Google Affinity Audiences have quickly become an asset to businesses of all sizes for reaching qualified prospects and boosting campaign performance.
I’ll show you how to steal your competitor’s customers using custom affinity audiences.
What We’ll Cover:
- What are Google Affinity Audiences?
- Difference between Affinity Audiences and CUSTOM Affinity Audiences
- Why Should You Use Affinity Audience Ads
- How to Build your Custom Affinity Audience
Back in 2013, Google unveiled a new feature that gave advertisers the chance to target the exact audience they were looking for—based on their interests as reflected by their search behavior across the Google Display Network.
There is no shortage of ways to connect with your audience through Google Ads.
And with Google Display Network reaching roughly 90% of internet users across two million sites, it is safe to say that Google Ads aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
What are Google Affinity Audiences?
The success of any display campaign depends on a number of factors. But, ensuring you’re effectively targeting your audience is definitely a crucial one.
Originally designed with television-style audiences in mind, Affinity Audiences is an ad-targeting solution that lets you reach people based on a holistic picture of their lifestyles, passions, and behaviors. Affinity Audiences have demonstrated a natural liking, or “affinity” for a given topic, which means advertisers can connect the people who matter most with their products or services.
Based on the actions they take as they browse the internet, Google has determined that users within a particular Affinity Audience have a heightened, long-term interest in that category. Using data like searches and site visits, Google puts them into “buckets” based on what it thinks the person’s interests are.
For example, let’s say you work for a skincare company that’s launching a new, high-end sunscreen brand. By layering the “skincare expert” Affinity Audience with relevant, sunscreen-related keywords, you are specifying that your ads will not only be served to those who are searching for sunscreen online, but who are also passionate about skincare products in general. These users may be more motivated to buy expensive skincare products and are likely to turn into repeat customers.
Difference between Affinity Audiences and CUSTOM Affinity Audiences
While there are a variety of Affinity segments to choose from, as expected, Affinity Audience targeting can still be very broad.
Custom Affinity was designed to give advertisers even more control over their targeting options on the Display Network. Google’s Affinity Audiences come with some limitations, and the system can compel brands to box their audiences into categories that aren’t quite the right fit.
With Custom Affinity Audiences, you’re not confined to the predefined segments that Google has set. Marketers can create their own, highly tailored audience in Google AdWords based on their most recent web activity.
To create these audiences, you need to provide Google with information, including:
- What your audience is passionate about.
- URLs that your audience is interested in navigating.
- Locations that your audience would like to visit.
- Apps that your audience is interested in downloading.
Google pools together data from user search history, keywords used, and site visits, giving marketers a more accurate picture of a target user’s behavior.
For example, rather than reaching the wide-ranging “Athletes” Affinity Audience, an athletic shoe company may want to reach a more specific audience. Using Custom Affinity Audiences, the shoe company can further define this audience by:
- Adding more niche interests like “5K in San Diego,” “marathon athlete,” or “endurance runner.”
- Finding URLs of websites that feature training calendars, marathon event updates, nutrition for runners, and other endurance running themes.
- Searching for places that a runner will be interested in like fitness centers and sporting goods stores.
- Entering apps in the Health and Fitness category that a runner may want to download like Footpath Route Planner.
Dianne Manansala, Lead Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy, notes, ““We’ve seen good results using Custom Affinity Audiences for branding and awareness, and these performed really well in terms of quality impressions and wide reach. Running against other custom affinity targeting layered with topic targeting has also worked really well in terms of impressions, low CPCs, and low bounce rates.”
Why Should You Use Affinity Audience Ads
When compared to other forms of audience targeting, Custom Affinity targeting offers numerous unique benefits to advertisers. These include:
- You can easily capture the attention of your most loyal customers and encourage those customers to visit your website.
- You have more control of how you want to track and discover customers online.
- As previously mentioned, you no longer have to be dependent on Google’s pre-defined audiences.
- Unlike standard Affinity Audiences, Custom Affinity Audiences give advertisers the ability to create their own audience and get as granular as possible when defining it.
- They offer a great way to maximize the number of qualified clicks and conversions generated from Display advertising.
- You have the option to customize your ideal audience when gearing up for a particular sales event or promotion.
How to Build your Custom Affinity Audience
The process of creating a Custom Affinity Audience is fairly simple and straightforward. Below, we’ve mapped out the process of creating a “New Ad Group” within an AdWords Display Campaign:
1.Select your ad group, click the “Audiences” tab, and then click “+ Audiences” to create a new audience.
Google will then prompt you to name your ad group. Be sure to choose a name that is representative of the campaign so that you won’t run into any trouble when trying to find and edit it later.
2. Once you’ve created a campaign name, click on “Affinity” and then select “+ Custom Affinity Audience,” located below the “Affinity audiences” menu.
3. Now, comes the fun part. It’s time to create your audience. Just enter the name of the people you are trying to target (ie. females who work in finance between the ages 25 and 35) and create a description to remember the campaign.
Google may attempt to fill in this information for you, but it may not always work, so make sure to double-check it before proceeding.
Once you have a name, you can begin to define your audience. Have you already determined the URLS, interests, or keywords that are important for your custom audience?
Start with typing in the keywords first. But, choose wisely. If you pick too many keywords, you risk having an audience that’s too broad, resulting in wasted ad space.
On the other hand, using too few keywords can result in an unproductive ad campaign since not enough people will come across your ad. Some keyword examples would be females aged 25-35 (target demographic), and specific job titles (ie. financial analyst, insurance underwriter, etc.).
Google will also show you the metric correlation between keywords and potential customers, but there’s no need to limit yourself to these suggestions. It’s important to think outside the box as no one knows your product or service better than you.
Once you’ve established which keywords you’re going to use, choose which URLs you want associated with your product. These don’t have to be exact since Google’s Affinity Audience program can add similar URLs too.
4. After you finish entering all the necessary information, you’re all set! Just click “Save,” publish the ad campaign, and watch your sales skyrocket!
How to Determine what Audience to Target
Knowing how to define your target market is a business best practice. But sometimes it can be hard to know exactly which audience is most relevant to you. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
One of the best ways to reach your relevant audience is by targeting popular events like trade shows, conferences, and conventions within your market. It’s safe to assume that anyone attending such events will already have a certain level of interest and engagement with your product or service.
Custom Affinity Audiences make it easy to reach and potentially target your competition’s audience. One way to do this would be to have your competitors’ sites be the URL target, and their brand keywords as the interests.
This is all about putting yourself in the shoes of your audience and considering what they are looking for. Narrowing your search gives you a better chance to hit your desired market.
Get Creative with Your Strategy
Gone are the days when the only way to reach Display Network users was via keywords, topics, interests, and demographics. This isn’t to say that they aren’t still an important part of targeting strategies.
But the reality is pay-per-click is becoming costlier and the competition on almost each advertising search engine results page is getting fiercer.
Targeting options like Affinity Audiences offer opportunities beyond traditional targeting methods, giving you more control over who can see your ad.
Once you get your ad in front of the right consumers, half the battle is already won!