Build A Brilliant Google Ads Audience-First Strategy (Even If You Don’t Want To)

When you’ve been working with Google Adverts/AdWords for some time, you understand that it’s nice for focusing on intent.

By serving adverts in opposition to key phrase searches, you’ll be able to promote your services or products to somebody precisely after they’re in search of it.

However “the almighty key phrase” is dropping its efficiency.

Not as a result of key phrase focusing on isn’t efficient, however as a result of Google Adverts is pivoting away from contextual and key phrase focusing on in favor of audiences.

As we lose management of precision matching, we’ve two (seemingly) less-desirable choices: Get higher at audience-first focusing on, or lose market share to those that do.

However, performed proper, Google Adverts viewers focusing on is a good way to succeed in – and generate demand amongst – your goal market.

So, let’s take a look at what’s altering and easy methods to win within the new “viewers first” panorama – even in case you’d want to stay with key phrases.

The Upside Of Viewers-First For Alphabet

Whether or not or not a keyword-less strategy is in your organization’s greatest curiosity, it’s actually working nicely for Google’s guardian firm Alphabet.

This chart reveals reported annual income (in billions), with an overlay of the discharge of non-keyword merchandise.

Alphabet's annual revenue chart, with new product names overlayedScreenshot from Statista, April 2021. Overlayed product names added by writer.

Google’s success is clearly on account of extra than simply keyword-less advert choices. However the growth of its stock is non-trivial.

Our prospects spend far much less time Googling a product than they do not Googling a product.

If Google can attain them after they’re on-line however not on the SERP for a particular question, the chance for a paid click on turns into nearly limitless.

Your viewers at any given time:

small circle representing SERP, slightly larger circle representing contextual targeting, large circle representing anywhere onlineScreenshot by writer, July 2022


This growth is nice for Google’s backside line, however how about yours?

Right here’s a step-by-step take a look at easy methods to construct an audience-first technique that retains you aggressive.

Create An Viewers-First Technique

An audience-first technique isn’t totally totally different from an intent-first technique, however you’ll have to reframe the way you goal your prospects.

Outline Your Marketing campaign Aims

The marketing campaign’s purpose reveals the most effective strategy to take with technique and focusing on. Take into account this frequently-asked viewers query:

“Ought to I exclude remarketing from the audiences in my marketing campaign?”

If the aim of your marketing campaign is to succeed in new audiences, then it could make sense to exclude prior guests or clients.

If, nevertheless, the target is to succeed in people who find themselves accustomed to your model, then this exclusion can be deadly for that marketing campaign.

Realizing your goal will make profitable viewers choice a lot simpler to suppose by.

Outline Your Viewers And Segments

No, we’re not going to think about a particular person avatar, what shade shirt they’re carrying, and what they ate for breakfast this morning.

As a substitute, think about the attributes that make your viewers distinctive in how they store for, worth, or use your services or products.

Take into account issues like:

  • Who they’re.
  • Why they’re that manner.
  • How they’re fixing their downside right this moment.

You typically received’t discover these solutions in your Google Adverts information.

It requires work outdoors of the platform (resembling surveys or interviews) to analysis the traits of your clients.

Let’s say you’re promoting plant-based (vegan) burgers.

Your viewers would possibly embody a number of segments:

  • Beef-lovers who want to scale back their purple meat consumption or wish to strive one thing new.
  • Religious vegetarians who need another to dry black bean patties.

These two teams have totally different needs, motivations, and different choices.

They’ll reply greatest to totally different messages, and presumably totally different touchdown pages and provides.

We’ll want a segmented message technique for the most effective outcomes.

Construct Your Audiences And Segments In Google Adverts

As soon as you understand who you’re making an attempt to succeed in, you want a plan to succeed in them.

To succeed in vegetarians who would possibly take pleasure in our plant-based burgers, we may goal:

  • Affinity > Meals & Eating > Vegetarians & Vegans
  • Customized section > /buy intent > Vegetarian recipes and merchandise
  • Customized section > Comparable web sites > DTC vegetarian websites (Boca, Morningstar Farm, Quorn)
  • Customized section > Comparable web sites > Vegetarian publications (Vegetarian Instances, VRG, Vegout Magazine)
Google Ads UI showing
Screenshot from Google Adverts, April 2022

The viewers section sorts out there in a particular marketing campaign will rely on the campaign type or network you utilize.

