Google Ads Audience and Demographics Targeting Knowhow

December 12, 2019

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. Remarketing/Retargeting: This is a group of users who’ve already visited or taken some action on your website. The users are tracked using a Google remarketing code/analytics code (otherwise known as a tag or pixel), which places a cookie on the browsers of people visiting your website. The remarketing 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 are available for targeting:

·        Apparel & Accessories 

·        Event Tickets 

·        Autos & ehicles 

·        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. Remarketing/Retargeting: This is a group of users who’ve already visited or taken some action on your website. The users are tracked using a Google remarketing code/analytics code (otherwise known as a tag or pixel), which places a cookie on the browsers of people visiting your website. The remarketing 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 are 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 are automatically created by Google based on your existing Google Ads campaigns and account settings.
  2. Custom audiences created 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:

Age Gender Parental status Household 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 status Marital 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 Status Employment
   
•  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 retarget 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.

Tips for Targeting Success:

  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 remarketing 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 are interested in your product or service.

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