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Reaching “Similar Audiences” with Remarketing

 In PPC, PPC Optimization

similarIf you’ve ever set up a remarketing campaign in Google AdWords, you know how valuable a part of your advertising budget this can be. Since remarketing lets you show banner (and text) ads to users who looked at your site, it’s a way to reclaim these visitors as potential customers. Or, it’s a simple way to get these visitors to come back to your site so you can promote a new product or feature you’ve added.

But if you want to take this concept to the next level, you need to try targeting Google’s “Similar Audiences.” This will open up a whole new world of potential customers for your website!

Remarketing is good for other reasons, too. Besides getting previous visitors to click back to your site, it’s a great way to stay top-of-mind with these visitors. Your banner ads will “follow” them as they go from site to site, provided each site displays Google ads. As an example, I regularly browse one of my favorite Fantasy Baseball sites, RotoWorld. With the baseball season approaching, I access it every day. As such, I will always see one of my various clients’ remarketing banner ads displayed prominently there. Since these banners often promote an offer or new product or service, it reminds me about that site every time I refresh the page.

So, remarketing offers exciting possibilities. And the ability to reach even more of these types of visitors can be equally exciting, and profitable, too!

What are Similar Audiences?

Google’s Similar Audiences enables you to find people who share characteristics with your site visitors. By adding “similar audiences” to your ad group, you can show your ads to people whose interests are similar to those of your site visitors, allowing you to reach new and qualified potential customers.

Where Do Similar Audiences See My Ads?

Like targeting regular remarketing users, Similar Audiences can see your ads in a variety of places:

  1. Mobile apps
  2. Google Play
  3. Related blogs or forums
  4. Related websites
  5. Gmail
  6. YouTube

The good news is that Google lets you completely customize where your ads are seen by these similar audiences (see Figure 1). For example, you can choose to completely exclude mobile apps from showing your ads. Or, you can block ads from showing only on mobile gaming apps, with the thought that gamers may have a lower attention span than those looking at a local news app.

Figure 1

Figure 1: This screen summarizes some of the top placements where the Similar Audiences segment of visitors is showing the banner ads. Since this advertiser has chosen to include foreign nations, their ads are being shown to similar audiences both in the U.S. and internationally.

Conversion Results

The number of direct web conversions (orders or leads) you might see from the Similar Audiences campaign will be low. The number of “assisted” conversions, tends to be the same or lower, too. Those are conversions where your remarketing banners were seen at some point during a user’s conversion path through your site. But, because the similar group will provide so many more impressions and clicks, if you have set up Phone Call Lead tracking, you can expect to see more phone leads from this group (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Figure 2: This chart compares results of the regular/standard remarketing campaign that targets actual visitors who previously visited the site and those who are “similar” to actual visitors. You can see that the Similar Audiences group generated 14 times the number of clicks, almost 30 times the number of impressions, and consumed 88% of the budget. It produced fewer direct web conversions (2 vs. 4), fewer assisted conversions (0 vs. 2), but more phone calls. As you can see, it’s a good supplement to the existing campaign. 


If your AdWords Pay-Per-Click remarketing campaign is performing well, and you’d like to expand the number of impressions and clicks yours ads are receiving, consider expanding to show your ads to Similar Audiences. It will help grow your exposure by significant amounts, and can generate an additional source of web conversions.

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