About audience targeting

To provide a comprehensive and consolidated view of your Audiences and make audience management and optimization simpler, you’ll see 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

To provide a comprehensive and consolidated view of your content targeting and make content targeting management and optimization simpler, you’ll see the following improvements in Google Ads:

All types of content targeting will be found under “Content” in the side navigation

  •  “Topics”, “Placements”, “Display and Video Keywords” and “Exclusions” for all types of content targeting are now categorized under the “Content” tab in the side navigation menu. For “Exclusions”, click the drop-down arrow to the right of the term “Exclusions” to select exclusions for topics, placements, or Display and Video keywords.

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.

As Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policies go into effect, your data segments (especially website, app and automatically created segments) and Customer Match segments may be impacted on iOS 14 traffic (including the use of these segments for exclusions). Campaigns promoting web-based conversion goals - particularly those using Customer Match and your other data segments - may also see performance fluctuations. During this time we will be expanding modeled conversions to more iOS 14 traffic.

How audience targeting works

For Display, Search, Video, and Hotel 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.

Note: The data used to generate audience segments (for example, page visit history, past Google searches), may be used to improve the bidding and targeting of your audience campaigns.

See the table below for a brief description of the different audience segment types to use for targeting in your campaigns:

Campaign type Audience segment types

Image ad example for Google Display Network ad

Display

  • Affinity: Reach users based on what they're passionate about and their habits and interests.
  • Custom segments: Depending on your campaign goal, reach users based on what they're passionate about, their habits and interests. Also reach users based on their recent purchase intent. You can learn more About custom audiences.
  • Detailed Demographics: Reach users based on long-term life facts.
  • Life Events: Reach users when they are 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.

Text ad example of a Google Search Network Ad

Search

  • Affinity: Reach users based on what they're passionate about and their habits and interests.
  • Detailed Demographics: Reach users based on long-term life facts.
  • 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 your website and/or 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.

Video ad example

Video

  • Affinity: Reach users based on what they're passionate about and their habits and interests.
  • Custom segments: Depending on your campaign goal, reach users based on what they're passionate about and their habits and interests. Also each users based on their recent purchase intent.
  • Detailed Demographics: Reach users based on long-term life facts.
  • 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 your website and/or 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.

Hotel ads example

Hotel

  • Your data: Reach users that have interacted with your business (website visitors, similar audiences, custom combination, and customer segments).

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, and Video campaigns, as well as Gmail and Display & Video 360.

Find a curated segment of affinity categories by downloading this CSV.
Life events

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.

In-market segments

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

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 and Video campaigns by including specific keywords, URLs and apps related to your product or service. Google Ads will then show 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 chose a segment that is focused on one of the following:

  • Reach
  • Consideration
  • Performance

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 in
Custom intent segments: auto-created (Display)

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, 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
Detailed demographics

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.

Example

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

Dynamic prospecting is one way to extend  the power of your feed-based dynamic remarketing to reach new users with your high-performing products. Unlike dynamic remarketing, which is focused on getting the most value out of your existing customers, dynamic prospecting is used to acquire new users. This difference makes dynamic prospecting the preferable method if you’re a new advertiser or if you’re targeting an audience different from your own first-party data (including your remarketing lists).

Note: If you want to use Retail feeds along with your Smart Display Campaigns, please create a Smart Shopping Campaign or contact your Google Account Representative. Learn more about Smart Shopping Campaigns.

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.

Example

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.

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