For instance, you’ll be able to goal Life occasions (resembling marriage, commencement, or strikes) on Show, however not Search.

You possibly can create new segments from Audience manager or straight in your marketing campaign or advert group from the Audiences tab.

Some marketing campaign sorts now have you choose an viewers earlier than including adverts or different advertising property.

Create Distinct, Particular Advert Teams And Campaigns

As with key phrases, there’s no sense in constructing out curated, thematic viewers segments simply to stuff all the things again right into a single advert group with generic adverts.

Our “beef lovers” section wants its personal advert group and adverts, separate from our “veggie” section.

An exception to this rule is Search campaigns, the place intent is robust, and viewers segments could be layered into key phrase focusing on with out separating them fully:

audiences on google adsScreenshot from Google Adverts, June 2019

However for non-Search campaigns, your viewers segments are filling-in for key phrase intent, so that you’ll wish to hold distinct segments separate.

Create Adverts Focused For Your Segments

You possibly can customise your adverts for every market section with an audience-first technique.

  • Our adverts for vegetarian audiences can promote advantages like cruelty-free taste whereas emphasizing that these burgers are, in actual fact, vegan.
  • Our adverts for beef lovers can function well being advantages with out sacrificing style.

Take a look at totally different messaging and coverings of your adverts to see which carry out the most effective to your segments.

Monitor And Optimize Your Segments

You possibly can stack a number of, related segments inside an advert group.

If the identical particular person matches a couple of section, Google Adverts makes use of this hierarchy for which viewers sort will get the credit score:

Chart showing descending priority: Customer match, Remarketing / Similar audiences, Combined audiences, Affinity / In-market, Detailed demographicsScreenshot from Google Adverts assist web page, July 2022

You’ll additionally discover quite a lot of viewers section information in Viewers Supervisor.

From Instruments & Settings > Viewers supervisor, simply click on the identify of your information section to see particulars like:

  • Section members.
  • Match fee.
  • Community eligibility (together with segment size).
  • Section distribution.
  • Section use.
Google Ads Audience managerScreenshot from Google Adverts Viewers supervisor, April 2022

Consider your viewers efficiency and edit your settings to optimize and enhance your campaigns.

“Don’ts” Of Viewers-First Concentrating on

  • Don’t goal arbitrary attributes. Construct viewers segments and focusing on round significant attributes, not arbitrary observations. Classes like age and gender are simple to trace, however sometimes received’t outline your market.
  • Don’t use conflicting settings. In case your goal is to run remarketing adverts, don’t additionally choose “optimized focusing on,” which is able to attain individuals who haven’t engaged together with your web site.
  • Don’t “set it and overlook it.” Identical to key phrase optimization, viewers optimization is an iterative course of. Pay shut consideration to overly-broad phrases in your customized segments.

“Do’s” Of Viewers-First Concentrating on

Google Ads support pageScreenshot from Google Adverts assist web page, highlights by the writer, July 2022
  • Do count on a studying curve. Google Adverts has been evolving its performance and terminology over the past a number of years, making it really feel new and unfamiliar. Be affected person with your self as you (re)be taught the ropes.
  • Do know the foundations. Your business, authorities restrictions, and different necessities will affect whether or not and how one can market. Assessment Google Adverts support documentation and updates often, so you’ll be able to keep within the loop.
  • Do perceive VUCA. VUCA is an acronym that stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. Irrespective of how tight the focusing on you arrange, you received’t obtain 100% accuracy. You possibly can see how your own ads are personalized here. Count on some messiness.
Google Ads SettingsScreenshot of Google Adverts Settings, April 2022


An audience-first technique for Google Adverts will provide help to prospect and attain your goal market.

Realizing easy methods to group and converse to particular person market segments will enhance your efficiency and improve your possibilities of success.

Extra sources:

Featured Picture: Alones/Shutterstock

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