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
To provide a comprehensive and consolidated view of your Audiences and make audience management and optimization simpler, you’ll find the following improvements in Google Ads:
- New audience reporting
Detailed reporting about audience demographics, segments, and exclusions is now consolidated in one place, the “Audiences” tab within the left page navigation menu. You can also easily manage your Audiences from this report page. Learn more about Audience reporting
- New terms
We’re using new terms on your audience report and throughout Google Ads. For example, “audience types” (these include similar, custom, in-market, and affinity) are now referred to as audience segments and “remarketing” is now referred to as “your data”. Learn more about the updates to Audience terms and phrases
You can add audience segment targeting to ad groups and reach people based on who they are, their interests and habits, what they’re actively researching, or how they've interacted with your business. Audience segment targeting can boost your campaign's performance by reaching people browsing websites, using apps, or watching videos. Read the personalized advertising policy (formerly known as interest-based advertising) to help improve the experience for users and advertisers alike.
How audience targeting works
For Display, Search, Video, Hotel and Standard Shopping campaigns, audiences are made up of segments, or groups of people with specific interests, intents, and demographic information, as estimated by Google. When adding an audience to a campaign or ad group, you can select from a wide range of segments. For example, these segments could include fans of sport and travel, people shopping for cars, or specific people that have visited your website or app. Google Ads will show ads to people who are likely in the selected categories.
Users are allocated into audience categories for targeting on third-party websites and apps based primarily on their activity on third-party websites and apps. Users are allocated into audience categories for targeting on Google’s own products based primarily on their activity on these products.
See below for a brief description of the different audience segment types to use for targeting in your campaigns:
- Affinity segments: Reach users based on what they're passionate about and their habits and interests.
- Custom segments: Custom segments help you reach your ideal audience by entering relevant keywords, URLS and apps.
- Detailed demographics: Reach users based on long-term life facts.
- Life events: Reach users when they're in the midst of important life milestones.
- In-market: Reach users based on their recent purchase intent.
- Your data segments: Reach users that have interacted with your business.
- Website and app visitors: Reach people who have visited either your website or your apps.
- Customer Match: Reach your existing customers based on your CRM data.
- Similar segments: Reach new users with similar interests to your website visitors or existing customers.
The table below summarizes which audience segment type is available for each campaign type:
|Campaign type||Affinity segments||Custom segments||Detailed demographics||Life events||In-market||Your data|
Note: For Performance Max campaigns, audience signals indicating which users are most likely to convert can be added to the campaign to help speed up machine learning. However, this is not a guarantee that ads will be served to only users within these audiences. If it’s determined that other segments of users are converting well, ads will be served outside of users specified in the audience signals. Learn more about building an asset group and audience signals in Performance Max
Different audience targeting options
Once you’ve identified the interests, needs, behaviors, and goals of your audience, you can define who your audience will be for a particular campaign or ad group. You can select segments that are preconfigured by Google Ads.Affinity segments
With affinity segments, you can reach people based on a holistic picture of their lifestyles, passions, and habits. Those in the affinity segment have demonstrated a qualified passion in a given topic, allowing you to reach the people that matter most with their products or offerings.
Currently, all Google advertisers can access affinity segments in Search, Display, Standard Shopping, and Video campaigns, as well as Gmail and Display & Video 360.
Engage with viewers on YouTube, Gmail and Display around important life milestones, like graduating from college, moving homes, or getting married. By understanding when these moments are taking place, you can tailor your advertising to reach the right users with the right messages.
Like other important milestones, life events are infrequent, and as a result may reach a smaller segment compared to affinities. However, since life events may correspond with many related purchasing decisions, the segment is often larger than the in-market segment, which corresponds with a single purchasing decision. For example, someone who’s about to move will likely buy new furniture, moving services, mortgages, and other moving-related items during the months of their move.
Select from this segment to find customers who are in the market, which means that they're researching products and are actively considering buying a service or product like yours.
In-market segments are designed for advertisers focused on getting conversions from likely buyers. These segments reach consumers close to completing a purchase.
Find a curated segment of in-market segments by downloading this CSV.
Custom segments let you decide how you want to reach your ideal segment by entering keywords, URLs and apps.
