As announced on November 1, 2022, similar audiences will be transitioned to more durable solutions and will be removed from Google Ads.
What will happen in August 2023?
- Similar segments will be gradually removed from all ad groups and campaigns in Google Ads and should be completed by the end of the month.
- You’ll continue to have access to historical reporting for similar audience segments from previous campaigns.
Keep in mind that:
- Display, Discovery, and Video action campaigns that are still using similar audience segments after August 1, 2023 will be opted into optimized targeting.
- Learn more about how to Use optimized targeting.
- Video campaigns with “Product and brand consideration” or “Brand awareness and reach” objectives will be opted into audience expansion.
- Learn more about Using audience expansion.
- If you opted out before August 1, 2023, ad groups and campaigns targeting similar segments will be paused. Make sure to unpause them and add relevant targeting criteria.
- The corresponding first-party audience segments will be added as a signal to optimized targeting and as a targeting criteria for audience expansion.
- If you’ve opted into auto-applying with the “Use optimized targeting” recommendation, it’ll continue to work as expected. You can continue managing auto-apply by visiting the Recommendations page.
After August 1, similar segments will be removed from all ad groups and campaigns in Google Ads. You’ll continue to have access to historical reporting for similar segments from past campaigns.
In place of similar segments, different campaign types will offer different solutions to help you leverage your first-party data, reach the right audience, and improve campaign performance so that you can optimize directly for your business goals.
If you've been using similar segments on Display, Discovery, or Video Action campaigns, and haven’t yet turned on optimized targeting, you should turn on optimized targeting to reach additional relevant and expanded audiences and optimize for your conversion goals. Learn more about how to Use optimized targeting.
If you've been using similar segments on Awareness and Reach video or Consideration video campaigns, you should include your first-party data segments in your ad groups, and turn on audience expansion to reach people similar to those in your first-party data. Learn more about Using audience expansion.
If you've been using similar segments on Search or Shopping campaigns and are not using Smart Bidding, you should use Smart Bidding with your campaigns. If you’re using Smart Bidding already, or running Performance Max campaigns, you don’t need to take any action, since Performance Max campaigns leverage signals from your first-party data.
Why is this change taking place?
With common online marketing approaches becoming more restricted, growing your business requires new, more durable strategies. The best way to stay ahead of these shifts is through Google AI, which helps you reach relevant audiences and measure results, in privacy-centric ways. That’s why we’ll upgrade similar audiences to more powerful, AI-driven solutions, such as optimized targeting, audience expansion, and Smart Bidding, that will help you leverage your first-party data and optimize for your marketing objectives.
What’s changing starting in 2023?
- Changes on August 1, 2023:
- You won’t be able to use similar segments for targeting and reporting.
- Similar segments will be removed from all ad groups and campaigns.
- Similar segments will not appear in Google Ads, including in Audience Manager.
- Similar segments will not be included in Google Ads insights or reporting. Historical reporting will continue to be available.
- Conversion value rules using similar segments will not work, and conversion value will not be adjusted based on similar segments.
What can you do to prepare for these changes?
For Search campaigns and regular Shopping campaigns
|Goal||Current tactic||Recommended solution|
Observation or targeting of similar segments with Smart Bidding
Reporting on the similar segments
Action to take: No Action required
|Value users differently||
Manual bidding on similar segments
or conversion value rule on similar segments
Use Smart Bidding to automatically value users based on conversions or conversion value
Conversion value rules: Similar segments won’t be available for value rules
New customer acquisition
|Similar segment targeting of purchasers|
For Display, Discovery, and Video action campaigns
|Goal||Current tactic||Recommended solution|
|Drive performance and reach new users||Target similar segments with or without optimized targeting enabled, while also utilizing Google’s audience in-market, affinity segments and custom segments||
Action to take: Include your first-party segments;
If optimized targeting isn’t enabled, enable optimized targeting
Include your first-party data (for example, Customer Match segments) in audiences to be provided as hints for optimized targeting, which will help drive improved performance. Continue to lean into best practices in building custom segments and utilizing Google’s in-market and affinity segments.
|Value users differently||Target similar segments in different ad groups and campaigns||
Action to take: Use optimized targeting in conjunction with your first-party lists as audience hints.
For YouTube Awareness and Reach Video or Consideration Video
|Advertiser goal||Current tactic||Recommended solution|
Target a specific persona for Awareness or Consideration
|Similar segment targeting||
Action to take: Use audience expansion
Use first-party data in ad groups and enable audience expansion to expand your reach to similar users, based on first-party data.
1. What is optimized targeting and how do we use it as a replacement for similar segments?
Depending on the campaign’s goal, optimized targeting helps you reach new and relevant audiences that are likely to convert. Optimized targeting looks beyond manually-selected audience segments in the campaign to find segments that advertisers may have missed to improve the campaign’s performance. Instead of targeting a similar segment, you can turn on optimized targeting in the ad group and include your first-party data segments as hints. If you want to exclude users in your first-party segments, you can do this with audience exclusions.
2. What will happen to my historical data from my similar segments? Will I be able to use it moving forward?
3. Will I experience negative performance changes or revenue loss?
These updates should not result in revenue loss. Alternative solutions described above should provide equivalent or better performance to your campaign goals.
4. What should I do to prepare for this change?
Refer to the table above that lists out specific goals and related actions to take. Also continue using Customer Match to reach and re-engage with your customers on Google Ads.