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Google usually does a great job making things quick and easy, but there are times when they fall short. Creating a PPC campaign that targets most – but not all – countries is one such example. Let us say you have five separate campaigns for the countries that bring in the most revenue for your company, and you want to create a new campaign that targets the rest of the world, excluding your top five countries. How do you do this?

The logical approach would be to create a global campaign and then remove the countries that you do not want to target. This sounds great, except for one caveat – Google does not allow you to do this. Another approach you might consider is using the radius targeting feature in AdWords. However, this is also problematic because it is time-consuming and may miss key locations.

In addition, Google does not allow you to target an entire continent. This means that if you want to market to all of Africa, for example, you will need to add each country in Africa separately.


So, what is the best way to create a global campaign that excludes only a few countries?

This workaround cannot be done in AdWords. As the screenshot below shows, AdWords does not provide a way to copy and paste multiple locations. Even if you add commas between each of the locations, AdWords will give you a message that says “Sorry, no matches found”. AdWords is set up for customers to add locations one at a time, which is obviously not effective if you want a global campaign that excludes a few countries

AdWords (online) does not allow customers to copy and paste lists of countries in the Locations settings.

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Using AdWords Editor to Add Countries Groups

The first step is to get a list of all countries listed by continent and copy them into excel. You can access a list of countries here: Alternatively, you can save a step and access a Batch Countries List for AdWords already on Excel.

The next step is to delete the countries on the Excel worksheet that you want to exclude from the campaign. The fastest way to do this is using ‘control f’ to find those countries within the spreadsheet.

This screenshot shows the beginning of the Batch Countries List. Let us say you have separate campaigns for China, Canada and Australia, simply delete them from the spreadsheet and copy and paste the list of countries into AdWords Editor.

List of countries by continent, with the locations that need to be deleted.

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Once the list contains only the countries you want, simply copy and paste the list into AdWords Editor. Within Location Targeting, click on the Make multiple changes tab.

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Make multiple location changes in AdWords Editor.

It is recommended to copy and paste the countries from each continent into AdWords Editor separately so that if any problems arise you can deal with them in a smaller group and process them rather than need to start over. After adding the locations, click on “Check locations”.

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AdWords Editor requires you to check locations in order to verify them.

Once all your changes have been processed, simply click Post Changes to upload them to AdWords.