Digital Marketing

Google Ads: What Are Audiences & How to Use Them in Your Campaign

Google Ads is hands down one of the best advertising platforms out there to put your brand in front of your target audience and grow your business. It provides the advertisers with some unique features and tools, unlike any other advertising platform. However, in order to make the most out of your advertising efforts, it is crucial to have an in-depth understanding.

Do you know what “audiences” are in paid media? If not, then you have come to the right place. This blog will discuss everything you need to know about audiences in paid media, how you can use them in your campaigns effectively and when you should adjust your audience strategy. So, without wasting another moment, let’s dive into the detail.

Note: This blog only covers audiences from the Google suite of ad channels.

What Are Audiences in Paid Media?

Audiences can be defined as specific groups of users who have:

  • Finished specified actions (remarketing)
  • Displayed specified behaviors (custom intent/in-market/affinity)
  • Chosen to share their contact details with you (customer match)

As of now, these audiences are available:

  • Website Visitors: Users who visit your website and reach a webpage, reach one webpage but not another or perform another custom action.
  • YouTube Audiences: Users who have subscribed to your YouTube channel, watched a video or ad, or liked or commented on a video.
  • In-Market Audiences: Users who have displayed that they’re actively searching for a product or service your business offers.
  • Affinity Audiences: These are general interest groupings based on the websites they have visited and searches they have completed.
  • Custom Affinity/Intent Audiences: This helps you reach your ideal audience by using keywords, URLs, and apps to display your ads to users with these interests or purchasing intents.
  • Life Events: This helps you reach people when they are amid crucial life milestones. This works on the best guesses from searches and websites visited on significant milestones.
  • Detailed Demographics: It allows advertisers to reach broad sections of the audiences that share common characteristics such as age, income, gender, etc.
  • Customer Lists: It comprises emails or location information you have obtained with the consent of your prospects or customers.
  • Similar Audiences: Users who seem to have traits similar to your existing audience.

You should also note that an individual user can belong to more than a single audience group.

For instance, if you:

  • Performed a Google search for “best yoga practices.”
  • Visited a couple of websites about health and fitness.
  • Added a yoga mat to your shopping cart but did not check out.

Now, you will probably be added to an in-market audience (sports and health), remarketing audience, and affinity audiences (health and fitness buffs).

How to Use Google Ads Audiences?

Google Ads provides you with four ways to apply audiences. These include:

  • Target and Observe: It lets you serve your ads exclusively to the potential customers in a given audience group.
  • Observe: It enables you to track the performance of a given audience with the option to bid up or down on it.
  • Exclude: Disallow your budget from going to potential customers in a given group.
  • Ad Copy Customization: Customize your ads using IF functions and swap out ad copy depending on audiences.

Audiences are most commonly used for remarketing or for converting a potential customer into a buyer.

You can do remarketing through Search, Display, YouTube, and Discovery campaigns.

Based on the product or service, the durations of audience memberships may differ.

A good rule of thumb is a month for products and two months for services.

Search remarketing is particularly beneficial for branded campaigns. When remarketing, you might want to target organic visitors who bounced off your website with specific messaging.

In addition to this, you might also want to omit people who have been to your website already, so you don’t end up getting showered with “existing customers” only. 

When it comes to aiming your budget towards or away from different market sections, audiences are just as effective as negative keywords.

Based on your advertising budget and service, you might have to prequalify your prospective customers.

Custom-intent and in-market audiences do an excellent job at utilizing your competitor’s budget to prove whether or not you want to invest in a user.

Nevertheless, if you are not sure, you can use “observe” to demonstrate the persona of your prospective customers without limiting valuable volume in the initial days of your campaign.

Moreover, if there are not a minimum of 1000 users in an audience over the last 30 days, it’ll be too tiny to target for search.

You should use audiences in your ad copy to make sure your ads are as personalized as possible without you having to throw in some extra budget. This is an incredible efficiency hack.

Even though these are restricted to the audience lists you build (in contrast with the native ones), they are still an effective way to get the most out of your creatives.

When Should You Adjust Your Audience Strategy?

Making changes to your audience strategy can range from the learning period beginning to hardly noticeable. It all relies on how you have set them up and what pivots you have planned.

The following changes tend to be high impact:

  • Adding up or deleting remarketing campaigns or bid adjustments.
  • Eliminating audiences (mainly if they had conversions attached).
  • Shifting from native Google Ads audiences to Analytics segments.

The following changes tend to be low impact:

  • Including an audience on “observation.”
  • Eliminating an audience that has under 1000 users in it.
  • Building audiences without applying them.

Timing changes are crucial.

Making a high impact change amid maximum profit season might cry havoc.

However, if your campaign’s performance is subpar anyway, a high impact change might be exactly what it needs.

An ideal time to make audience changes is if your campaign is restricted by budget and you don’t have any extra budget to invest.

You will be able to focus your overall budget on the ideal prospective customers only by adding audience targets or exclusions.

Ideally, you should give any change a minimum of 2-4 weeks to prove itself out.

Creative changes tend to enter the 2-week mark unless the campaign has a low budget.

Wrapping It Up

Cookie-based remarketing will advance in the upcoming several months as advertising platforms develop to fulfill people’s privacy concerns.

Grasping the art of building personas of prospective customers and using those characteristics to target budgets and creatives is a significant skill that will go a long way.

Utilizing audiences without even taking out the time to adjust your creatives to the given audience is perhaps a much bigger waste of money – better to not leverage them at all.

Therefore, make sure you take this crucial creative action, no matter if the creative is for Search, Display, YouTube, or Discovery.

Happy advertising!