Use the Audience builder to reach the right audience for each campaign and ad group

Starting on May 1, 2023, similar audiences (or segments) will be gradually phased out as a targeting feature. Learn more about this latest change to audience targeting

Note: When you create a new Discovery or Performance Max campaign, or update an existing Performance Max campaign, you’ll have the opportunity to use the new reusable Audience builder within Google Ads.

The Audience builder allows you to easily and effectively create reusable audiences with focused segments, demographic targeting, and exclusions.

Benefits

  • Easily create and reuse audiences across campaigns: With the Audience builder, when you create an audience made up of different audience segments, you can use that audience across any number of future and existing campaigns. You can also find your audiences in the Audience manager. Learn more about audience targeting
  • Meet your advertising objective: Who you reach for each campaign will largely affect how well your campaign performs. When you create a new campaign, you’ll get suggestions for audiences you might want to select based on your advertising goals.
  • Flexibility and ease of management: You can select a suggested audience, create a new audience, or select another existing audience that was not suggested, as well as edit that audience, all while constructing or managing your campaign. Additionally, you don’t have to manage your segments by channel, your segments will automatically apply to the channels they’re relevant for based on the goals you’ve set. For example, a segment not applicable to Search won’t be targeted when you run Search ads. You can also refer to your audience status to learn which segments aren’t eligible to run within your campaign.
  • Get custom guidance as you build your audience: Just like you get overall guidance as you create a new campaign, you’ll also get guidance while audience building. This includes best practices for audience targeting for your campaign type and indications on whether or not you’re following those best practices based on your selections. You’ll also get an overview of your audience by age, gender, and location and may get an estimate for weekly impressions.

Using the Audience builder when creating a campaign

Follow steps on creating a Discovery campaign or creating a Performance Max campaign.

To add your audience, in the “Audience” module, click Select or Create an Audience. (If you haven't yet created any audiences for other ad groups or campaigns, the button will read "Create an Audience"). Below are the steps you’ll take to create or select an audience while constructing a new campaign.

Steps to create a new audience

Within the Audience builder, you’ll be able to search, browse and select demographic groups, segments, and exclusions. Follow the steps below to complete audience creation.

  1. Give your audience a name, which will be its name in your Audience library for all future use.
  2. Select the demographic groups that you want to target by clicking on the checkboxes Blue check box icon for selecting ad campaigns for each group. Age and gender are presented by default, but you can select groups based on household income or parental status by clicking Additional demographics.
    • For age, select one age range as wide as you’d like it to be, but you cannot select more than one age range for each Audience.
  3. Select applicable audience segments in the “Your data” and “Custom segments” modules.
  4. Click Search or Browse to add segments. Suggested segments will appear at the top of the list.
  5. Click Save segment when you’ve chosen the segments you’ll use.
    • If you’d like to create a new custom segment follow the steps below:
      1. Click + Custom Segment
      2. Add a name for your custom segment.
      3. Select:
        • People with any of these interests or purchase intentions. Enter keywords describing your ideal customer’s interests or products and services they are actively researching to buy. If you’re using an audience with your selection of manual targeting (all campaigns except for Performance Max can use manual targeting), your campaign will reach people with those interests or purchase intentions based on your campaign settings, such as advertising goal or bidding strategy. If you’re using your audience as a signal as part of optimized targeting (Performance Max campaigns use only optimized targeting), your audience selections will inform who will see your ads, but ultimately your campaign will focus on optimizing toward your goals and may show ads to people outside of your audience selections.
        • People who searched for any of these terms on Google. Enter search terms your ideal customer is using on Google properties (such as Google.com and YouTube). If you’re using an audience with your selection of manual targeting (all campaigns except for Performance Max can use manual targeting), your campaign will reach people with those interests or purchase intentions based on your campaign settings, such as advertising goal or bidding strategy. If you’re using your audience as a signal as part of optimized targeting (Performance Max campaigns use only optimized targeting), your audience selections will inform who will see your ads, but ultimately your campaign will focus on optimizing toward your goals and may show ads to people outside of your audience selections. On other campaigns, the terms will be used as interest or purchase intentions.
  6. Click Save audience.
  7. To target audience segments beyond your data and custom segments, such as affinity and in-market segments, click Interests and detailed demographics segments. The “Google segments” module will appear. There you can add “interests”, “detailed demographics”, and “life events” to get a list of segments you can select.
  8. To remove any segments in any of the modules, hover over the segment and click the X icon red x mark.

Steps to select an existing Audience

  1. When creating a campaign, you’ll need to select an audience. If you’ve clicked “Select an audience”, the Audiences selector will appear with suggestions for audiences that match the advertising goal you set for the new campaign. Review the audience summary cards, which includes that audience’s specific segments and exclusions. (You can also view your other existing audiences that are not recommended based on your advertising goal by clicking the “audience not recommended” link).
  2. If an existing audience in the table is right for your campaign, select it by clicking on it. If you’d rather create a new audience for the campaign click + New Audience in the top right. Follow the “Steps to create a new audience” in the section above.
  3. Your selected audience will appear under “Create an ad group”. From there, you can leave the audience as is, edit it by clicking the pencil icon Edit, remove it by clicking the X icon red x markat the top right, or change it by clicking Change audience, which will take you back to the Audience selector.
    • When you edit your audience, you’ll do so in the Audience builder. Use Audience builder to update demographic targeting, segments, and exclusions by clicking on the Add or create option in any of the applicable modules. Learn more about the Audience builder in the “Steps to create a new audience” above.

Tip

Editing an audience while creating your ad group and campaign will edit that audience for all the ad groups and campaigns it’s attached to. If you want your Audience edits to only apply to a single campaign or ad group, save the edits with a new name for that Audience.

FAQs

Can I add exclusions for all audience segments?

No, you can now only add exclusions for your data segments, custom segments, and similar segments.

How does manual audience targeting differ from optimized targeting?

Note: Performance Max campaigns use only optimized targeting.

When you build your audiences and set your campaign for manual targeting, your campaign will show ads that reach people you’ve specified. If you’re using optimized targeting for your campaign, you can still build your audiences to your specifications, but your ads may reach people outside of your audience selections because your campaign is optimizing towards conversion goals.

In any optimized targeting campaigns (including Performance Max), your audience selections become signals that help the machine learning algorithm quickly optimize for campaign performance. If there are people who are likely to convert based on your conversion goals, your ads may serve to them, even if they’re not specified by your audience selections.

How many audiences can I target in an ad group (Discovery) or asset group (Performance Max)?

To help you optimize campaign performance with the most targeted approach to serving ads, each campaign and ad group (Discovery) or asset group (Performance Max) can include only one audience at a time (one audience may include several audience segments). You can change or edit the audience at any time. Check the steps above to edit your audience.

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