Google Ads to No Longer Support Similar Audiences

Jill Goldstein - November 21, 2022

As of May 1, 2023, Google Ads will begin to gradually phase out similar audiences. Similar audiences are currently created based on the recent search activity of users on your remarketing lists. If your lists are large enough, Google Ads will automatically find new users with similar search behavior and create new audiences to be used for targeting.

To replace similar audiences, various campaign types will offer solutions to leverage first-party data to improve campaign performance (while protecting privacy) by means of reaching the right audience.

For Display, Discovery, or Video Action campaigns, optimized targeting is recommended in replacement of similar audiences.

For Awareness, Reach or Consideration video campaigns, it’s recommended 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 used as a signal for Smart Bidding.

  • What is 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.”
  • What is 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.”
  • What is 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 changes will occur in phases.

Phase One (May 1, 2023)

In phase one, similar audiences will stop being automatically generated and you will no longer be able to add similar audiences to campaigns and ad groups. At this time, campaigns and ad groups that already have similar audiences will continue to run as expected.

Phase Two (August 1, 2023)

In phase two, similar audiences will be removed from all existing campaigns and ad groups. Note that you will have access to historical data on the removed audiences.

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

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