You are currently viewing Strategies to Preserve Audience Targeting in the Absence of Google Ads Similar Audiences

Strategies to Preserve Audience Targeting in the Absence of Google Ads Similar Audiences

In today’s highly competitive digital advertising landscape, audience targeting is a critical element in reaching the right users with the right message at the right time. Google Ads’ Similar Audiences feature has been a valuable tool for advertisers, allowing them to expand their reach and target users who share characteristics with their existing customers. However, with the discontinuation of Google Ads Similar Audiences, advertisers need to explore alternative strategies to ensure effective audience targeting. In this article, we will delve into Google’s recommended strategies for search, shopping, display, discovery, and video campaigns. Additionally, we will explore other tactics that can be employed to enhance audience targeting beyond what Google recommends.

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Google-Recommended Strategies for Search and Shopping Campaigns

Refined Demographics

One of the key strategies recommended by Google for search and shopping campaigns is refined demographic targeting. By leveraging demographic targeting options such as age, gender, and parental status, advertisers can narrow down their audience and focus their efforts on segments that perform well. Analyzing existing customer data can provide valuable insights into which demographic segments are most receptive to their offerings.

For example, a fashion retailer targeting young women may find that the 18-24 age group yields the best results. By refining their demographic targeting to this specific segment, they can allocate their budget more effectively and tailor their ads to resonate with their ideal audience.`

In-Market Audiences

Another powerful strategy recommended by Google is the use of in-market audiences. These audiences are created based on users’ recent browsing and search behavior, indicating a high likelihood of interest in specific products or services. Advertisers may contact people who are actively looking into or considering a purchase linked to their services by targeting in-market audiences.

For instance, a travel agency specializing in adventure vacations can utilize in-market audiences for travel enthusiasts or users actively searching for adventure travel destinations. By tailoring their ads to appeal to these audiences’ specific interests, the agency can increase the chances of capturing their attention and driving conversions.

Detailed Remarketing

Remarketing, a tried-and-true strategy, remains a powerful tool for preserving audience targeting effectiveness. By building detailed remarketing lists based on user behavior and engagement with their website, advertisers can re-engage with users who have shown previous interest.

For consumers who have visited their website, added things to their cart, or performed specific tasks like signing up for a newsletter, an e-commerce store can make remarketing lists. By targeting these users with tailored ads and offering incentives like discounts or free shipping, the retailer can entice them to return and complete their purchase.

Google-Recommended Strategies for Display, Discovery, and Video Campaigns

Custom Affinity and Custom Intent Audiences

To maintain effective audience targeting in display, discovery, and video campaigns, Google recommends creating custom affinity and custom intent audiences. Custom affinity audiences allow advertisers to reach users based on their specific interests and preferences, while custom intent audiences allow targeting based on users’ intent signals.

For instance, a luxury car manufacturer can create a custom affinity audience for users interested in high-end cars, luxury lifestyles, and affluent living. By tailoring their ads to appeal to this specific audience, the manufacturer can increase the likelihood of capturing the attention of potential buyers in the market for luxury vehicles.

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting is another strategy recommended by Google for display, discovery, and video campaigns. This approach involves displaying ads on relevant websites and apps that align with the content your target audience is consuming. By analyzing keywords, topics, and placements, advertisers can ensure their ads appear in the right context to capture user attention.

For example, a sporting goods retailer can utilize contextual targeting to display their ads on websites and apps related to sports, fitness, and outdoor activities. By aligning their ads with the content that their target audience is interested in, they can increase the chances of engagement and conversions.

Similar Audiences in Display & Video 360

While Similar Audiences are no longer available in Google Ads, they can still be accessed in Display & Video 360. If advertisers have access to Display & Video 360, they can continue leveraging Similar Audiences to expand their reach and target users who share characteristics with their existing customers.

For example, an online beauty retailer can utilize Similar Audiences in Display & Video 360 to reach users who have similar preferences, demographics, and behaviors as their existing customers. They may reach more potential clients who are probably interested in their beauty items by focusing on these audiences.

Additional Tactics to Enhance Audience Targeting

Adding and Testing Custom Segments

In addition to Google’s recommended strategies, advertisers can take a proactive approach by adding and testing custom segments based on their specific business goals and target audience characteristics. By considering factors such as user behavior, purchase history, and interests, advertisers can create custom segments that align with their campaign objectives.

For example, a subscription-based meal delivery service can create custom segments based on users’ dietary preferences, such as vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. By tailoring their ads and offerings to these specific segments, they can improve the relevancy and effectiveness of their audience targeting.

Continuously testing these custom segments is crucial to identify the ones that perform best and optimize targeting accordingly. Advertisers may assess the efficacy of their bespoke segments and make data-driven decisions by keeping an eye on important performance measures like click-through rates, conversion rates, and return on ad spend.

Smart Bidding and Machine Learning

Smart bidding, powered by machine learning algorithms, is another valuable tactic to enhance audience targeting. By leveraging smart bidding strategies, advertisers can automate their bidding processes and optimize their bids to reach the most valuable users within their target audience.

Smart bidding algorithms analyze vast amounts of data in real-time to make bidding decisions based on factors such as user behavior, device, location, and time of day. This enables advertisers to deliver their ads to users who are most likely to convert, maximizing their return on investment.

For example, an e-commerce retailer can employ smart bidding strategies such as target return on ad spend (ROAS) to automatically adjust bids based on the likelihood of conversions. By allowing the algorithm to optimize bids for different audience segments, the retailer can achieve optimal results and allocate their budget efficiently.

Providing High-Quality Signals

To enhance audience targeting, it is essential for advertisers to provide high-quality signals to Google’s algorithms. This involves optimizing their website and landing pages for speed, mobile-friendliness, and user experience. By offering a seamless browsing experience and valuable content, advertisers can increase their chances of reaching and converting their desired audience.

For example, an online furniture retailer can optimize their website for mobile devices, ensuring that users can easily navigate and browse their product offerings on smartphones and tablets. By providing a user-friendly mobile experience, they can capture the attention of mobile users and improve their chances of driving conversions.


While the discontinuation of Google Ads Similar Audiences may pose a challenge for advertisers, there are several strategies and tactics to preserve audience targeting effectiveness. By following Google’s recommended approaches for search, shopping, display, discovery, and video campaigns, combined with additional tactics like adding and testing custom segments, leveraging smart bidding, and providing high-quality signals, advertisers can maintain effective audience targeting in the absence of Similar Audiences.

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