Starting May 1, 2023, Google Ads will no longer generate similar audiences (also referred to as “similar segments”) for targeting and reporting. If you have active campaigns with similar segments, those will remain with your campaigns until August 1, 2023. After August 1, similar segments will be removed from all ad groups and campaigns. 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 have 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.
If you have 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.
If you have 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 automatically 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 automation, which helps you reach relevant audiences and measure results, in privacy-centric ways. That’s why we’ll upgrade similar audiences to more powerful, automated 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?
- First phase of changes (May 1, 2023):
- You won’t be able to add similar segments to any existing campaign or ad group. But you can continue targeting any existing similar segments already attached to your campaigns and ad groups.
- You will not be able to create conversion value rules based on similar segments but the existing conversion value rules will continue to work.
- Similar segments will not be created automatically for your data segments.
- Final phase of changes (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/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 (available for Performance Max, to be launched for Search by the end of 2022)
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/affinity segments.
|Value users differently||Target similar segments in different ad groups/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.