Reinventing the AdWords Wheel with Google’s Custom Affinity Audiences

In ancient times, cavemen walked the earth, slowly but surely discovering fire and inventing tools that still serve us today, like the wheel. A few million years later, in 2000, Google’s AdWords started moving internet campaigns to the next level, transforming into the company’s primary source of revenue. However, recently, Google enabled custom affinity audiences for AdWords to provide advertisers with opportunities to better target audience members in their Display Network. Clearly, there are always ways to improve upon the exceptional.

Haven’t checked it out yet? As a business owner, your goal is to not only market your products and services, but market them to the right people. The following guide will help you better understand what these settings can really do for you, and how to make them even more effective, depending on your industry.

Didn’t These Settings Already Exist?

While “affinity audiences” and “in-market audiences” have existed since the dawn of time (read: < 2 years), this new facet provides an even more targeted approach in which you choose exactly who to share your message with, reaching out to only the most qualified users. This next-level development forever banishes the days of wasting your time and hard-earned cash on general marketing tactics, like hanging animal hides painted with images of your product outside the houses of everyone you know, regardless of interest. Good riddance!


Why Are Custom Affinity Audiences Settings So Effective?

You eat, sleep, and breathe ways to increase your ROI, grow your business, and increase the number of qualified leads contacting you. So when an opportunity comes along that has the potential to make reaching your goals possible, you jump on it like a hungry caveman ambushing his prey, right?

Affinity audiences is that opportunity. The options made available help you to market directly to only the most qualified users in the following ways:

  • Reach more people: Advertisers can reach any user surfing pages within the Display Network or YouTube Search Network. To target specific individuals, you can choose from a variety of categories, including sports, cars, fashion, or travel.
  • Support concurrent ads: The custom affinity audiences function provides excellent support for advertisers who choose to bolster and add reach to advertisements running on that newfangled invention called TV.
  • Bring your message to previously out-of-reach users: Advertisers operating out of countries in which target groups are not included in predefined audiences, or places in which affinity audiences is not supported, can reach users who are likely to visit their webpage by choosing the “other interest” option. Think Clan of the Cave Bear sending a carrier pigeon to the faraway tribe, Clan of the Antelope.
  • Create target groups: As a business owner, you want to narrow in on users who are primed to convert and have been putting out all the right (smoke) signals. With Affinity settings, you can find and market to them, regardless of what page they’re currently surfing. Affinity audiences empowers you to create target groups that include interests matching the values and/ or business philosophies of users. Examples of these interests include eco-consciousness or travel. By using the targeting option for “in-market audiences,” you have the ability to select from audiences that are currently considering converting and have demonstrated this fact by comparison shopping on other websites or visiting community forums.

Big. Win.

How Is Audience Targeting Different from Topic Targeting?

In ancient caveman times, advertisers used topic targeting, which allowed them to show their ads on any page a user searches that matches the marketer’s selected topic. Get ready to climb out of that box! Customized audience targeting, on the other hand, allows businesses to target users with defined interests that are different from the topic of the websites they are surfing. If your user loves cars, let’s say, and you sell automotive products, your ads will reach him even when he’s searching for tennis rackets on Once you hone in on the individuals most likely to convert on your service or product, your ads can find them wherever they are. So the caveman looking to sell his new wheel can show it not just to the grunting masses hanging around his cave, but to people out on the hunt or foraging for berries in a nearby field.


The Ins and Outs

When audience targeting, Google pulls data from users who have submitted information on third-party pages, including gender, age, interests, demographic information, as well as those who have visited webpages associated with the visitor’s anonymous Cookie-ID. As you build an audience, Google will use this information to suggest people with affinities most relevant to your campaign, so you can continue to grow your reach.

As always, when working with AdWords, best practices for advertising include CPM-bidding (cost-per-1.000 impressions) and capping frequency to make certain that your ads are shown to a specific individual. Creating mobile-friendly display ads also increases the success of your campaign.

Great services can always be better! Google’s Custom Affinity Audiences reinvents, or at least smooths the performance of, the AdWords wheel. Give these new options a spin and let us know how they work for you!