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. From November on, you will find 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 is optional, and all ad groups using audience keywords will eventually be automatically upgraded in March 2019.

As a part of both the self-migration and the automatic migration that will occur later, 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.

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

With the launch of the self-migration flow in Google Ads, you’ll see which of your ad groups and keywords using audience keyword targeting are eligible to be converted into custom intent audiences. Please note that once you upgrade, you won’t be able to revert back to audience keywords. Starting in March 2019, all remaining eligible ad groups will be upgraded automatically. Using the self-migration flow is optional and won’t impact the eventual automatic upgrade in March.

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.

Ad groups not eligible for migration

All ad groups with audience keywords will be eligible for migration, except in the following cases:

  • When Audience keyword targeting is very broad, and removing it will not significantly impact traffic levels. Instead of being migrated, these Audience keyword targeting criteria will be dropped.

  • When there is existing audience targeting that significantly influences your campaign’s reach. In these cases, that existing audience targeting will be preserved, and your Audience keyword targeting will either be dropped or transformed into contextual targeting.

For ad groups that are not eligible for the self-migration, migration support will be added at the end of the year, and all remaining ad groups will be automatically migrated in March 2019. You do not have to take any action on these ineligible ad groups for them to be part of this later automatic migration.

Other considerations

  • When Audience keyword migrations result in sensitive custom intent audience segments, these sensitive segments are defaulted into contextual targeting only. 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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