Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu

About targeting your ads by audience interests

You can add audience targeting to ad groups and reach people interested in products and services like yours. Audience targeting can boost your campaign's performance by reaching people browsing websites, using apps, or watching videos. Read the Personalized advertising policy (formerly known as interest-based advertising) to help improve the experience for users and advertisers alike.

How audience targeting works

Adding audiences helps you reach people based on their specific interests as they browse pages, apps, channels, videos, and content across the Google Display Network and YouTube. You can select from a wide range of categories -- such as fans of sport and travel, people shopping for cars, or specific people that have visited your website. AdWords will show ads to people who are likely in the selected categories.

Affinity audiences

Select from these audiences to reach potential customers at scale and make them aware of your business.

These audiences were built for businesses currently running a TV ad who would like to extend the reach of a TV campaign to an online context for an efficient price.

Custom affinity audiences

With custom affinity audiences, advertisers can create audiences that are more tailored to their brands, compared to our broad, TV-like affinity audiences. For example, rather than reaching Sports Fans, a running shoe company may want to reach Avid Marathon Runners instead. With custom affinity audiences, the shoe company can define this audience by:

  • using free form interests entered as keywords
  • and/or using URLs as a proxy for interest bundles.

Entering URLs establishes a theme that embodies the ideal customer. For example, we could determine that is about marathon running, training schedules, marathon nutrition, and other marathon topics, and therefore, reach people who tend to browse content about those themes whether or not they visit the specific site.

In-market audiences

Select from these audiences to find customers who are in the market, which means that they're researching products and are actively considering buying a service or product like yours.

These audiences are designed for advertisers focused on getting conversions from likely buyers. In-market audiences can help drive remarketing performance and reach consumers close to completing a purchase.

Custom intent audiences

Custom intent audiences allows you to define and reach the ideal audiences for your business. Create your own audience using keywords and URLs that your ideal audience is likely to be researching and AdWords will show your ads to users that match your criteria.

Make sure you include keywords related to the products and services this audience is searching; these will be used as the focal point for building a Custom intent audience.

Add URLs for the websites, apps, or YouTube content that your prospective customers are likely to find while researching your product or service. It’s recommended to add a combination of keywords and URLs (ideally 15 total) to help AdWords understand your ideal audience.

This is a great way to reach new audiences beyond the pre-defined audience categories. Custom intent optimizes campaign performance based on conversion data. For best results, please ensure you’ve set up Conversion Tracking.

Custom intent audiences: Auto-created

You can make your own Custom intent audience, or choose one automatically created based on insights from your account. Using the latest advancements in Google’s Machine Learning technology, AdWords analyzes your existing campaigns to identify typical behaviors from your customers—sites they browse, content they research, and apps they use—before they buy your product. AdWords uses these insights to auto-create custom intent segments to help you reach niche audiences. For now, these automatically created audiences are available in English only.

For example, insights from existing campaigns may show that people who’ve visited your site have actively researched mid-century modern furniture. AdWords may auto-create a new Custom intent audience list to help you reach those new customers.

Auto-created custom intent audiences simplify the process of reaching new audience segments by including the most common keywords and URLs that people use while researching the given product or service—eliminating the need to select the right set of descriptors. Simply type in the product or service you want to find prospective buyers for, or select the Auto-created custom intent segment that’s relevant to your product or service. AdWords will generate a Custom intent segment to help you reach your prospective customers. 


You can also reach people who have already engaged with your company’s products and services, including past visitors to a website, mobile app, videos, or your own email list. Read About remarketing to learn more.

Was this article helpful?
How can we improve it?
Sign in to AdWords

Get account-specific help and tips by signing in with your AdWords account email address, or learn how to get started with AdWords.