Top 3 Audience Targeting Types for Your Next Display Campaign

Top 3 Audience Targeting Types for Your Next Display Campaign
May 31, 2019 MadMarTech

Following the previous post on targeting overview, in this article we will cover the following topics in detail:

  1. Remarketing and Similar Audiences
  2. In-market and Custom Intent Audiences.
  3. Affinity and Custom Affinity Audiences


Remarketing and Similar Audiences

Remarketing audiences are comprised of users who have expressed interest in your site. It could be the users who abandoned your site or browsed through a couple of pages. This audience list has the highest possibility to convert and is recommend to bid highest for the remarketing campaigns.

The Remarketing Lists

Google Algorithm learns and keeps building new lists for your site. You could use these lists for display, video, and search channels. Remarketing lists are built using Google Analytics tag or AdWords/Google Ads tag that you have installed on your site. Using this tag, the data collection begins. Initially, when you get started you would only have combined lists and website visitors. Let us now have a look at some of the remarketing lists available for Google display ads:

Website Visitors

As an advertiser, you could create remarketing lists for those who visited your website. There are multiple options and rules to choose from:

  1. Visitors of a Page
  2. Visitors of a Page who also visited another page
  3. Visitors of a Page who did not visit another page
  4. Visitors of a Page during specific dates
  5. Visitors of a Page with specific tags

You could try and test multiple remarketing audiences to build different lists and see which ones work the best for you. Google also provides “membership” options which means that you could control how long the users could be part of the list. For now, the maximum limit is up to 1.4 years or 540 days.

Youtube Users

You could target users who have interacted or engaged with your Youtube channel. Right from the users who liked a particular video of your channel to your subscribers, target them all. Here is the list of targeting options available to create a youtube:

  1. Viewed any video from a channel
  2. Viewed certain videos
  3. Viewed any video as an ad from the channel
  4. Viewed certain videos as ads
  5. Subscribed to a channel
  6. Visited a channel page
  7. Liked any video from a channel
  8. Added any video from a channel to a playlist
  9. Commented on any video from a channel
  10. Shared any video from the channel

Remarketing lists members can be part of it for up to 540 days and targeted for the same duration.

App Users

You could create a remarketing list using the users who use your app. The users could be targeted on different platforms using this list. The advertisers can be selective and choose one of the following options:

  1. All Users of your app
  2. Used your app recently or haven’t used them in a while
  3. Used specified versions of your app
  4. Took specific actions within your app.

Advertisers need to create remarketing lists separately for Android and iOS.

Combined List

The combined list is a combination of multiple lists above. For example, You could create one list for the users who visited your page and liked a video from a channel and visited your app into one list.

Custom List

A long term advertiser with decent spending on Google ads can upload a customer list to remarket their products.

If you would like to know more about how to set up a remarketing campaign, check out this post.

Similar Audiences

Similar audiences are automatically created by Google based on the remarketing lists. As the name suggests, the users in similar audiences exhibit similar characteristics as your remarketing audiences. They would have the same browsing patterns, interests belonging to the identical demographics. As you might have guessed Similar audiences have high potential to convert and will also expand your reach significantly. Hence, advertisers are recommended to bid similar audiences almost equal to remarketing audiences. Based on our experience, using ‘similar audience’ is the best way to drive more conversions and bring in new customers to your site.


In-market and Custom Intent Audiences

Google has been monitoring user’s actions and interactions on the web and has been grouping them in different buckets. In-market and custom intent audiences are built based on this data.

In-market Audience

An In-market audience is a group of users who are actively researching your products or “in the market” to buy a product. For example: Let us say that your friend Samantha wants to buy formal wear for her next meeting by the end of the month. She is looking up at different stores and browsing through the inventory. Samantha also compares different products, variants, and its price. She is now part of the in-market audience and the advertiser can target and influence her during her buying journey. You could use this audience at a campaign level or at an ad group level.

If you have been running campaigns for a while, use the Google “Ideas” tab to find suitable in-market audiences to target. Or type in your website n the search tab to get the most suitable in-market audience for your site. Here is an example for in-market audiences for Beats headphones site:

in market audience display ads audience targeting

Custom Intent Audience

Instead of using Google’s preset audiences, custom intent audiences gives you the power to create your own audiences using specific keywords and URL. It is very easy to create custom intent audiences. All you need to do is bulk enter few keywords or related URL and Google will generate a lot of relevant ones in the ideas tab. You could add or subtract them to expand your reach. On the same note, you could also add your competitor’s URL to your custom intent audiences. Here is an example of Beats headphones. As illustrated, we have just added the URL and a lot of ideas came up. Check the ideas and add the relevant ones. As an advertiser, you could see the audience size and other demographic information as well.

what is a custom intent audience


How to create a custom intent audience


Affinity and Custom Affinity Audiences

Affinity and custom affinity audiences are generally used for branding campaigns with broad reach.

Affinity Audiences

Affinity audiences are created based on the interests of the users based on specific topics. Google has observed user interactions on different web pages and classified them based on their interests into different affinity categories. However, this is broad. For example: If you have a store on women’s bags, then you could use the following affinity audiences to reach people who have interests in women’s bags. As mentioned above, the categories are quite broad and sometimes even irrelevant.

** This is not recommended unless you would like to build your brand and you have a lot of budget to promote your store.

Affinity Audiences to use for display advertising


Custom Affinity Audiences

Just like custom intent audiences, you could create a broad custom affinity audiences. Instead of using pre-listed audiences from affinity audience, you could create a custom affinity audience list using keywords and URL. Once created, you could use the custom affinity audiences for multiple campaigns. You could define your audience by the following:

  1. Interests
  2. URL
  3. Places
  4. Apps

You could mix and match these multiple above options to create one audience list. Here is an example to illustrate custom affinity audience, however, this is not an ideal case nor it has been optimized.

custom affinity audiences what is it and how to use it



Depending on the campaign goal, different audiences can be used for targeting purposes. However, if the conversion is your primary KPI use the following audiences in the order of bidding priority:

  1. Remarketing audience
  2. Similar Audience
  3. In-market Audience
  4. Custom Intent Audience
  5. Custom Affinity Audience (not recommended for conversion as a KPI)
  6. Affinity Audience (not recommended for conversion as a KPI)