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Say Goodbye to Similar Audiences. What This Means for Audience Targeting.

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Google recently announced that it will be sunsetting similar audiences by August 2023. What does this mean? All existing similar audiences will be removed from ad groups and campaigns. While these audiences will be removed, you will still have access to the historical data. Similar audiences may no longer be offered as a standalone targeting option; however, Google will essentially eliminate the need for similar audiences by offering more automated targeting and bidding solutions that will utilize similar signals.

Google will automatically decide which audiences are best for a business by using multiple tools. Optimized targeting is available to Discovery, Display and Video campaigns. Audience Expansion is available for reach or consideration campaigns. Search and shopping campaigns will have smart bidding. All of these tools allow advertisers to reach new relevant audiences that are most likely to convert while not relying on third-party cookies.

While these tools all sounds like they could be a good alternative to similar audiences, they are not-well tested by advertisers. For example, optimized targeting does well with first-party data; however, that’s not very useful for advertisers who don’t have thousands of customers or subscribers.

To get a better understanding as to how Google’s automation solution are working toward your goals, you can use Audience Insights. Audience Insights is a new feature on the insights page that will identify characteristics, interests and behaviors of people who converted on your ads. This feature allows you to see exactly who your customer is; specifically, who Google automation views as being the audience that drives the strongest performance.

Even though we are losing similar audiences, there are still plenty of targeting options still available on Google. As advertisers, we still have the ability to reach relevant and qualified users on Google through other audience options, which includes In-Market segments, Affinity Segments, Custom segments, Topics, and Retargeting audiences. In addition, we still have the option to refine our audiences by applying bid adjustments and excluding certain demographics, devices, and locations.

What are the next steps? This change is still six months away; however, there are different ways to prepare. Start testing out the new audience expansion tools now to determine how they will perform. As with any Google machine learning there is a learning phase, so be sure to allot an appropriate amount to test these tools. In addition, start building up your business’ audience data. Need more time to build up your audience lists? While similar audience can’t be added to campaigns or ad groups starting May 2023, they will still work if implemented until August 2023. This can buy you a bit of time if you need to accrue more data for your audience lists.

Contact us today to help you set up your Google campaigns, so you are ready for this update. We can also assist your business in setting up GA4 and start growing your audience list so you can utilize all the best targeting options available after similar audiences is removed. Call us now!

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