How Does Google Ads Custom Affinity Audiences Work?

January 8, 2023

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Audience targeting in Google Ads takes on many different shapes and sizes. When you’re running any type of digital marketing campaign, choosing the right target audience is often the key to success. But while ads on the Search Network have a fairly simple targeting system, based on keywords and user demographics, those on the Google Display Network have a slightly different system behind.

In this article, we’ll look closely at custom affinity audiences, an interesting targeting strategy available for Google Display Network ads, and see how it works.

GDN Affinity Targeting in a Nutshell

Audiences are groups of people bound together by specific interests, user tents, or demographic information.

With affinity audiences, you can access those users who have shown a specific interest in a topic. The idea is that these types of users are the most valuable in a Google Ads marketing campaign, as interest for a topic makes it more likely for them to click on your ad and visit your landing page.

Think of them like TV-style audiences. In terms of demographic information, individual users may fit into a variety of different categories. But even so, they still have specific interest in the TV program they tune in to watch, regardless of who they are. Affinity audiences let you target your ads based on these explicit user interests, without necessarily going in-depth of who they are as individuals.

With customs affinity audiences specifically, you can create audiences using a combination of:

  • Interests, as shown by keyword phrases
  • Interests URLs to create categories based on the content of certain websites (which are reflected in the user’s browsing history);
  • Locations
  • Lifestyle
  • Apps ideal customers might want to use.

Custom affinity audience is, in short, another way for you to define your audience. Instead of opting for demographic targeting where you set your target audience in terms of their age, gender, where they live, you define your perfect customer based on what they like.

Let’s look at what that looks like in real life. For instance, say you have a Sports Fans affinity audience, meaning you are targeting people with an explicit interest in sports. This is already a rather broad category, and you may not need all people interested in all sports.

But when it comes to the Google Display Network, each website part of the network is given a topic that best describes the content. So, you can use the affinity audience “Sports Fans”/to show your ads to everyone, or you can create audiences by:

  • Entering additional interests that helps you reach users interested in what you’re offering;
  • Using keywords URL to target the audiences from particular websites or similar;
  • Entering places that your ideal audience may be interested in, such as certain gyms, playing fields, etc.
  • Entering apps that your ideal audience may like or even use.

You can create audiences that tell Google to deliver your ads only to those people you deem most interested in what you have to offer and take them to a specific page where you showcase your product or service. This may allow you to get better results, as your ad campaigns don’t target users just in terms of broad interest.

Custom Affinity Targeting and Custom Intent Targeting

With affinity audience targeting, you can take your target audience’s broad interest and refine it to reach those people specifically interested in what you have to offer. Instead of targeting the broad Sports Fans audience, you add extra interest-based criteria, such as the sport itself, the apps they are likely to use, or where they go to practice the sport.

Custom Intent Audiences are a bit different. They take your ads to those users who are in the market to buy a specific product or service. User intent refers to why a person is searching for something or visiting a website.

Is it their intent to buy? Or is it to find out information, or just navigational? A custom audience defined by intent is most beneficial when you are using Google Ads as a way to sell products or services because Google takes your ads to those users who’ve already searched for similar products and services.

Signing off

Google Ads offers some of the best audience targeting options of any PPC campaign service out there, but it takes some insight into what each of these options truly has to bring to the table.

Content Australian Internet Advertising to find out more about how to improve your audience targeting in Google Ads.

Billy P.

About The Author

William Polson founded Australian Internet Advertising in 2013 and has over 12 years of experience immersed in Digital Marketing.

With an in-depth level of digital marketing knowledge, William has been sort after by and worked for, many large national brands including Subaru, Blooms The Chemist, and Nova 96.9.

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