Set up your data segments for Search ads campaign

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. Click the Campaigns icon Campaigns Icon and open the “Audiences, keywords and content” tab and click Audiences. 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 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.

By targeting your data segments in Search ads you can customize your Search Network campaigns to reach people who have previously visited your website. This article explains how to apply your data segments that include your website visitors to your Search campaigns.

How it works

You can use your data segments for bidding and targeting on ad groups or campaigns -- but not on both levels at the same time for a given campaign.

Let's say you've added your data segments to a set of ad groups, and now you want to use these data segments for the entire campaign. To do so, you need to remove the data segments from the ad groups within the campaign, then apply them at the campaign level.

Similarly, if you’ve added your data segments to a campaign, and now you want to use them for targeting some ad groups within the campaign, add the data segments again to each ad group in that campaign. There isn't a limit on switching the levels, you just need to follow the correct order.

Instructions

Once you add a global site tag on your website, you’ll see a few automatically created data segments in your Audience Manager. You can use these data segments right away or create new data segments for your website visitors, and apply them for bidding or targeting in your ad groups or campaigns.

To apply data segments to a single Search Network campaign or ad group:

Note: The instructions below are part of the new design for the Google Ads user experience. To use the previous design, click the "Appearance" icon, and select Use previous design. If you're using the previous version of Google Ads, review the Quick reference map or use the Search bar in the top navigation panel of Google Ads to find the page you’re searching for.
  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Campaigns icon Campaigns Icon.
  2. Click the Audiences, keywords, and content drop down in the section menu.
  3. Click Audiences.

Optimization

  1. To make charges to your targeting, click Edit Audience Segments.
  2. Select the campaign or ad group that you want to update.
  3. Use the “Search” and “Browse” options to find and select the segments that you want to target.
  4. Click the checkbox next to the segment you'd like to target. This will add them to your targeting.
  5. Click Save.

Confirm your targeting settings

There are two targeting settings available:

“Observation”
(Recommended for Search and Hotel Ads campaigns)

  • You can observe the performance of your data segments, and also use bid adjustments for members of your data segments.
  • It does not restrict the reach of your campaign or ad group.

“Targeting”
(Recommended for Video and Display Network campaigns)

  • You'll only show ads to members of your data segments.
  • Targeting restricts the reach of your campaign or ad group.
  • You can still set different bid adjustments for members of your data segments.
Note: Keywords are required for Search ads campaigns targeting your data segments, except Dynamic Search ads campaigns, regardless of the targeting settings selected.

Learn more about "Targeting" and "Observation" settings

Add data segments using copy and paste

To copy your data segments from one campaign or ad group to another:

Note: The instructions below are part of the new design for the Google Ads user experience. To use the previous design, click the "Appearance" icon, and select Use previous design. If you're using the previous version of Google Ads, review the Quick reference map or use the Search bar in the top navigation panel of Google Ads to find the page you’re searching for.
  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Campaigns icon Campaigns Icon.
  2. Click the Audiences, keywords, and content drop down in the section menu.
  3. Click Audiences.
  4. Click Edit Audience Segments.
  5. Check the boxes next to the data segments that you want to copy.
  6. Click the “Edit” drop-down menu, then select Copy.

To paste your copied data segments:

  1. From the page menu on the left, click Campaigns and then filter for all Search campaigns.
  2. To paste segments at the campaign level, stay on the "Campaigns" page. To paste segments to ad groups, click Ad groups from the page menu.
  3. Check the boxes next to the campaigns or ad groups where you want to paste your data segments.
  4. Click the “Edit” drop-down menu and select Paste.
  5. Confirm options and click Paste.
    • "Include bids": Leaving this checked will include the bid modifiers for your data segment when pasting. If an ad group is already using a data segment, the pasted bid value will override the existing ad group bid modifier.
    • "Campaign targeting settings" or "Ad group targeting settings": This setting will determine the destination campaigns' or ad groups' targeting settings for data segments. The “Smart default (recommended)” option keeps current targeting settings for your audience segments. If an ad group doesn’t have any active audience segment, the default setting will be selected:
      • “Observation” for Search Network and Shopping campaigns
      • “Targeting” for Video and Display Network campaigns
    • You can also choose to manually override the settings to “Observation” or “Targeting.”

Apply data segments to multiple Search campaigns/ad groups

To apply data segments across your entire account:

Note: The instructions below are part of the new design for the Google Ads user experience. To use the previous design, click the "Appearance" icon, and select Use previous design. If you're using the previous version of Google Ads, review the Quick reference map or use the Search bar in the top navigation panel of Google Ads to find the page you’re searching for.
  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Tools icon Tools Icon.
  2. Click the Shared library drop down in the section menu.
  3. Click Audience manager.
  4. From the page menu on the left, click Audience lists.
  5. Choose the data segment you’d like to add.
  6. Click Add to, then select Campaigns (preferred) or Ad Groups.
  7. Select the checkbox for the campaigns you want to choose or select the top checkbox to choose all campaigns.
  8. Click Next.
  9. Select a targeting setting, then click Add Audiences. The data segments will now be added to the selected campaigns. You can now re-adjust bid adjustment or use smart bidding.

If your account has a mix of campaign and ad group level data segments, repeat steps 5 to 8 twice, first to add the data segments to all campaigns at campaign level, next to add the data segments to all ad groups at ad group level. This will ensure complete coverage.

Note

  • If you add a data segment to all campaigns, the campaigns/ad groups that already contain the data segment will be skipped. This will help fill gaps in coverage.
  • If you add a data segment at the campaign level, a campaign that has the data segment at the ad group level will be skipped since there’s a conflict. Similarly, if you add a data segment at the ad group level, the ad group that falls under a campaign that’s using the data segment will be skipped.
Tips for setting up data segments for Search ads
  • Place a single tag once throughout your site, and create as many data segments as you want based on sections of your site that people visit.
  • Categorize your visitors by creating more refined data segments to tailor your ads and bid for optimized performance.
  • Place one tag in the footer of your site that will work on all pages. You can also paste the tag using a content management system.

Types of website visitor segments available for Google Search:

  • Visitors of a page
  • Visitors of a page with a specific tag
  • Custom combination (if based on the same segment types as shown above)

Optional next steps

  1. Create data segments for your website visitors
  2. Add the global site tag across your entire site
Setting bids, tailoring ads, and copying campaigns
  • To change the bids on existing keywords for people on your data segments, you can use the bid adjustments feature. You can set bid adjustments for data segments in your campaigns or leverage automated bidding using Smart Bidding as it considers audience segment factors when setting auction-time bids.
  • To bid on keywords that you don't normally bid on so you can show your ads to people on your data segments, create a new campaign with these keywords, and use the Targeting setting for your audience segments.
  • To show different ads to people on your data segments, you can use IF Functions for your ads, which allows you to customize your message for different segments.

Tip

Once you've set up your campaign with a data segment, update the bids and budgets and create customized ads keeping in mind that people on your data segment have already shown an interest in your product or service.

If you’ve applied multiple audience segments to a campaign, and a Search user is added to more than one segment, the segment with highest bid adjustment receives the impression attribution.

Different segment sizes for different networks

Data segment sizes can be significantly different because there are different types of identifiers used to create these segments. In addition, some data segments are available for both Google Search and the Display Network, while others are available for the Display Network only. The "Search" segment size is based on people in your segment who have searched on Google in the previous 30 days.

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