Why You Need a PPC Audience Strategy

Whether you’re in the Manual CPC camp or are adopting automated bidding, having an audience strategy can improve PPC campaign performance. Using audiences in Google Ads allows you to be sure your ads are showing to the right person at the right time. Audiences are powerful tools that can help maximize your returns when optimized properly. Google states that “audiences are groups of people with specific interests, intents, and demographics.” They are estimated based on search signals that allow Google to determine their interests or intents, they are based on your list of customers that you upload, or those who visit your site.

Different Types of Audiences

In order to optimize audiences, it is important to understand the differences of each audience type. They consist of:

Affinity: Affinity audiences are based on interests, habits, passions, and lifestyles.
Custom Affinity: Custom Affinity audiences can be created based on keyword phrases, URLs, types of places a user might be interested in, and apps that a user might be interested in.
In-Market: This audience is based on customers who are researching a purchase.
Customer Match: Customer match is an uploaded list of your current customers and then they are matched within Google’s database.
Similar Audiences: Using customer match and/or remarketing lists as signals, Google then finds new customers that are similar to your current customers.
Remarketing (RLSA): Remarketing lists are based on users who visit your site and have been cookied by a pixel. They can also be referred to as Remarketing Lists for Search Ads or RLSA.

All of these can be added to campaigns or ad groups in PPC accounts to collect data and then using that data to optimize your campaigns. While it is not exactly known how Google’s algorithm determines members of the audiences, it is based on that user’s search behavior.  

How to Utilize Audiences

Now that we know what audiences are and what kinds there are, we can begin to use them in optimizations. There are many different ways and audience strategies, but here are a few examples to get you started using this powerful tool. 

Bid Optimizations

Adding bid modifiers to audiences is the most common and successful way to optimize for audiences in your campaigns. You will first want to add audiences that you determine are relevant to your goods or services (and maybe even some that you don’t think are relevant, more data is power) as “observation”. 


This is key. Unless you are creating an RLSA campaign, more on that below, you want to select observation to solely collect data from this audience. Targeting will result in your campaigns ONLY showing to those audiences and you will see a decline in traffic. 

If you are using Smart Bidding, your work is done. The Smart Bidding algorithm will adjust bids accordingly during the auction, which makes implementing your audience strategy a little easier. If you are using manual bidding then you will have to allow the data to collect, the time frame varies based on the amount of data your campaign gets, and then adjust bids up or down based on the performance of that audience. 

RLSA or Remarketing Search Campaigns

Remarketing campaigns in search allow to tailor messaging, bids, budgets, etc. all based on users that visited your site or are in your CRM data. One key to success with this type of strategy is that you have large enough audiences. You will be limiting your campaign to only those who are in your selected list and are searching using keywords you determined. These two factors will limit traffic, but allow you to be aggressive to users who are more likely to purchase, as well as tailor messaging to your customers. 

Ad Customizers

Ad customizers give you the ability to tailor messaging without limiting your campaign to only those audiences. Use IF functions in your copy in order to only show that audience a specific message or offer. The more relevant your message is to your audience, the more likely they are to click. This also will reduce account complexity by eliminating the need to create separate RLSA campaigns just to tailor messaging. 

With these tools, you have the beginnings of an audience strategy. Audiences can help you reduce costs while maximizing performance. Not sure how to go about using audiences? Root and Branch will gladly help you navigate these waters, just contact us

Root & Branch is a digital marketing team with operations in Pittsburgh, PA and Jacksonville, NC that provides a wide variety of digital advertising and analytics services for B2C and B2B companies. Root & Branch is a certified Google Partner agency and focuses on paid search (PPC), SEO, Local SEO, digital reputation management, digital analytics, and social media management.

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