Set up targeting

Similar audiences targeting

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

Similar audiences 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 than by targeting only first-party audience lists on their own.

How this feature works

Similar Audiences combines your first-party audience data (such as site visitors or past purchasers), 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 audience lists, but want additional, intelligent scale. For example:

  • If your advertiser has a successful remarketing practice, you could use similar audiences to drive additional scale.
  • If your advertiser has first-party 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.


There are restrictions on which first-party lists can be used for similar audience targeting.

  • The list must have active users in the past 30 days
  • The list must contain 500 or more members 
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

Target similar audiences

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

  2. In the 1st & 3rd Party tab, find the "Similar audience settings" section, then select either:

    Similar audience targeting settings

    1. "Target first-party lists and similar audiences (increase reach)", or
    2. "Only target similar audiences based on my first-party lists (incremental only)".

    Additionally, you can use the slider beneath the similar audience settings to control how your first-party lists will be expanded:

    • More similarity (default) will prioritize targeting the most similar additional audiences. 
    • More reach will prioritize expanding your reach.
    • Balanced is an intermediate option that balances similarity with additional scale.
  3. Click Done, then click Save and close to save your targeting.

Frequently asked questions

Does targeting similar audiences work with mobile impressions?

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

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