Create and edit audiences

You can use preconfigured audiences that the Analytics team has developed to cover many of your use cases, you can create new audiences from scratch, and you can import any of your existing segments to use as the basis for new audiences. Once you've developed an audience, it becomes available in the accounts you select, and you can put it to work right away as part of a campaign or experiment.

In this article:

Create an audience

You need the Edit permission for the property in which you want to create the audience.

There is a limit of 2000 audiences per property.

You can publish an audience to only 1 destination of each type (e.g., AdWords or DBM, and Optimize and Analytics).

You can publish a maximum of 20 audiences to Analytics.

If you base an audience on the Session Date dimension, you need to publish the audience at least 5 days before the session date you want to capture. While Analytics backfills Search and Display audiences with up to 30 days of data, it does not backfill based on Session Date.

To create an audience:

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
  2. Click Admin, and navigate to the property in which you want to create the audience.
  3. In the Property column, click Audience Definitions > Audiences.
  4. Click + New Audience.
    New audience configuration options
  5. By default, your new audience is based on data from the current reporting view. Any users filtered from the view you use will also be filtered from the audience.

    To change the view, click Edit, select a new view, then click Next step.
  6. Define your audience. You can:
    • Choose from preconfigured audience definitions:
      • Smart List: Let Google manage the audience for you.
      • All Users: All users to your site or app who already have the necessary advertising cookies or mobile-advertising IDs.
      • New Users: Any users who have conducted only one session on your site or app.
      • Returning Users: Any users who have conducted more than one session on your site or app.
      • Users who visited a specific section of my site/app: Click the edit icon, and enter the URL of a page or directory on your site, or a screen in your app. This option uses the contains match type, and matches any URL that contains the string you enter here.

        If there are more than 1000 page/screen URLs for your site/app, then Analytics displays matches as you enter text only if matches are found within the first 1000 URLs. If there are no matches in the first 1000 URLs, then Analytics displays nothing. In this case, you can copy and paste the URL from a browser, or from some other source of URLs like a spreadsheet.
      • Users who completed a goal conversion: Click the edit icon, and select a goal from the menu. This option requires that you have previously configured Analytics Goals.
      • Users who completed a transaction: This is already configured to include any user with more than zero transactions.
    • Create a new audience definition. Read Create a new audience definition below.
    • Import a segment. Read Import a segment below.

    Regardless of the method you choose to create your audience, you can see an estimate of your audience size under Users over last 7 days. This value is determined by the number of users who have met your conditions for that time period. This is only an estimate of how many future users will meet your criteria based on the previous seven days of traffic.

    In most cases, the number of users on an AdWords remarketing list will be lower than the total number of users for your site or app since many of your users will not already have the necessary advertising cookies or mobile-advertising IDs. For example, compare the size of your All Users remarketing list to the Analytics Users metric in the Audience Overview report to see the difference.

    You may also notice a difference in size between AdWords remarketing lists used for Display and lists used for Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) even when they're based on the same audience. Display lists can accumulate more users because Display lists can include users in the Age, Gender, and Interests dimensions while the RLSA lists cannot.
  7. Due to privacy reasons, if you're adding users to your lists based on data sent to Analytics via Measurement Protocol (Analytics Standard and 360) or Query Time Data Import (Analytics 360), then Analytics has a 30-day window to add users to Search and Display (learn more).
  8. Keep in mind that unless you have manually configured sampling via sampleRate (analytics.js) or setSampleRate (ga.js) (enforcing sampling before data is sent to Analytics), Analytics sampling has no effect on the number of users eligible for your audiences. Analytics sampling can affect the estimate of an audience size, but not the audience itself.
  9. Enter a name for your audience, then click Next step.
  10. Under Audience destinations, use the + Add destinations menu to select the accounts in which you want to use the audience. Destinations include Google search and display advertising (like AdWords Display, AdWords RLSA, DoubleClick Bid Manager, and DoubleClick for Publishers), services like Google Optimize in which you use audiences for experimentation or personalization, and Analytics. If you have an AdWords manager account, that is also included as part of AdWords eligibility.

    If your audience includes Age, Gender, or any of the Interest dimensions, you can publish that audience only to AdWords (Display) and Analyitcs.

    If your audience includes sequences, you cannot publish that audience to Analytics.
  11. Click OK, then click Publish.

When you create a new audience, Analytics populates the list with up to 30 days of data so that you can use the list in 24-48 hours. If you have fewer than 30 days of data available, then Analytics uses the data you have.


Create a new audience definition

If you don't want to use a recommended audience, click Create New to create a new audience based on a segment you define. See Remarketing audience examples.

Audience Builder, no filters defined

When you finish configuring your audience, click Apply.

Audience definition


If your audience definition has an Exclude condition, an additional check box appears, and you have the option to permanently or temporarily remove users from that audience. Learn more

If your audience definition has user-level filters, then the Lookback days option appears. With Lookback days, any users who have met your audience criteria anytime during that lookback period are added to your audience the next time they initiate a session on your site.

Learn more about how filters are evaluated.


Import a segment

You can import a segment to use as the basis for your audience. When you're defining an audience, click Import Segment, and then choose from the segments that are available in the current property.


Edit an audience

  1. Sign in to Google Analytics.
  2. Click Admin, and navigate to the property in which you want to edit the audience.
  3. In the PROPERTY column, click Audience Definitions > Audiences.
  4. In the list of existing audiences, click the name of the audience you want to edit.
    Edit options
  5. Click Edit for Audience Source, Audience Definition, or Audience Destinations.

    When you edit destinations, you can close an audience for individual destinations so that it no longer accumulates users in those contexts. You can subsequently reopen an audience for a destination by editing the audience again.

When you edit the definition of an existing audience, new users are added to the audience based on the new definition. Existing users who were added based on the previous definition remain in the audience until their membership duration expires. 

If an Audience Source (reporting view) is changed, the historical users will remain and it will just impact new Users added to the list. Users who were added to the list in the old view will remain on the list until they expire naturally.

Close/delete/reopen an audience

When you close an audience, it no longer accumulates users.

When you delete an audience, it is removed from all destinations.

You can close an audience for individual destinations when you edit an audience.

To close an audience for all destinations at the same time:

  • Open the audience for editing, then click Close Audience in the lower right.

To delete an audience:

  • Close it for all destinations, then click Delete Audience in the lower right.

To reopen an audience that you've closed for all destinations:

  • Open the audience for editing, then open it for individual destinations.

Create and edit audiences with the Management API

The Google Analytics Management API gives you programmatic options to create and edit audiences. Learn more


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