Google’s revamp of AdWords to Google Ads has made online advertising easier than ever before. However, creating an ad that actually gets results by effectively targeting a specific audience… well, that’s a bit trickier.
As you may have noticed in your online advertising ventures, Google is very happy to take control over most aspects of your campaigns, deciding how much you’ll bid for keywords, where your ads will get seen and even whether you will be chasing impressions or clicks. Our advice to you is that the more control you have over your Google Ads campaigns the better, and that goes for setting your audience targeting preferences too. Not only does it mean that you’re more likely to get the results you want, but you will also learn with experience rather getting caught in a loop of blindly trusting Google’s AI.
If you only take one thing away from this blog, then let that be it – take hands-on control of your Google Ads campaigns! But, if you’re hungry for more online advertising advice, stick around because we’re going to tell you how to use advanced targeting techniques to refine your Google Ads campaigns.
4 advanced audience targeting tactics to use on Google Ads
Quickly, before we dive into our targeting tactics – take a look at the table below. Here Google is illustrating how Display, Search and Video ads all require different types of audience targeting techniques. We’re highlighting our favourite targeting tactics across the board, so it’s helpful to remember this as you read through this blog.
Without further ado, let’s jump into our first audience targeting tactic which you’ll be happy to hear can be applied to Display, Search and Video ads!
Have more than one version of your ad
This one may not sound particularly advanced as “advanced targeting tactics” go, but we’re including it because of how easily side-lined this tactic is despite its effectiveness. What do we mean when we say have more than one version of an ad? If you take a quick look at our Services dropdown menu, you’ll notice we have eleven services listed. Therefore, when we are advertising our services, we create eleven ads, right? One for each service? Actually, twenty-two ads would be better, and thirty-three would be ideal.
Your customers can be segmented by your products and services, but they can also be further filtered down by price, buyer intent, interests, location, etc. Take our service Content Creation as an example. Anyone looking for a content creator needs someone to write copy for them, but that copy could be for anything, from maintaining a blog to crafting engaging web page text to creating an eBook. One ad is not going to be very effective at responding to these various needs. Instead, multiple ads optimised for each customer segment will have a much better chance of generating high-quality leads.
Use custom affinity audiences for Google Display ads and Video ads
With our clients who have dabbled in Google Ads, there is often the sentiment that “Google Ads is great…if only we knew how to get the most out of it.” In fairness to Google, they are always honing their product to make it more user-friendly, nonetheless Google Ads can still be a headache to navigate. So custom affinity audiences – where do you find that and why would you want to?
Firstly it’s buried deep in the Audiences tab on your Google Ads dashboard. Go to create a new audience, pick the campaign or ad group you want to work with, and you should find yourself at this screen:
See the “What their interests and habits are” option that has “(Affinity and custom affinity)” written in grey text underneath? Open that up and at the bottom of the window you’ll find this button:
Once you click this, a window pops out and now you can begin creating your own custom affinity audience! As for why you would want to use this tool, it is a fantastic way to refine your Display and Video ads. Custom affinity audiences allows you to use specific interests, URLs, apps and places to target your customers which can then be saved under an assigned audience name for repeated use. That’s going to save you a lot of time. Pro tip – when using URLs, use a particular web page address that your customers have shown interest in rather than the domain address for increased specificity.
In-market audiences for any Google ad type
Up until recently, in-market audiences was only available for Display and Video campaigns, but now you can use it for Search ads too! So, what is in-market audiences? While affinity audiences and custom affinity audiences are great for putting your ad in front of people who have shown an interest in your product or service, it doesn’t take into account buyer intent. However, in-market audiences uses Google’s impressive machine learning capabilities to analyse user behaviour and identify when they are further down in the buyer’s funnel. What this means for you is that you can now target audiences who are warmed up and primed to click that “Buy” button!
You can find in-market audiences in the Audiences tab. Just like with custom affinity audiences, once you have selected the campaign or ad group you want to work with a window will appear in which one of the options will be “What are they actively researching or planning (In-market, life events and custom intent)”. From there you can navigate to the in-market tab and tick the boxes relative to your target customers’ interests. You can get very specific by clicking through to interest subcategories, for example, Apparel & Accessories > Activewear, Costumes, Eyewear, Formal Wear, etc.
Remarketing to your visitors
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who visited your website counted as a conversion? Sadly, it doesn’t work that way, because a lot of the time people are browsing or researching rather than actively buying. However, if you were to give them a little nudge at a later date, to remind them that you exist, perhaps they would buy! This is fundamentally what remarketing comes down to, targeting potential customers who have already showed an interest in what you have to offer.
How does Google Ads help with this? If you navigate to the top right-hand corner of your dashboard, you’ll see a Tools icon. Open that up and find Audience Manager in the dropdown menu. Now you will see you have an option to “Set up an audience source”. Click that and you should find yourself at this screen:
Depending on your own account, you choose what option is most appropriate to you and begin setting up your remarketing audience. You can target visitors of particular pages on your website, visitors to your mobile website, anyone who downloaded your app or looked at your YouTube page and you can even upload an email list of your customers. If you’re unsure if this is worth your resources, just remember The Rule of 7 which states that prospects need to see or hear your campaign message 7 times before they take action.
As you can see, Google Ads has all the tools to make your ad campaigns work harder for you. You just need to know what to do. If you’re new to the business of online advertising, don’t get disheartened by the never-ending tabs, subpages and pop-out screens that make up the labyrinth that is Google Ads! Simply keep taking a few minutes out of your day to learn something new and you’ll be well on your way in no time.