How to target customers with Google Ads audience targeting

How To Target Customers With Adwords Audience Targeting

As the consumer market becomes more competitive, one of the key factors that can drive success is ensuring that your audience is being targeted in a granular way.  In this blog post, PPC Executive Anna Simpson explains how you can use Google Ads audience targeting to hone in on your potential customers.

What is audience targeting and how can my business use it?

Audience targeting is a feature that can be utilised in Google Ads which allows advertisers to be specific when choosing who sees their ads. This is done by taking into account factors such as:

  • What users are actively researching
  • When users are showing intent to purchase

This allows you to optimise your campaign spend to target the people most likely to purchase or enquire – every advertiser’s dream!

In-market audiences: reach your potential customers

In-market audiences have been available on Google’s Display Network since 2014 and were rolled out into the Search Network in July 2018. This audience targeting allows advertisers to reach potential customers who are currently browsing, researching and comparing similar items/services to your business. This means that they’re in the market for, and actively considering, buying a service or product like yours.

To define this audience, Google takes into account factors including clicks on related ads, the content of the sites and pages that the users are visiting, and the recency and frequency of visits. This is a great way of catching customers right before they are ready to covert making it a really effective way of targeting.

There are currently 508 different in-market audiences which you can choose from in your Google Ads account – so it’s more than likely that you’re able to find something relevant to your business from this huge range! After applying this audience strategy to your campaigns, you can add bid adjustments. This tells Google that if a user falls into the in-market category that you have applied, then you would like to bid more so that your ad appears for these particular users.

Note: bid adjustments will not be available with automated bidding strategies as this is taken into account within the strategy algorithms.

Businesses can improve the likelihood of a consumer converting with them instead of a competitor by using this method of targeting.

How do I set up in-market audiences?

If you think your business would benefit from using in-market audiences, then you can easily add them to your current campaigns. Select the campaign that you wish to apply the audience in, click on the audiences tab and then click on add new audience. Before you choose your audience type, ensure you have selected targeting or observation – whichever one suits the aim of your campaign the best. The option for in-market audiences is the second one down on the table so go ahead and select the most relevant category for your business. Each category has a drop-down menu which means that the audience can be narrowed down further to target even more specifically – so make sure you don’t miss any!

Custom intent audiences: be in control of who you target with display

Are your display campaigns under-performing? Then it’s worth exploring custom intent audiences. This is a really powerful new feature that Google introduced in November 2017. The feature allows you to define and reach your own ideal audience to target people who have shown intent to purchase your business’ products/services. Interested? I don’t blame you. There are two ways in which custom intent audiences can be implemented: auto-created or completely manual.

Let’s dig into the auto-created segments first – these are created specifically to your account, so segments you may see in one account could be completely different in another. This is because Google analyses the campaigns and data that are in the account already and uses its machine-learning technology to create audiences. Google takes into account keywords and URLs that appear in content that users are browsing whilst researching a specific product/service, and uses these insights to create an audience based off what Google sees from this, as intent to purchase.

Manual custom intent audiences have the same basis as this, except you can choose the URLs and keywords that you want to target rather than Google doing this for you. You want to ensure that the URLs and keywords all have a common theme so that Google can understand your ideal audience – best practice is to add around 15 as a total. It’s important that the keywords and URLs that you add relate to the product/services that the audience would be researching; think like a customer – which websites would you visit in order to make an informed decision before converting?

Custom intent audiences are a really great way of creating a granular audience, targeting users who are showing intent to convert. Allowing these audiences to be set up to be business specific shows that there is great potential for campaign success, as well as for the future of display advertising.

How do I set up custom intent audiences?

Select the display campaign that you would like to implement custom intent audiences in and then click on the Audiences tab down the side of the interface. Click on Add Audience and select either targeting or observation method – whichever is most suited to your campaign. The custom intent audience is located on the second line of the table and once clicked on you will be able to choose between auto-created segments (which you can browse through and select) or you can click Create New Custom Intent Audience. Make a start on adding the keywords and URLs that you would like to use if you’re creating your own. As you add more information, the estimated number of impressions for this audience will be visible, giving you a great indication as to how many people are likely to see your ad.

Following these steps will make sure that your ads get seen by the right people – now you can sit back, relax, and watch the conversions flood in!