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Google Ads Makes Changes to Audience Targeting

In a significant change to Google Ads, from May 1, 2023 it will no longer generate similar audiences (also referred to as “similar segments”) for targeting and reporting. After August 1 any remaining similar segments will be removed from all ad groups and campaigns, but it’ll be possible to continue to access historical reporting for those from past campaigns.

The reason for this change is Google’s ongoing push towards automation which they say “helps to reach relevant audiences and measure results, in privacy-centric ways”. So similar audiences will be upgraded to more powerful, automated solutions, such as optimised targeting, audience expansion and Smart Bidding that will help to leverage a business’s first-party data and optimise marketing objectives.

With optimised targeting, the system will help advertisers reach new and relevant audiences that are likely to convert, based on the campaign goals. It looks beyond manually-selected audience segments in the campaign to find segments that advertisers may have missed to improve the campaign’s performance. Instead of targeting a similar segment, users can turn on optimized targeting in the ad group and include any first-party data segments (audience groups) as hints. However, if advertisers want to exclude users in these first-party segments, they can do this with audience exclusions.

These are the actions that need to be taken to prepare for these changes, if similar segments are being used:

On Search or Shopping campaigns
If Smart Bidding isn’t being used with the campaigns, it should be. If it’s already being used, or Performance Max campaigns are running it’s not necessary to take any action, since Performance Max campaigns automatically leverage signals from your first-party data.

On Display, Discovery, or Video Action campaigns
If optimised targeting hasn’t been turned on yet it should be, to reach additional relevant and expanded audiences and optimise for the specified conversion goals.

On Awareness and Reach video or Consideration video campaigns
Include your first-party data segments in the ad groups and turn on audience expansion to reach people similar to those in the first-party data.

You can see a summary of the specific goals and related actions to take to prepare for this change.

If you want to know more about how the withdrawal of support for similar audiences could affect you business, please get in touch.