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    How to Improve Your Targeting with Google's New Custom Affinity Audiences

    Last week, Google announced that Custom Affinity Audiences is available for everyone on the Google Display Network. Google’s Custom Affinity Audiences gives advertisers more flexibility in how they target across the Display Network.  It’s been a busy few weeks for advertisers with the release of new targeting toys; In addition to Google’s announcement, Facebook also recently announced their Audience Network expansion. In this post, I will share my insights on how Custom Affinity Audiences will impact you as an advertiser.

    What is it?

    Custom Affinity Audiences allows advertisers to reach the exact people they are looking for as they create the audience parameters. This feature is the culmination of two years of Google launches, including affinity and in-market audiences.

    • Affinity - Someone with a strong history of viewing a subject, i.e. a technophile
    • In-market - Someone who is actively browsing, researching or comparing the types of products you sell, i.e. a new technology

    Now, Google is providing advertisers with this information in a way that allows them the ability to define their audience with a combination of interests and sites.

    What Are the Benefits?

    1. No longer dependent on Google's pre-defined audiences
    2. Couple numerous ‘personas’ together to target an audience specific to your business
    3. More control of how you want to find customers online

    How to Set It Up in Google AdWords

    1. Create a new Ad Group within a AdWords display campaign

    2. Select "+ Targeting" to add new targeting

    adwords custom affinity audiences

    3. Name your Ad Group

    4. Choose “Interests & Remarketing” for targeting and select “Affinity” as the category

    adwords custom affinity audiences category

    5. Below the list of affinities, select “+ Custom”

    adwords custom affinity audiences create

    Now, you can start designing your Affinity.

    • Be sure to hit enter between each target. For placements, make sure it’s in URL form; if not, it will default to an Interest.
    • This screenshot below shows what it might look like if we wanted to target people for our blog.

    adwords custom affinity audiences example

    My Take on Custom Affinity Audiences

    It’s interesting that this feature launch happened so soon after Facebook’s Atlas announcement and the aforementioned Audience Network expansion. It seems Google is getting closer and closer to “persona” targeting.

    As an advertiser, I love the ability to hone in my audience as tight and specific as possible, so I can say firsthand that this  play is very appealing for anyone looking to create Display Campaigns.  I’ve always been a fan of the Google Display Network (GDN) and have seen some very good results from advertising on it. Google Display Network to many is like throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks; hopefully, this new way of targeting will help alleviate some apprehension to advertise on the GDN. The GDN notoriously has been used as a way for companies to brand, and according to ComScore, it reaches 94% of the web in the U.S. and 89% of global users, so hopefully we’ll see more responsiveness from consumers in terms of conversions.

    Custom Affinity Audience targeting gives advertisers an extra layer of targeting and customization, and rightfully so since Google took a lot of customization away with enhanced campaigns. It will be interesting to see how Google uses this data to form other targeting options, i.e. lookalike audiences. Have thoughts on Custom Affinity Targeting? Please share in the comments.