Audiences are a group of users you can choose to target based on interests, intents and demographics. Google is expanding its ways to reach audiences on both search and display networks by providing more meaningful segments/categories. These segments look very similar to what we have on Facebook with more recent additions like demographics, detailed demographics, customer match, etc.

Below are the audience types available on both search and display networks in Google:

Search

  1. Re-marketing/Re-targeting: This is a group of users who’ve already visited or taken some action on your website. The users are tracked using a Google re-marketing code/analytics code (otherwise known as a tag or pixel), which places a cookie on the browsers of people visiting your website. The re-marketing lists can be created in Google Ads directly or imported from Google Analytics.
  2. Similar audiences: This is a group of users who have similar behavior to your existing audience list. The similar audience list is automatically created and updated by Google when you have at least one eligible list under “Audiences.”
  3. Customer Match: This is a group of users we can target based on data shared by them. Customer match allows us to reach users who are logged in with their email address in Google, YouTube or Gmail.
  4. In-market: This is a group of users who’re actively researching, browsing or comparing (basically, showing intent) in the type of products you sell or the services you are into. Here are the toplevel in-market segments that’re available for targeting:
        Apparel & Accessories        Event Tickets
        Autos & Vehicles        Financial Services
        Baby & Children’s Products        Gifts & Occasions
        Beauty Products & Services        Home & Garden
        Business Services        Real Estate
        Computers & Peripherals        Software
        Consumer Electronics        Sports & Fitness
        Dating Services        Telecom
        Education        Travel
        Employment

Below is the path to find these audiences in Search:

Search campaigns > “Audiences” > “Select Campaign/Ad Group” > “Audience Type”

Display

  1. Re-marketing/Re-targeting: This is a group of users who’ve already visited or taken some action on your website. The users are tracked using a Google re-marketing code/analytics code (otherwise known as a tag or pixel), which places a cookie on the browsers of people visiting your website. The re-marketing lists can be created in Google Ads directly or imported from Google Analytics.
  2. Similar audiences: This is a group of users who have similar behavior to your existing audience list. The similar audience list is automatically created and updated by Google when you have at least one eligible list under “Audiences.”
  3. Affinity and Custom Affinity: These are groups of users we can target based on their interests and habits. Affinity audiences are pre-defined interest lists created by Google whereas Custom Affinity allows you to create your own Affinity audiences based on specific interests, URLs, places or apps.
  4. In-market and custom intent: This is a group of users who’re actively researching, browsing or comparing (basically, showing intent) in the type of products you sell or the services you are into. Custom intent targeting allows you to customize your audiences based on the products and services relevant to you. Here are the top-level affinity interests’ segments that’re available for targeting:
        Banking & Finance        News & Politics
        Beauty & Wellness        Shoppers
        Food & Dining        Sports & Fitness
        Home & Garden        Technology
        Lifestyles & Hobbies        Travel
        Media & Entertainment        Vehicles & Transportation

Custom intent targeting is available in two options:

  1. Segments that’re automatically created by Google based on your existing Google Ads campaigns and account settings.
  2. By creating custom audiences by inputting keywords/URLs that closely match your products/services.

Below is the path to find these audiences in Display.

Display campaigns > “Audiences” > “Select Campaign/Ad Group” > “Audience Type”

Demographics Targeting

The demographics targeting feature in Google Ads allows you to target users based on their age group, gender, parental status and household income.

Demographics targeting options available in Google Ads are as follows:

AgeGenderParental StatusHousehold Income
        18-24        Female        Parent        Top 10%
        25-34        Male        Not a parent        11-20%
        35-44        Unknown        Unknown        21-30%
        45-54        31-40%
        55-64        41-50%
        65 or more        Lower 50%
        Unknown        Unknown

What’s new in search?

Detailed demographics: Detailed demographics includes targeting people based on the parental status, marital status, education, homeownership status and employment. Detailed demographics targeting is an expansion to the existing demographics targeting which is only available for Search campaigns as of now.

The following are detailed demographics targeting options available in Google Ads:

Parental statusMarital status
•  Parents of Infants (0-1 years)•  Single
•  Parents of Toddlers (1-3 years)•  In a Relationship
•  Parents of Preschoolers (4-5 years)•  Married
•  Parents of Grade-Schoolers (6-12 years)
•  Parents of Teens (13-17 years)
Homeownership StatusEmployment
•  Homeowners Company Size
•  Renters•  Small Employer (1-249 Employees)
•  Midsize Employer (250-999 Employees)
Education•  Large Employer (1k-10k Employees)
•  Current College Students•  Very Large Employer (10k+ Employees)
Highest Level of Educational Attainment     Industry
•  High School Graduate•  Construction Industry
•  Bachelor’s Degree•  Education Sector
•  Advanced Degree•  Financial Industry
•  Healthcare Industry
•  Hospitality Industry
•  Manufacturing Industry
•  Real Estate Industry
•  Technology Industry

Case Studies

Industry: Real Estate (B2C)

By adding detailed demographics data, we found that audience groups “Homeowners,” “Parents of Grade-Schoolers (6-12 years)” and “Parents of Preschoolers (4-5 years)” had a very good conversion rate and low cost-per-lead when compared to overall search metrics (16-percent higher conversion rate and 10-percent lower CPL). This helped us make the bid adjustments for these audiences at the campaign level.

By using the combined lists like “All Visitors Minus All Converters,” “Site Visitors Not Converted for Last 14 Days,” etc. we were able to re-target the visitors who hadn’t converted in the past for us at a lower CPA and higher conversion rate (30-percent higher conversion rate and 17-percent lower CPL).

Industry: Business Services and Software (B2B)

By adding in-market audiences like “Business & Productivity Software,” “Business Financial Services” and “Business Services” to one of our major B2B clients and managing the bids at audience-level helped us in achieving a 3-percent increase in conversion rate.

Detailed demographics categories like “Employment > Industry” and “Employment > Company Size” had 38-percent higher conversion rates and 25-percent lower CPL when compared to overall search metrics. We used this data to optimize our bids at campaign-level by looking into subcategories like “Hospitality Industry,” “Financial Industry,” “Small Employer,” “Midsize Employer,” etc.

 

Some Tips

  1. If you already have an existing customer database, give enough time to study them.
  2. Make use of lookalike/similar audience targeting features. These should also give you some ideas on choosing the right demographics segments.
  3. Do a competitive analysis and use competitors’ URLs/keywords to build your own custom intent and Affinity targeting groups.
  4. Always engage with your existing users who’ve shown interest in your product/service by having a proper re-marketing strategy.

The decision of using the right audience and platform (Google Ads or Facebook) depends on business goals and marketing intelligence to help identify the right one. By doing detailed research, you can reach the right target audiences who’re interested in your product or service.

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