You can set up a custom segment in your Display, Discovery, Gmail, Standard Shopping, and Video campaigns by including specific keywords, URLs and apps related to your product or service. Google Ads will then display ads to people who are likely to be interested in these keywords on pages, apps, and videos.
By inferring your campaign goals and bidding strategy, the system will interpret all of those signals and will choose a segment that is focused on one of the following:
For example, rather than reaching the Sports Fans affinity segment, a running shoe company may want to reach Avid Marathon Runners instead. With a custom segment, the shoe company can define this segment by:
- Entering interests like "5K in San Francisco," "triathlon athlete," or "long distance runner"
- Using URLs of websites with content about running, training schedules, marathon nutrition, and other marathon themes
- Entering apps
The auto-created custom intent segment allows you to define and reach the ideal segment for your Display campaigns. You can use a custom intent segment to target a specific vertical or landing page.
For now, auto-created segments are available in English, German, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, French, and Italian. Check back for updates. New languages will be added over time.
Your data segments (formerly known as remarketing)
You can also reach people who have already engaged with your company’s products and services, including past visitors to a website, mobile app, videos, or customers who have given you their contact information. Learn more about your data segment. Your data segments include:
- People who’ve visited your website or apps.
- Customers who have shared information with you. This online and offline data can help you reach and re-engage your customers across Search, Shopping, Gmail, Standard Shopping, YouTube, and Display.
- People who share similar interests with your customers. Google Ads compares new users to the data and customer segments you provide, and automatically updates similar segments for relevancy. To avoid overlap, your original segment is automatically excluded from your similar segment. Learn more about similar segments
Demographics commonly refer to age, gender, and parental status, but detailed demographic segments are broad segments of the population that share common traits. Detailed demographic segments include college students, homeowners, or new parents. Find a curated segment of detailed demographics by downloading this CSV.
How bidding for segments works with multiple campaigns
If you have multiple campaigns targeting the same traffic, the auction will select the one with the highest effective bid.
Suppose Campaign A and Campaign B are targeting the same model of shoes in a user locality.
Campaign A has a $2 base bid, with a 100% bid multiplier for an audience segment, and Campaign B has a $5 base bid with no multiplier. Campaign B will earn the impression, even though it has no segment bid adjustment.
About dynamic prospecting
Use dynamic prospecting to reach and attract new customers with ads for your highest-performing products.
How it works
Dynamic prospecting uses machine learning to predict which feed items prospective buyers are looking for. Using historical feed performance and user behavior, dynamic prospecting predicts which new users are most likely to perform well for items in your feed. Once the system finds statistically significant relationships between feed items and user intent, it combines that possible intent with demographics-based information such as age and gender to match the user’s intent with a relevant product in your feed. The products in your feed are evaluated and selected based on performance, relevance, and other factors to determine which ones are most likely to lead to conversions.
Smart Display campaigns are recommended for dynamic prospecting campaigns, since they can simply and easily combine dynamic remarketing users with prospecting users for effective full-funnel setup.
Imagine you're a hotel provider, and a customer wants to take a vacation in Paris. This customer is researching many topics about Paris, such as its cultural attractions, restaurants, hotels, and flight options. Since you have enabled dynamic prospecting, every new bit of relevant information in this user’s journey that indicates their travel intent to Paris, helps Google's systems know that showing your Parisian hotels to this customer is more likely to lead to a relevant, assistive-style ad that this user may be more likely to convert from.
About Target frequency
Starting in the second half of 2022, you can use Target frequency as an optimization solution for shaping your reach and driving higher ad viewing on YouTube in your brand awareness campaigns. It’s a simplified way to drive higher ad viewing to achieve your frequency goals.
Target frequency campaigns do positive targeting to show ads based on an advertiser-defined weekly Target frequency to as many users as possible. It assumes building frequency is your most important goal. It serves first ad impressions to as many users matching your campaign criteria as possible. After users are served the first impression, they automatically become eligible for the remaining frequencies over a period of 7 days, even if their audience profile changes or they are served impressions outside the specified topics and/or dynamic lineups. This increases brand awareness among the target audience. Learn more About Target frequency