Similar audience targeting

This feature isn't available for network users of Display & Video 360.

Similar audience targeting is a simple yet powerful tool for reaching individuals who share interest profiles with your existing customers. By targeting similar audiences, you can reach more potential customers who share similar behavior to the audiences you selected.

How this feature works

Similar audience targeting combines the audience data you selected, Google’s rich audience data, and an intelligent look-alike modeling algorithm to build a custom audience of users who are likely to engage, click, or convert with your ads.

Would targeting similar audiences be useful for you?

You should consider targeting similar audiences if you have existing first-party, affinity, in-market, or custom lists, but want additional, intelligent scale. For example:

  • If your advertiser has a successful audience list, you could use similar audiences to drive additional scale.
  • If your advertiser has audience lists that are growing stale, you could use similar audiences to reach new, incremental potential customers.
  • If your advertiser has identified a high-value audience list, you could use similar audiences to reach "lookalikes" (cookies who are similar to those on your existing list, but aren't yet on your list) and grow your high-value list.
  • If your advertiser has a successful audience list from desktop/mobile, you could use similar audiences to extend your reach to "lookalikes" on connected TV devices.

Supported audience list types

The following audience types can be used with similar audience targeting:

  • First-party (excludes activity-based audiences)
  • Affinity
  • In-market
  • Custom affinity
  • Custom intent
  • Combined

Target similar audiences

  1. Navigate to a line item's Audience Lists targeting.

  2. Select either Define targeting criteria or Use Combined Audience.

  3. Select first-party, affinity, in-market, or custom lists. If no first-party audience lists are selected, Display & Video 360 will show similar audience lists based on the page your ad will serve on.

  4. Select Similar audience settings, and use the slider to control how your audience lists will be expanded. There are a total of 5 segments you can adjust the slider to (Off being the default setting). A forecast of how many available impressions will be shown below the slider as you adjust it. 

    Note that the impressions forecast is not available for custom lists, combined audiences, and audio line items. It is also not available when there are "AND" segments and when there are very large user lists.
    • Off (default)
    • More similarity will prioritize targeting the most similar additional audiences.
    • Balanced is an intermediate option that balances similarity with additional scale.
    • More reach will prioritize expanding your reach.
  5. (Optional) Exclude first-party lists. Select this to exclude first-party user lists to reach new people with similar interests to your existing audience
  6. Click Done, then click Apply to save your targeting.


  • The list must have active users in the past 30 days
  • The list must contain 500 or more members 
  • The impressions forecast widget is not available for similar audience targeting. Learn more
  • The following lists are not expandable: Third-party, new mobile, installed apps, or any negatively targeted list
  • Story insertion orders (and line items) are not supported
  • For YouTube & partners line items, you can select a similar audience list but additional similar audience list settings are not supported
Restricted categories and products

You can't use audience list targeting if your line item is advertising products based on:

  • Being a child under the age of 13
  • Divorce or marital status
  • Employment or trade union membership
  • Financial or legal status
  • Healthcare and medicines
  • Political affiliation* (* This is allowed in the US)
  • Race and ethnic information
  • Religious affiliation
  • Sexual behavior or orientation

Frequently asked questions

Does targeting similar audiences work with mobile impressions?

Yes. Display & Video 360 can take a cookie based audience list, and target similar users across mobile.

Why wasn't the impressions forecast available?

One or more of the following were selected. Try removing one or more of the following:

  • Custom affinity or custom intent lists
  • "AND" segments
  • Very large user lists

Does targeting similar audiences work with connected TV?

Yes, Display & Video 360 can take a cookie-based audience list and target similar users across connected TVs.

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