Reach people interested in your products or services

You can add audiences to ad groups in your Google Display Network campaigns and to your TrueView video campaigns’ targeting groups to reach people interested in products and services similar to those your business offers -- even when these people are browsing websites, using apps, or watching videos not directly related to your products and services. By doing so, you can help boost your campaigns’ performance.

Adding audiences allows you to reach people based on their specific interests as they browse pages, videos, and content across YouTube and the Google Display Network as well as channels and videos on the YouTube Search Network. You can select from a wide range of categories -- from autos and sports to travel and fashion -- and we'll show ads to people who are likely to be interested. Depending on your advertising goals and the stage of the purchase process your customers are in, you can choose to add different audiences to your ad groups and targeting groups:

  • 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 researching products and actively considering buying a service or product like those you offer. In-market audiences are available to advertisers in all AdWords languages.

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


Say that you own a car dealership and want to advertise on AdWords. Here's how you could use audiences based on your goals:

  • When to use "affinity audiences": Your goal is to reach as many people as possible and drive awareness of your dealership, so that when people need to buy a new car or have their car serviced, your business comes to mind. You're probably running ads on TV stations and want to complement this campaign with an online campaign to expand your reach. With affinity audiences, you could go beyond car enthusiasts, and reach "green living enthusiasts" with ads about hybrid cars, "bargain hunters" with ads about a big sale coming up, and "luxury shoppers" with ads about high-end cars.
  • When to use "in-market audiences": Your goal is to reach people who are actively considering buying a car and have narrowed their decision down to a handful of brands or types of cars. These customers are open to various options or dealers, but intend to make a decision soon. You could complement your search campaign or display keywords campaign with "in-market audiences," and reach people who are looking for "new sedans" or "new luxury vehicles."

How audiences work

When someone visits a Google partner website, we may use the content of the page or website to show contextually relevant ads. We use the main topics and themes from the page as well as data from third-party companies to associate interests with a visitor’s anonymous cookie ID. This takes into account how often people visit sites like those, among other factors.

Google may use information that people provide to these partner websites about their gender, age, and other demographic or interest information. We may also use the websites people visit and third-party data to infer this information. For example, if the sites a person visits have a majority of female visitors (based on aggregated survey data on site visitation), we may associate the person's cookie with the female demographic category.

In some cases, Google may charge advertisers a service fee for interest-based audiences. If you're charged a service fee, your maximum bid is reduced before the auction and the fee is added to the closing auction price.

Keep in mind

We won’t associate with an individual’s cookie any audiences considered sensitive, such as those based on race, religion, sexual orientation, health, certain financial information, and others.

People can also always change their interest settings using Google's Ads Settings.

Benefits and best practices

With audiences, you can show ads to customers who are associated with the audiences you've selected, even when people are visiting websites that might not be contextually related to the audience you selected.

Affinity audiences
  • Benefits: These audiences can help you increase awareness of your brand and products, and reach new potential customers.
  • Bidding: You might want to use viewable cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) bidding or cost-per-engagement (CPE) when you want to reach affinity audiences. With CPM, you bid for your ad based on how often it appears on the Google Display Network, so you're less likely to limit your reach too much.
  • You can use frequency capping to let AdWords know that you don't want to show your ads to a customer more than, for example, seven times.

  • Exclusions: You can exclude topics, keywords, or placements that don't align with your brand, for brand safety.
  • Ads: You can use the Ad gallery to create display ads, which can work better than text ads for affinity audiences. Engagement ads also work well with affinity brand campaigns that use interactive rich media.
  • Measuring awareness: You can use brand lift studies to track your potential customers’ overall awareness of your company’s brand.
In-market audiences for Google Display Network campaigns
  • Benefits: Adding these audiences to your ad groups can help you reach people who are actively considering buying a specific product or service.
  • Bidding: Start with cost-per-click (CPC) bidding, and then turn on automatic bidding once the campaign has minimum required conversions.
  • Campaign settings: We recommend targeting only the language of your ad text. Also, consider setting your ads' rotation to "optimize for conversions."
  • Targeting: To improve the efficiency of your "in-market audiences" campaign, don't add any other targeting methods to your ad groups. Adding more targeting methods will limit your access to these audiences. Also, you might want to set bid adjustments for when your in-market audience matches a specific topic. For example, on your in-market audience “Sedans,” set a bid adjustment for people within that audience who also happen to be browsing pages related to the topic "Autos & Vehicles."


    Your campaigns that use in-market audience targeting can reach mobile app users based on their Internet activity on mobile devices.

    While you can use frequency capping to let AdWords know that you don't want to show your ads too many times to a given customer, using in-market audiences optimizes ad frequency to deliver conversions based on historical performance. Further manual optimization might simply limit your reach.

  • Exclusions: You can exclude topics, keywords, or placements that don't align with your brand, for brand safety.
  • Measuring performance: Conversion Tracking is highly recommended as the best way to measure performance of your in-market campaign. As the goal of in-market audience targeting is to deliver conversions at lower cost, Conversion Optimizer can also be a very effective tool to enhance ROI for conversion-tracked advertisers.
  • Availability: In-market audiences are available to advertisers in all AdWords languages.

In-market and affinity audiences for TrueView video campaigns


Campaigns focused on audiences can also help you expand your remarketing lists. Once someone visits your site after clicking an ad, for example, you can add that visitor to your remarketing lists so you can show that person ads while on other sites on the Display Network.

Tailor your ads and bids to specific interests

Suppose you sell cars and want to reach people on auto websites. You believe that the brand of cars you sell appeals to a wide variety of people, but some of them may react more positively than others to certain types of ads.

For example, you could add the "Green Living" and the "Auto Enthusiasts" affinity audiences to your ad group, and show people associated with these audiences ads about hybrid cars.

Find out more about setting bid adjustments and using flexible bid strategies.

How audiences differ from topic targeting

In a nutshell, the difference is context. Topic targeting allows you to place ads on pages directly related to the topic you've selected. With topic targeting, your ads are more likely to be contextually relevant. Targeting by topics is an alternative to selecting individual placements where your ad can appear, or individual keywords that will trigger your ad.

By contrast, audiences allow you to reach visitors across the Google Display Network who’ve demonstrated specific interests, regardless of whether your ad correlates with the particular topic of the page they're currently on.


Using topic targeting and audiences in the same ad group might prevent a substantial number of people from seeing your ads, some of whom you might want to reach. As a result, your ads may show only to your selected audiences on websites labeled with your selected topics.

Next steps

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