Google Ads Bids Adieu to Similar Audience Segment – How to Get Prepared?

Google Ads launches Affinity and Seasonal Event Audiences for Search - PPC  hubbub

News broke last week that Google was discontinuing the Similar Audiences segment in Google Ads, effective from May 2023. But, if you are running an active campaign with similar segments, it will remain until August 1, 2023. This has sent shock waves to the advertising industry and advertisers alike. You may have wondered what this means to you and your business. 

Similar Audiences Segment was one of the most powerful features available in Google Ads because it could be used to target users who are similar to a customer who had previously converted to your website. As Google has announced that it will be pulling the plug on a similar audience segment from Google Ads, it’s likely that advertisers from Adwords agency Sydney to wonder how will the removal of the Similar Audiences segment impact your Google Ads campaign. Will it make AdWords more complicated to use? Here’s what you need to know about this change and how you can prepare to go through it.

What is the Change?

On Nov 1, 2022, Google announced that it would slowly kill similar audiences, the most powerful feature available in Google ads. Starting May 2023, Google will no longer display Similar Audiences with an aim to switch over to more durable audience solutions, and this particular segment will be removed from all ad groups and campaigns. However, historical reporting data will remain available for an indefinite period of time. 

What Does This Mean?

According to Google, a similar audience segment will move to privacy-centric and tested automated solutions. These solutions will make it possible to reach relevant audiences while meeting the demands for advertising without infringing on privacy rights. The sole aim is to create time-tested, custom-tailored solutions for advertisers to engage with an interested, reliable audience and navigate cookie privacy restrictions.

What are the Alternatives?

Instead of similar audience segments, Google prioritises the following three crucial features:

  • Optimised Targeting 
  • Audience Expansion
  • Smart Bidding 

Optimised Targeting 

Optimised targeting helps businesses find new and relevant audiences without using third-party cookies for Discovery, Display and Video action campaigns on Google Ads and Display & Video 360. If you are using similar audience segments for your campaigns, you should enable optimised targeting to reach a broader and more relevant audience and better optimise your efforts to convert the ad. When advertisers use optimised targeting, they will see more than 55% improvement while using the first-party audience. 

Audience Expansion 

Audience expansion is already available on Google Ads and will be made available for display and video 360 in the first six months of 2023. This feature helps advertisers to reach more audiences that are likely to convert. For awareness and reach video, turn on Audience Expansion to reach people similar to those in your data segments. 

Smart Bidding 

For search or shopping campaigns, if you are not using smart bidding yet, you must start using it. However, if you are using smart bidding or running Performance Max campaigns, you need not take any action, as those options utilise the insights from your first-party data.

How to Prepare for this Change?

Advertisers can use customer match lists for smart bidding and optimised targeting. To boost store sales and generate more offline conversions, you can rely on smart bidding. Smart bidding conversion values can be adjusted. A detailed explanation is given below: 

For Search and Regular Shopping Campaigns 

  • Similar segments aren’t available for targeting. Smart Bidding models will automatically incorporate Customer Match lists as signals (even untargeted ones, if you haven’t opted out of this at an account level).
  • Similar segments are unavailable for value rules. Calculate the value of users automatically by using Smart Bidding. 

For Display, Discovery, and Video Action Campaigns

  • Turn on optimised targeting and include first-party segments. Lean on Google’s in-market/affinity segments to build custom segments.
  • With tailored advertising in combination with first-party data as your hints, optimised targeting will give you a much better grasp of your market.

For YouTube Awareness and Reach Video 

To increase your reach and identify possible related targets, include first-party data in ad groups and enable audience expansion.

The Bottom Line 

Google ads with similar audience segments will be available only for the next six months, and you can keep using them for your campaigns until after the holidays. Yet it’s crucial that you plan and test your transition to Smart Bidding and Optimised Targeting so that the effects are as low-key as possible.

Wondering how the sunset of similar audiences affects your campaign performance? Contact the professionals from the leading Google Ads agency Sydney today! 

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