About optimised targeting

Access the right Google audiences with optimised targeting

Depending on your campaign’s goal, optimised targeting can help you reach new and relevant audiences that are likely to convert. Optimised targeting looks beyond manually selected audience segments in your campaign to find audience segments that you may have missed to improve the campaign’s performance.

In this article, you'll learn about the benefits and features of optimised targeting.

When to use optimised targeting

Optimised targeting works best for advertisers in any of the following situations:

  • You want your campaign to serve to audience segments most likely to convert.
  • You want to acquire new customers beyond your existing segments and still meet your goals.
  • You want to identify new people who perform well for your campaign.
  • You want to increase conversions without increasing bids or the cost per customer.

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How it works

Optimised targeting is automatically turned on for all campaigns. Optimised targeting looks at information like keywords on your landing page or in your creative assets, then finds audiences that can meet your campaign's goals. If you don't want to use optimised targeting, you can turn it off in your ad group settings.

You can also add criteria like audience segments or keywords (also known as 'targeting signals') to optimised targeting. Optimised targeting uses targeting signals to find similar criteria to serve your ads on. If optimised targeting finds better performing traffic, it may reduce or stop serving traffic on your signals.

What’s the difference between audience expansion and optimised targeting?

Audience expansion looks for additional conversions by expanding to audience segments that look like your manually selected audience segments. Optimised targeting looks for additional conversions by targeting people most likely to convert (based on real-time campaign conversion data, like what people who convert recently searched for). With optimised targeting, your manually selected audience segments influence the model by providing an informed starting point.

For example, Jiaying wants to attract people to the upcoming launch of a new running shoe. In the campaign’s targeting, Jiaying uses two audience types: a custom segment based on top performing keywords from her Search campaigns (for example, 'running shoe sale'), and the 'athletic footwear' in-market segment. Here’s how audience expansion and optimised targeting may handle Jiaying’s campaign:

  • Audience expansion: In addition to Jiaying’s manually selected audience segments, audience expansion includes similar segments like the 'trainers sale' custom segment and the 'sporting goods' in-market segment.
  • Optimised targeting: Optimised targeting expands to users that are likely to convert by creating a profile of what a converter looks like based on real-time conversion data. For example, that data could include Google searches for specific running shoe brands or clicks to a popular sportswear website. While Jiaying’s manually selected audience segments provide a starting point, optimised targeting looks for conversions outside of her selected segments.

Examples

How you use – or don’t use – optimised targeting depends on what you’re trying to achieve in your campaign. Expand a section below to learn when to use optimised targeting in the campaign.

You want to acquire new, relevant customers while meeting your goals

Use optimised targeting

If you

Stefan runs a company that sells computer parts for gaming PCs. Stefan’s business is already popular with repeat buyers, and he’s looking to expand his company by offering pre-built gaming PCs. Since Stefan wants to attract new clients to his business who may not have built their own custom gaming PC before, he sticks with using only optimised targeting when creating a Discovery campaign.

Since optimised targeting is relying on information from sources like the landing page URL and the creative assets included in the ad, Stefan's ads will reach people who are interested in buying a gaming PC.

You want to acquire new, relevant customers, and you have specific audience segments in mind

Use optimised targeting with targeting signals

If you want to inform the model that optimised targeting uses to find new and relevant audiences, you can add targeting signals.

Monique wants to spread awareness and sell bookings for a new 7-day camping excursion from her river rafting tour company. Since summer is quickly approaching and kids will be out of school, Monique wants to sell bookings to families primarily. When creating her display campaign, Monique adds keywords like 'outdoor families', 'river rafting families' and 'travelling families' (in addition to keeping optimised targeting turned on).

When running the campaign, optimised targeting finds that Monique receives better performance when the keywords 'river rafting adventures', 'white water rafting' and 'river rafting tour' are added to her targeting. Additionally, optimised targeting stops the Display campaign from serving on 'travelling families' due to its lack of performance.

You want previous customers to purchase your products or use your services again

Use manual targeting only

If you only want to attract your previous customers with your ads, use manual targeting.

Taylor’s agency is launching a new video campaign for a premier fashion label’s line of purses. Since Taylor has previously used a data segment that contains the fashion label’s customers, she reuses it for the campaign. She also turns off optimised targeting for the campaign, so that the campaign is specifically focused on marketing to the fashion label’s usual customers.

Compatible campaign types

Optimised targeting is available for:

  • Display campaigns
  • Discovery campaigns
  • Video campaigns that use the 'Sales', 'Leads' or 'Website traffic' goals (for example, video action campaigns)

Bear in mind that the targeting signals available may be different, depending on your campaign type. Expand a section below to see which targeting signals can be added to optimised targeting based on the campaign type.

Display

  • You can provide audience segments, custom segments, customer data segments, keywords and topics as signals for optimised targeting.
  • Your ads may show to users beyond your selected signals.

Discovery

  • You can provide audience segments, custom segments and customer data segments as signals for optimised targeting.
  • Your ads may show to users beyond your selected signals.
  • Optimised targeting will not show ads to users that you've excluded using your customer data segments.

Video

  • You can provide audience segments, custom segments and customer data segments as signals for optimised targeting.
  • Your ads may show to users beyond your selected signals.
  • Placements won't be used as a signal and your ads will only show on the placements that you provide.
  • Optimised targeting will not show ads to users that you've excluded using your customer data segments.

Brand safety

Optimised targeting respects your existing brand safety settings (such as content exclusions). You don’t need to make additional changes to your brand safety settings when using optimised targeting.

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