As announced on November 1, 2022, similar audiences will be transitioned to more durable solutions. Starting May 1, 2023, there will be changes that will affect the way similar segments are used in Google Ads. Learn more about these Changes to audience targeting.
Custom segments help you reach your ideal audience by entering relevant keywords, URLs, and apps.
You can set up a custom segment in your Display, Discovery, Gmail, and Video campaigns by adding specific keywords, URLs, and apps related to your product or service. Google Ads will review these additions to ensure that they abide by advertising policies, and then show ads to people with these interests or purchase intentions on pages, apps, and videos. Learn more about audience targeting.
Estimate settings default to all campaign types, language, and location. After you edit “Audience insights” for the custom segments and save it, on re-opening the segment, the previous settings may reappear. These settings aren't saved, and they don't affect the performance of the segment.
How custom segments work
Custom segments 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:
Rather than reaching the Sports Fans affinity segment, a running shoe company may want to reach Avid Marathon Runners instead. With custom segments, the shoe company can define this segment by entering keywords, URLs, and 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 segment 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 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 segments
Set up custom segments from Audience Manager
- In your Google Ads account, click the Tools icon .
- Click the Shared library drop down in the section menu.
- Click Audience manager.
- From the menu at the top, select the Custom segments page.
- To create a new custom segment, click the plus button .
- Fill in a name for your custom segment.
- 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.
- Click Create.
Add custom segment targeting to your campaign or ad group
Add custom segment targeting
- In your Google Ads account, click the Campaigns icon .
- Click Audiences, keywords, and content.
- Click Audiences.
- In the “Audiences segment” module, click Edit audience segments.
- Click Select an ad group and then select a campaign and ad group from the list that appears. You can also search for the campaign or ad group you want to update.
- Select the audience segments you want your campaign to reach. Learn more about the types of audience segments that are available for each campaign type
- Click the checkbox next to the segment you'd like to add. This will add them to your targeting.
- Click Save.