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Audience Refresh: The Power of Audience Targeting on Google Search

What if I told you that 20% of users that are familiar with your product or website are more likely to convert.  Or you can reach new customers with similar search behaviors to users on your existing Remarketing lists?


Great news!   All of this is possible with the power of Audience Targeting on Google Search!  With Search Audience targeting, you can use your own data and Google insights on consumer behavior to hone in on the right consumer at scale and in a cost efficient manner.  


Customer Data                +            Google Insights                      +                     All the Power of

Customer Match                            Similar Audiences                                         Google Search Intent

Remarketing Lists                         Demographics for Search Ads (DFSA)

For Search Ads (RLSA)


Key to a successful Search Audience campaign is to identify an Audience strategy that aligns with your business goals and metrics.


“Great, but how would I know which strategy works for my business?”  Each strategy leverages unique targeting tactics for reaching your potential user.  Here are a few pointers on each Audience type along with an article for reference.


Customer Match: allows advertisers to to use their CRM data to target customers.  You can upload a data file of email addresses your customers have provided and simply add the targeting to your campaign!


RLSA: lets you customize your Search campaigns for users who have previously visited your site.  When a user leaves your site without purchasing a product, Remarketing lists help you connect with the potential customers after they leave your site.  

  • Tip: You can apply Audience lists at the ad group or campaign level in Adwords and AdWords Editor! 


Similar Audiences: identify people who share similar characteristics with your site visitors and connect with people that are already interested in your product or services!  


Demographics for Search Ads (DFSA):  reach users that fall into particular age ranges, gender, parental status and household income.  


“Now I understand.  What’s next?” The following suggested best practices will ensure your Search Campaigns drive maximum value and scale:


  • Keep lists large
    • Generate your lists from both site visitors and customer data.
      • Why: RLSA and Customer Match audience lists complement one another and help you cast a wider net to reach all of your most important audiences.
    • Make audience lists specific without being overly segmented.
      • Why: Each audience you create has the potential to limit your insights and increase your management overhead.
    • Apply negative targeting sparingly.
      • Why: Excluding an audience removes your ability to cross-sell and nurture customers over longer time frames.
  • Apply Audiences to all campaigns and use campaign level lists
    • Easier management
      • Why: Cuts down bid modifiers in most accounts
    • More Data
      • Why: Suggested to set bid adjustments to a larger sample size versus ad group
    • Criteria Limits
      • Why: For large accounts, this would reduce the number of entities and potential account limits
    • Focus on Testing New Audiences
  • Use “Bid Only”
    • Reach members of your lists + general population for maximum reach

Once you’ve select the optimal Audience strategy for your business (and implemented the above best practices in your accounts), the last step of the process is to optimize bids according to the performance of the lists.  


Bids should be raised based on list performance ( higher performance = higher bids).  By increasing bids for audience lists, it increases ad rank and grows conversion volume, which can result in lower CPA.

  • Tip: Starting bid modifiers should be between +100% and +300%. Adding +100% is the equivalent of adding a 2x modifier.  Adding a smaller bid modifier, e.g. +25%, may not provide enough of an immediately visible uplift for initial testing.x modifier. 

If you want to learn more about how Advertisers previously used Remarketing lists, you can reference this case study for suggestions on how Tirendo, a European online tire retailer, saw a 161% conversion rate increase with remarketing lists for search ads, leading to a 22% overall sales increase.