Audience Targeting

May 11, 2020

What is it and why are marketers not using it more often? By adding audience targeting methods to your campaign, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to increase your campaign’s performance.

One of Google Ads’ biggest sells, is capitalising on user intent, but what about all of the prospective sales we are missing out on?

This is where audience targeting comes in.

With keyword targeting, our ads are served to those users with a direct interest in our products or service, whereas with audience targeting, we can reach a whole different spectrum of users.

By including audience targeting within your Google Ads campaigns, you can not only increase your chances of finding relevant customers, but also give your business an advantage on competitors who are still running keyword only campaigns.

A good place to start is by adding some predefined audiences to your existing Google Ads campaigns, such as Affinity, Detailed Demographics and In-Market Audiences.

Affinity Audiences have been around for a long time on Display and Video campaigns, but were only added to Search campaigns towards the end of 2019 – making them a relatively new feature within Google Ads.

These audiences allow marketers to reach users based on their interests and hobbies, or things that they are passionate about.

If, for example, we select the ‘Motorcycle Enthusiasts’ Affinity Audience, the users in this audience have been categorised through their browsing history and search history as having interacted with pages related to motorcycles. These audiences allow us to expand our prospective customers by showing not just users with intent, but also by capitalising on other signals that could indicate an interest in what your company has to offer.

Detailed Demographic Audience targeting was introduced across Google Ads in mid-2018, as an expansion of the already existing targeting for age, gender and location targeting.

Using Detailed Demographic information we are able to target based on segments such as homeownership status, relationship status and education status.

These segments add relevance to your campaigns, with minimal risk. By adding these to our campaigns, we are able to see which users engage and buy our brand most through Google.

In-Market Audiences reach users based on their intent to purchase.

Similarly to Affinity Audiences, In-Market Audiences were previously only available on Display and YouTube campaigns – later being rolled out to Search campaigns in 2018.

In-Market Audiences use Google’s machine learning to analyse search queries and website behaviour to make sure your ad is being seen by users with the intent to purchase, at a time when they are ready to commit to buying them.

Take an example in-market audience, such as ‘Child Car Seats’, users within this category will already be considerably further down the funnel than a first-time user making an intent-based search. This user may have already engaged previously with an ad for a child’s car seat, they may have been browsing websites related to children’s car seats and they might have been actively researching the safest car seats for their child.

All of these factors are considered by Google when placing them into the audience segment. By getting your ads seen by these users, we are increasing our likelihood of increasing our campaign’s conversions and reducing wasted ad spend.

Whilst there still seems to be a hesitance amongst marketers to run solely audience-targeted campaigns, and an insistence that keyword is still king amongst targeting methods, there’s a definite case for people to explore these audience segments and trial them with existing campaigns.

Google Ads allows for audiences to be added on ‘Targeting’ level, or ‘Observation’ level. ‘Targeting’ means that it is a requirement for the user to match both the keyword and be in the audience in question, therefore narrowing the search. Whilst using audiences on an ‘Observation’ level allows for reach to be unaffected by the addition of audiences but still adding another layer of segments to further discover more about the users are engaging with your brand.

By adding audience targeting methods to your campaign, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to increase your campaign’s performance and reduce wasted ad spend, whilst collecting important segment data about your customers in the process – making this a much overlooked asset to Google Ads and Search marketing in general.

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