Migration from audience keywords to custom intent audiences

Audience keywords is being upgraded to custom intent audiences. Once this upgrade is complete, you’ll be able to use custom intent audiences to reach consumers throughout their purchase journey. You’ll be able to choose from surfaced audience recommendations, search through our catalog of pre-created audiences or define your own audience using keywords, URLs and apps. Since December 2018, we provided a self-migration flow within Google Ads to help guide you through the process of migrating your Audience keyword campaigns to custom intent audiences. Using the self-migration flow was optional as all ad groups using audience keywords will be automatically upgraded in April 2019.

Custom intent audiences

Custom intent audiences are the evolution of audience keywords, and offer a number of key benefits over audience keywords, with improved performance, more scale, simplified audience management and the option to use auto-created audience recommendations. Learn more about custom intent audiences. For any new campaigns, it is recommended to use custom intent audiences rather than audience keywords.

How it works

Starting in April 2019, all ad groups with audience keywords targeting will be automatically upgraded to using custom intent audiences. An algorithm in Google Ads will analyze your existing audience keywords in ad groups and find custom intent audiences that represent similar targeting intent. You will most likely see a slight improvement in performance as a result of this migration.

Note: It is not recommended to run a head-to-head test between audience keywords and custom intent ad groups. Since you cannot compete with yourself, your existing ad group will always be given priority. You should avoid adding audience keywords and custom intent audiences to the same ad group, or your ads will stop serving.

Other considerations

For ad groups that currently have both audience keywords and other audience targeting (e.g., affinity, remarketing list, user list, in-market, etc.), the migration will have to choose whether to convert the audience keywords to custom intent audiences OR to preserve the existing audience targeting. This is because custom intent audiences and other audience targeting types can't serve in the same ad group. The migration chooses whether to use the newly converted custom intent audiences and delete the other audience targeting, or vice versa, based on which minimizes potential changes in that ad group's performance. It is possible for this targeting change to increase affected ad groups' reach - and therefore spend.

When Audience keyword migrations result in sensitive custom intent audience segments, these sensitive segments are defaulted into contextual targeting only (similar to the treatment of sensitive audience keywords prior to migration). Learn more about targeting constraints

If you’re using the “Observation” feature to monitor and set custom bids for criteria, your targeting may be migrated depending on whether you’re using a bid modifier.

  • If you aren’t using a bid modifier, your “Observation” targeting will be deleted.
  • If you are using bid modifiers, which means that the amount you bid varies across audience groups, an average effective bid will be applied across all audiences within an ad group.

If you have Audience keyword bids at the keyword level, the average effective audience bid will be applied to your new bid for custom intent audience segments.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Account Manager or contact us.

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