Google Ads to No Longer Support Similar Audiences

Jill Goldstein - November 21, 2022

Beginning in May of 2023, Google Ads will start to slowly phase out their similar audiences. Similar audiences are created based on the recent search activity of users from your remarketing lists. If your lists are big enough, Google Ads will automatically locate new users with similar search behavior and build new audiences to be used for targeting.

Instead of similar audiences, different campaign types offer solutions to leverage first-party data to enhance campaign performance (while protecting privacy) by means of capturing the right audience.

For Display, Discovery, or Video Action campaigns, the solution is to be optimized targeting instead of similar audiences.

For Awareness, Reach or Consideration video campaigns, the guidance is to include your first-party data in ad groups and enable audience expansion to reach users similar to your first-party data.

For Search or Shopping campaigns, it’s highly recommended that you use Smart Bidding in your campaigns. When customer match lists are applied to search & shopping campaigns (targeted or observation), those lists will automatically be factored as a signal for Smart Bidding.

  • Definition of Optimized Targeting
    • According to Google, “depending on your campaign’s goal, optimized targeting can help you reach new and relevant audiences that are likely to convert. Optimized targeting looks beyond manually-selected audience segments in your campaign to find audience segments that you may have missed to improve the campaign’s performance.”
  • Definition of Audience Expansion
    • According to Google, “audience expansion allows you to reach your audience in a simple, goal-based way. With audience expansion, it’s easier to reach more people that matter to your business and achieve your marketing goals with Google Ads.By enabling audience expansion, we can open up additional inventory by expanding to additional, relevant audiences. Audience expansion is available for Video campaigns that use the “Product and brand consideration” or “Brand awareness and reach” goal.”
  • Explanation of Smart Bidding
    • According to Google, “Smart Bidding refers to bid strategies that use machine learning to optimize for conversions or conversion value in each and every auction—a feature known as “auction-time bidding”. Target CPA, Target ROAS, Maximize conversions, and Maximize conversion value are all Smart Bidding strategies.”

These modifications will occur in phases.

Phase One (May 1, 2023)

During the initial phase, similar audiences will no longer automatically generate, nor will be able to add similar audiences to campaigns and ad groups. Currently, campaigns and ad groups that already have similar audiences will continue to run as expected.

Phase Two (August 1, 2023)

During phase two, similar audiences will be removed from all existing campaigns and ad groups. That said, you will still have access to historical data on the removed audiences.

This update is one of the many changes that Google has announced in the effort of driving business growth while maintaining the high expectations that users have as it relates to privacy. Tackle these deviations by working with an expert. Contact the experts at MoreVisibility for assistance.

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