Changes to audience targeting: Google Ads will no longer support similar audiences (also known as 'similar segments')

As announced on 1 November 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.

Bear in mind that:

  • Display and video action campaigns that are still using similar audience segments after 1 August 2023 will be opted into optimised targeting.
  • Video campaigns with 'Product and brand consideration' or 'Brand awareness and reach' objectives will be opted into audience expansion.
  • If you opted out before 1 August 2023, ad groups and campaigns targeting similar segments will be paused. Make sure that you unpause them and add relevant targeting criteria.

Other notes:

  • The corresponding first-party audience segments will be added as a signal to optimised targeting and as a targeting criteria for audience expansion.
  • If you’ve opted into auto-applying with the 'Use optimised targeting' recommendation, it’ll continue to work as expected. You can continue managing auto-apply by visiting the Recommendations page.

After 1 August, 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 optimise directly for your business goals.

If you've been using similar segments on Display or video action campaigns, and haven’t yet turned on optimised targeting, you should turn on optimised targeting to reach additional relevant and expanded audiences and optimise for your conversion goals. Learn more about how to use optimised 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.

Note for Display & Video 360:
If you’ve been using similar segments on YouTube video action line items in Display & Video 360 and you haven’t yet turned on optimised targeting, you should turn on optimised targeting. For other types of YouTube video line items, you can use audience expansion when it becomes available in the first half of 2023.


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 optimised targeting, audience expansion and Smart Bidding, that will help you leverage your first-party data and optimise for your marketing objectives.


What’s changing starting in 2023?

  • Changes on 1 August 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 won't appear in Google Ads, including in Audience Manager.
    • Similar segments won't be included in Google Ads insights or reporting. Historical reporting will continue to be available.
    • Conversion value rules using similar segments won't work, and conversion value won't 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
Drive performance

Observation or targeting of similar segments with Smart Bidding


Reporting on the similar segments

Action to take: No action required

  1. All Customer Match segments, including untargeted customer match segments will be included as a signal in Smart Bidding models automatically (unless you have opted out of this at the account level).
  2. Targeting: Similar segments won't be available for targeting
  3. Reporting: First-party audience insights on the Insights page will enable you to understand how first-party segments are delivering value, whether through conversions or by providing signals for your bidding. These insights will be available to all by the end of March 2023.
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

New customer acquisition goal

For Display and video action campaigns

Goal Current tactic Recommended solution
Drive performance and reach new users Target similar segments with or without optimised targeting enabled, while also utilising Google’s audience in-market, affinity segments and custom segments

Action to take: Include your first-party segments;

If optimised targeting isn’t enabled, enable optimised targeting

Include your first-party data (for example, Customer Match segments) in audiences to be provided as hints for optimised targeting, which will help drive improved performance. Continue to lean into best practices in building custom segments and utilising Google’s in-market and affinity segments.

Value users differently Target similar segments in different ad groups and campaigns

Action to take: Use optimised 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.




Expand all

1. What is optimised targeting and how do we use it as a replacement for similar segments?

Depending on the campaign’s goal, optimised targeting helps you reach new and relevant audiences that are likely to convert. Optimised 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 optimised 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 forwards?

You will continue to have access to historical performance data for any similar segments added to your campaigns and ad groups.

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 specific goals and related actions to take. Also continue using Customer Match to reach and re-engage with your customers on Google Ads.

Was this helpful?

How can we improve it?
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu