By now, we should all know the importance of utilizing Google Ads to reach our target audiences and create awareness for our brand. Using Google’s audience building tools allows us to get laser focused on the target audience we are looking to serve.
As Google’s tools evolve we must stay current with audience building best practices to ensure we aren’t wasting our time and money on ineffective ad campaigns. We will touch on a few tips to help you build the right audience and get the most out of your Google ad campaigns.
Choosing the Right Audience
From ad copy to images, there’s a lot that goes into a successful Google Ad campaign. One often overlooked step is refining the audience (literally who sees your ads.) At the most basic level, Google will ask you about the location of your ads, but there are many other opportunities to refine, and narrow, your audience. You must understand and apply the other audience building tools to run successful ad campaigns.
Not focusing your audience will show your ads to those who will not be interested in your product or service, wasting your ad dollars. Choosing the right audience for your ad campaign is incredibly important. Luckily, Google has a variety of features that help find your audience and serve them with relevant and actionable ad campaigns. Let’s look at some of those features.
Let’s Talk Demographics
Google allows you to control your audience by demographics; this includes gender, age groups, and household income, to name a few. Not only can you include or exclude these groups to refine your target audience, but you can also make strategic bid adjustments. Refining your ad campaigns to include who you want to target along with who to exclude will fine-tune your campaign and ensure your ad dollars are being spent on only those who could convert on your campaign.
For example, if you sell a service that is available to all homeowners, you might exclude 18-24 year olds, and make a bid increase of 25% for the 45-54 age group. This change to your ad targeting will exclude younger age groups who may still be renting or who may not have the expendable income to invest in your service. It also boosts the targeting for the age range of your audience that is most likely to purchase your service.
After you launch your campaign, you can go back and look at results broken down by these demographics, which will help guide future decisions. This refined data will inform your next move and help you build more efficient advertising campaigns.
Using Affinity Audiences
Another great feature in Google Ads is the ability to target Affinity Audiences. These audiences are based on signals collected from cookies as people visit various websites, blogs, and apps. This data is collected from search and website activity to discover what people are interested in based on online browsing behavior.
After narrowing down your target audience with the demographic tools, adding the interests of this audience (through affinity audience targeting) will allow your ad campaigns to be relevant to this specific audience and will help increase conversion rates and lower costs.
To use our home services example from above, you might target people in the Home Owners, Home & Garden Services, and Home Improvement audiences along with the demographic targeting. This now narrows the focus of your audience to homeowners, 45-65 years old, and who show interest in home improvement and services. Your audience is now specific to individuals who are most likely to want/need your services.
These audiences are based on interest and also allow for bid adjustments. So you can adjust your bids accordingly based on data you get back from running your campaigns.
Using the same Audience tool you can also use certain in-market audiences. These are similar to the Affinity Audiences, but instead of being interest-based they are intent-based. They have probably visited websites similar to yours, or made similar searches in the past six months.
For our same home services example, a great In-Market Audience would be General Contracting & Home Remodeling. Adding a layer of intent will allow you to find those who are not only interested in products or services like yours, but also those who are ready to take action.
While selecting people you want to see your ad, you may also select from the same list Audiences you would like to exclude. For our example, I would exclude the Do-It-Yourself Affinity Audience because I think they are less likely to be interested in our home services.
Remembering to optimize your audience for exclusions is very important because within larger groups of people, interests and intent often overlap, and you want to be sure that your ads are showing only to those who will convert. Exclusions sometimes are the only way to optimize your audience so you’re not wasting your time and money.
Retargeting is also an option for audiences in Google Ads. The easiest and most efficient way to do this is using your Audience Manager in Google Analytics, and then importing it into Google Ads. The steps, and options, to build these are an entire post by themselves! (Stay tuned for the follow up.)
So for the purpose of this post, understand you can target people who have already been to your website as a whole or who visited specific web pages. Retargeting ads are a great way to bring people back to revisit your website using search, display, and even video ads on YouTube.