out exactly where users will see your ads based on different geographical settings, take a look at this table.

Waiting several days after your ad impressions begin will give Yandex.Direct time to collect statistics about the number of impressions and clicks in different regions. If the reports show that the regional distribution of clicks is uneven, it's best to carefully reconfigure your regional display settings.

Specifying regions and gathering detailed geographical information

By analyzing the click and conversion statistics, you may discover that user reactions to your ads differ by region.

For example, you noticed a large number of clicks from Moscow and Tver in the amusement park ad statistics (keyword — amusement park, display region — Moscow and Moscow Region, extended geotargeting enabled). In this case Yandex recommends:

  • creating a new ad in your campaign specifically for display in Moscow (including Moscow region).

  • creating a separate campaign specifically for display in Tver (extended geotargeting disabled, keyword amusement park Moscow, and Tver as the display region).

Dividing ad campaigns by region will help you better manage your bids and conserve your budget. When setting bids in one region you don't need to take another region's competition into account. You can view the impressions forecast for a specific region in the Wordstat form.

Limitations of extended geotargeting

Extended geotargeting settings are ignored for ads in certain categories.

Settings are ignored for the following subjects:
  • Travel and leisure (such as hotels, bus tours, trip packages, transit tickets, children's camps and day trips, vacation reviews, and vacations themselves).
  • Categories that require specific documents in order to advertise (such as medicines, medical devices and services, pharmacies, dietary supplements, detective work, pyrotechnics, finances, insurance, and items resembling weapons).

If your ad belongs to one of these categories, it will only be displayed in the regions you set in the campaign or ad group settings. The ad category is determined automatically based on its content (such as the title, text, and sitelink descriptions) and the landing page.