About similar audiences on the Display Network

Similar audiences is a targeting feature based on remarketing lists. Remarketing allows you to reach people who have already visited your site and connect with an audience that's already interested in your products or services. This article explains how similar audience targeting works, and how audience is generated.

Before you start

Similar audience targeting is available for the Display Network and for Customer Match audiences on YouTube and Gmail. To find out more about how to show ads to your website visitors, read About remarketing.


The "Similar audiences" targeting option helps you to find people who share characteristics with your site visitors. By adding "similar audiences" to your ad group, you can show your ads to people whose interests are similar to those of your site visitors, which then allows you to reach new and qualified potential customers.

Simplified audience targeting

Similar audiences targeting takes the guesswork out of your search for new audiences by automatically finding new customers similar to your site visitors. Using this feature, you can find new potential customers based on the specific topics or concepts that people – in aggregate – on one of your remarketing lists were browsing before being added to that list.


Let's say that you've created a remarketing list of people who have bought steak knives from your kitchenware site. Instead of helping you to reach broad groups of people interested in "cooking", similar audiences will identify that people on this list tended to browse sites specifically about "cooking steak" and "high-quality knife sets" before coming to your site and making a purchase. Based on this, similar audiences will then find other people with similar activity.

Your similar audiences lists are automatically updated as the original list evolves and people change their browsing activity. This means that you don't need to update the similar audience list after it has been created.

Getting new potential customers

With similar audiences, you can boost the reach of existing remarketing campaigns, and drive new users to your site who are more likely to be interested in your product or service.

Even if these new visitors don't purchase from your site immediately, if you've added the remarketing tag to your site, you can still reach out to them later using a remarketing list. By adding similar audiences targeting, you can get more visitors on your remarketing list in a way that's intuitive and easy to manage.

how it works

AdWords looks at browsing activity on Display Network sites over the last 30 days, and uses this, along with its contextual engine, to understand the shared interests and characteristics of the people in your remarketing list. Based on this information, AdWords automatically finds new potential customers whose interests and characteristics are similar to those of people in your remarketing list. The more characteristics and interests that people in your remarketing lists share, the better similar audiences works.

To find similar audiences, AdWords looks across the millions of apps and sites on the Display Network. As your remarketing lists change, your similar audience will change as well.


The original remarketing list is automatically excluded from your similar audiences list. This means that if visitors who are in a similar audiences list get added to your remarketing list because they match your list definition, they'll be removed from the similar audiences list.

A similar audiences list is created from a remarketing list with at least 5,000 cookies and enough similarity in characteristics and interests to create a corresponding similar audience. Similar audiences can't be created based on the characteristics and interests of individual users.

People who don't want to be included in similar audiences can opt out through their Ads Settings.

Bear in mind

Models for similar audiences exclude browsing activity from sites, pages, or products related to sensitive categories, such as those based on race, religion, sexual orientation or health.

We don't support finding a similar audience for lists based on any of the sensitive categories listed in our policy. All use of similar audiences is subject to our Personalised advertising policy.

It make take up to 72 hours for your list to start serving. 

Qualifying for similar audiences

Google will automatically identify which of your remarketing lists qualify for similar audiences based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • Minimum of 5,000 visitors on the original list
  • How recently these people joined the original list
  • The types of sites that these visitors browsed

AdWords can define a similar audience for your own lists only.

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