Use rules for data segments that include your website visitors

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

While Google Ads creates data segments that include your website visitors, you may want to create your own segments that are customized to your website and audience. This article contains instructions to help you create actions and action rules based on your website's visitors or their activity on a page.

Before you begin

New to targeting? Review more information about setting up your data segments. If you aren't familiar with your website's code, consider working with a developer or someone who has a technical background.

If you've set up the Google tag to track your website visitors, you'll see that it consists of the Google tag and an event snippet. Learn how to set up conversion tracking for your website

Instructions

  1. Follow steps 1–7 in the instructions section of Create an audience segment that includes your website visitors.
  2. In the dialog that opens, add all the actions, rules, and conditions that a visitor needs to match. You can base these on a single action, multiple actions, and excluded actions.
  3. In the “Actions” section, choose an action from the drop-down menu and enter a value for “days”.
  4. If you want to narrow this action further, click Refine action.
  5. In the “Refine action” menu, add the parameters you want. In the first parameter drop-down menu, select the parameter you want to base your segment on. You can choose a basic option like URL, advanced options like referrer URL, parameters sent through the event snippets, or attributes from the Google Merchant Center (dynamic remarketing only).
  6. In the second condition drop-down menu, select an option such as "contains", "equals", or "starts with".
  7. Enter the value for the parameter such as words, a number, or a date, depending on the type of segment you're creating.
  8. Click Done.

Action rules for specific pages

You can create action rules for people who viewed a specific page, for example your homepage, conversion page, or other specific pages.

Start by creating an action, then select “Refine action”. In the action rule builder, select "Page URL" and "equals" from the parameters drop-down menus. Enter the full URL in the text box, copying it exactly as it appears in a web browser and including your site's protocol ("http" or "https"). In cases where you don't know the protocol or have a page that uses both protocols, you can select "contains" and not include the protocol in the URL.

Example

An airline wants to create a data segment of people who visited their spring deals page. They create an action with an action rule that has the parameters "Page URL equals https://example.com/flights/spring-deals".

Custom parameters

You can create more sophisticated data segments using custom parameters in your dynamic remarketing tag.

Parameter names and values aren't case sensitive. If a parameter shows up more than once in the drop-down menu, you only need to select one. For example, "firstname" and "FirstName" function the same, so you'd only need to make a parameter using one spelling.

Example

Your event snippet can pass to Google Ads the value of a viewed product (the custom parameter in this example would be "value"). From that information, you could create segments of people who viewed products with a price of less than $100 USD, $100-$500 USD, and more than $500+ USD.

Referrer URLs

You can create segments to reach people based on the URL they visited before they came to your website by adding an action with an action rule that has the parameter "Referrer URL contains".

Example

To create a segment of visitors who accessed your website from Google's search results, you can create an action with the action rule "Referrer URL contains www.google.com".

If someone visits website A and then website B by typing the URL of website B in the address bar, the URL of A can't be used as a referrer URL for B. The user must have prompted the referrer to navigate to the other page. This generally happens with the click of a link or button.

Formatting action rules

Rather than enter the full URL to create an action rule, you can enter key parts of it.

Note: To protect user privacy, content following a "#" in your URL won't be used for segment rule evaluation.

Descriptive URLs

If your website uses descriptive URLs, isolate the key part of the URL to create conditions for your action rule.

Example

An airline wants to create a segment of visitors to their flights pages and all sub-URLs, including visitors to pages about Washington.

  • "www.example.com/flights"
  • "www.example.com/flights/washington"
  • "www.example.com/flights/washington/seattle"
  • "www.example.com/flights/washington"
  • "www.example.com/flights/washington/tacoma"

To do so, they create the condition "Page URL contains flights".

Non-descriptive URLs

If your website uses non-descriptive URLs, usually you need to use custom parameters to create data segments instead of URLs. However, there are some non-descriptive URLs that you can use to create segments. For example, if you use IDs to identify a category or product you can use the IDs to create segments.

Example

An airline wants to create a segment of visitors to their flight pages that have the ID "category_id=23", like "www.example.com/?category_id=23&product_id=456". To do so, they create an action with the action rule "Page URL contains category_id=23".

Homepage URLs

If your homepage URL is structured like "www.example-site.com/index.html", type the homepage URL in the text box. If your site doesn't use "index.html", you need to use action rules. You might want to use "contains" instead of "equals" when you create your action rule. If you use "equals", the page URL needs to match exactly what you enter, and the URL may or may not include "www" or "https".

Note: Google Ads does not permit the implementation of tags on pages related to policy-restricted offers. Learn more about the Personalized advertising policy

Actions with multiple action rules

You can create an action with multiple action rules to help narrow or broaden your data segment. When you add multiple action rules to a single action, the website visitors must all follow those rules.

Example

An airline creates a data segment of people who searched their website for flights from the JFK airport but not to the JFK airport. The action includes the action rules "Page URL contains origin=JFK" and "Page URL does not contain dest=JFK". This means that only the people who searched and visited web pages for flights with JFK as the origin but not the destination will be added to the data segment.

"AND" actions together

When your action contains multiple action rules combined with “AND”, visitors will have to meet the parameters in all of the action rules to be added to the segment. Adding "AND" between multiple actions may make your segment smaller.

Example

A segment has 2 action rules combined with “AND”: “web page visits in the past 30 days where Page URL contains ‘category’” and “webpage visits in the past 30 days where Page URL contains ‘flights’”. People who visited "http://www.example.com/category/flights" would be added to the data segment. However, people who visited "http://www.example.com/category/travel-deals" and "http://flights.example.com" wouldn't because neither of these pages match all of the conditions.

"OR" actions together

When your action contains multiple action rules combined with “OR”, visitors will have to meet the parameters in any of the action rules to be added to the segment. Adding “OR” between multiple actions broadens your data segment.

Example

A segment has 2 action rules: "web page visit in the past 30 days where Page URL contains ‘category’" OR "webpage visit in the past 30 days where Page URL contains ‘flights’". People who visited "http://www.example.com/category/flights" or people who visited "http://www.example.com/category/travel-deals" would be added to the data segment. However, people who visited "http://travel-deals.example.com" wouldn't since the URL doesn’t match any of the conditions.

Combining "AND" and "OR" action rules together

When you combine both types of action rules in a segment, visitors are added to the segment when the pages they've visited match all of the "AND" actions and any of the "OR" actions.

Example

An airline adds an "OR" action rule with the parameter "web page visits in the past 30 days where Page URL contains ‘purchase’". It also adds an action with the 2 "AND" action rules "web page visits in the past 30 days where Page URL contains category" and "web page visit in the past 30 days where Page URL contains flights". People who visited both a page that contains “category” and a page that contains “flights” or any page that contains “purchase” in the last 30 days will be added to the segment.

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