About custom audiences

Custom audiences help you reach your ideal audience by entering relevant keywords, URLs and apps. 

You can set up a custom audience in your Display, Discovery, Gmail and Video campaigns by adding specific keywords, URLs and apps related to your product or service. Google Ads will then show ads to people with these interests or purchase intentions on pages, apps and videos. Learn more about audience targeting.

Previously, you could create custom intent or custom affinity audience types. With the new custom audiences this choice is no longer needed: based on your campaign goals and keywords, the new custom audiences will interpret all of these signals behind the scenes to tune towards Reach, Consideration or Performance, bringing efficiency to your account management. If you’ve previously selected to target audiences by custom intent and custom affinity, you don’t need to do anything. Those audiences will be automatically migrated to custom audiences (Please note that there is no impact on performance nor loss of functionality in existing lists once the migration to custom audiences happens).

How custom audiences work

Custom audiences automatically choose the right audience to best fit the needs of your campaign. Based on your campaign goals and bidding strategy, the system will interpret all of those signals and choose an audience that is focused on one of the following:

  • Reach
  • Consideration 
  • Performance 

Example:

Rather than reaching the Sports Fans affinity audience, a running shoe company may want to reach Avid Marathon Runners instead. With custom audiences, the shoe company can define this audience by entering keywords, URLs and/or apps:

  • Entering interests like "5K runs" "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 the Health & Fitness category that an Avid Marathon Runner may likely be interested in like Google Fit.

Custom audience inputs 

Reach people based on      Inputs Audience type
Interest or behaviors                                             Keywords

Enter interests, in the form of keywords or phrases, that represent your ideal customer. Your ads will reach people likely to be interested in or with purchase intent for your keywords based on their behavior and activities, such as apps they use or the type of content they browse or search for online.

When you enter interests or behaviors, you have a choice of how Google should interpret the inputs.

  • People with any of these interests or purchase intentions (This is the default) 
  • People who searched for any of these terms on Google properties (such as Google.com and YouTube). Only on campaigns running on Google properties. On other campaigns, they will be used as interests or purchase intentions.
People who browse websites similar to URLs

Enter website addresses (URLs) that your ideal customer might visit. Your ads will reach people who browse websites similar to the URLs you enter. 

Note: This doesn't mean your ads will show on those URLs.

People who use apps similar to Apps

Enter the names of apps that you think your ideal customer might use. Your ads will reach people who download and use apps similar to the ones you enter. 

Note: This doesn’t mean that your ads will show on those apps.

 

Set up or edit custom audiences

Set up custom audiences within your campaigns

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account
  2. From the navigation bar on the left, click on the Display, Discovery, Gmail and Video campaign or the name of the specific campaign you are adding custom audiences to. 
  3. From the page menu to the right of the navigation bar, click on Audiences.
  4. Click the pencil icon Edit.
  5. The "Edit audiences" section will appear. In that section, click Browse.
  6. Select Your custom audiences.
    1. If you have previously created custom audiences, you’ll see them here.
    2. To create a new custom audience, click the plus button .
  7. Fill in a name for your custom audience. 
  8. Then select:
    1. People with any of these interests or purchase intentions. Enter keywords describing your ideal customer’s interests or products and services they are actively researching to buy. Your ads will reach people with those interests or purchase intentions based on your campaign settings, such as marketing objectives or bidding strategy.
    2. People who searched for any of these terms on Google. Enter search terms your ideal customer is using on Google properties (such as Google.com and YouTube). Your ads will reach people who searched for those and similar terms, only on campaigns running on Google properties. On other campaigns, the terms will be used as interest or purchase intentions. 
  9. Click Save audience

Set up custom audiences from Audience Manager

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account
  2. Click the tools icon  in the upper right corner.
  3. Under “Shared library,” select Audience manager.
  4. From the menu at the top, select the Custom Audiences page. 
  5. To create a new custom audience, click the plus button .
  6. Fill in a name for your custom audience. 
  7. Then select:
    • People with any of these interests or purchase intentions. This is the default option. Enter keywords describing your ideal customer’s interests or products and services they are actively researching to buy. Your ads will reach people with those interests or purchase intentions based on your campaign settings, such as marketing objectives or bidding strategy.
    • People who searched for any of these terms on Google. Enter search terms your ideal customer is using on Google properties (such as Google.com and YouTube) Your ads will reach people who searched for those and similar terms (only on campaigns running on Google properties). On other campaigns, the terms will be used as interest or purchase intentions. 
  8. Click Save audience

Migration of your existing custom intent and custom affinity audience types

If you’ve previously set up custom intent or custom affinity audience types, you don’t need to make any changes. All of the inputs will be automatically migrated to the custom audience type. In addition, if the custom affinity or custom intent audience has keywords:

  • Custom affinity on all campaigns: Audiences with keywords will become “People with any of these interests or purchase intentions"
  • Custom intent on Display campaigns: Audiences with keywords will become “People with any of these interests or purchase intentions."
  • Custom intent on YouTube, Gmail and Discovery campaigns: Audiences will become “People who searched for any of these terms on Google properties (such as Google.com and YouTube)”
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