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Google releases combined audience targeting for search campaigns

Google releases combined audience targeting for search campaigns Blog Feature

Dia Vavruska

Director of Account Management, 10+ Years of Digital Marketing Strategy and Account Management

November 21st, 2019 min read

Do you leverage Google as part of your paid programming? If so, then you may have noticed that the search engine and advertising platform recently enhanced search campaign features by adding combined audiences to your Google Ads accounts

The update offers advertisers the ability to serve ads to even more targeted and specific audiences.

So, how might this update impact your advertising and targeting strategies heading into the holiday season? I’m so glad you asked!

Google's newest update

Previously, Google advertisers have been able to reach multiple audiences through a single campaign by utilizing the “OR” directive — or exclude particular segments with “NOT.” 

With these capabilities, Google ad users could target shoppers in the Cleveland area who are interested in Health and Wellness and Beauty Products, or who had visited their site in the last 30 days. And, they could also exclude anyone who had already converted on their site within the last 7 days.

This latest update, however, provides even greater specificity in how these audiences are defined. 

Now, Google offers the selection of “AND” — enabling advertisers to serve their ads exclusively to users in two or more specific audiences.

Advertisers can combined audiences that require the inclusion of a group’s demographics or affinity attributions, as well as campaign keywords (or search intent). This provides powerful targeting capabilities and pin-point precision when determining to whom ads are served. 

So let’s go back to our previous example. Thanks to Google’s update, advertisers can target shoppers in the Cleveland area who are interested in Health and Wellness and Beauty Products, who visited your site in the last 30 days, and who are searching for “Black Friday Deals.”

This means that individuals who receive your ads meet your combined audience demographics and affinity criteria, as well as prescriptive search intent for specific search keyword phrases.

What are combined audiences? 

When running a campaign in Google Ads, you can create any number of target audience segments or “personas” based on a combination of audience attributes, such as demographics, and interests or affinities, and remarketing. 

(Not sure what in-market, affinity or custom intent means? No worries! Check out this recent article from one of IMPACT’s leading paid experts, Dan Baum, to learn more about Google audiences.)

Being able to intersect audiences enables marketers to better target their ideal consumer — serving ads most relevant to consumers’ needs and goals. (You can also learn more by checking out the “How to use combined audiences” resource article from Google.)

And while Google hasn’t made an official announcement yet, marketers have taken to social media to announce the new targeting method visible in their accounts.

This could be a game-changer for online retailers headed into the holidays and Black Friday frenzy. According to our paid specialist, Dan Baum, this update puts Google one step closer to competing with the targeting capabilities offered by other leading paid platforms like LinkedIn. 

So if you’re spending ad dollars in Google search campaigns, now’s the time to start thinking through how to use this new targeting capability to your advantage in the coming weeks!

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