Insights

2nd March 2021

The Three ‘Paid Search’ Questions to ask in March

In this series from Varn, we will be asking three vital questions each month all about ‘Paid Search’. These monthly questions focus on helping you think about how best to improve and optimise your advertising. 

This month, we’re looking at Audiences – one of the underused & misunderstood gems of Google Ads.

Question 1 – Am I using Audiences at All?

It is no surprise that the Audience feature of Google Ads is often overlooked. Even with the latest set-up walkthroughs, it is only an option in a nondescript dropdown menu and there’s little that can be done with it unless you are looking at a remarketing campaign. 


Google Ads Screenshot

The Audience menu is in the light grey sidebar and can show you the settings for the whole Account, just the selected Campaign or Ad Group.

The Audiences should be set to either Observation or Targeting and there is also a second menu section for Exclusions.

Targeting means you are only sending to people on that list, while Observation means you are sending to everyone but can adjust bids to that segment.

Question 2 – Am I using Audiences Correctly?

This is difficult to assess, as there are so many types of Audiences, and ways to use them.

Here are some examples that we use here at Varn for our Clients:

  • Remarketing – The best use of Audiences is the simple remarketing list. If your website has enough visitors, you can create an Audience in Google Analytics, import them into Google Ads and then choose whether to bid higher on those visitors, encouraging them to make a second (or third) visit to make a purchase or bid lower, confident that they will still pick your website over competitors. 

But you don’t have to stop there!

  • Use the list to run a display campaign to give Googlers a visual nudge back to the website. You can include prices and star ratings.
  • If you have a popular ‘Hero’ product, then segment visitors to that specific page and use it as a separate list on more specific keywords, lowering costs for the same traffic.
  • Build a ‘Converted’ list of customers who filled in a contact form or made a purchase to remarket with new products and special offers.
  • In-Market – Given that up to 55% of Shoppers did online research before purchasing back in 2018, it makes sense to see if Google has an In-Market Audience for any product or service you are selling. These researchers give Google signals that they are looking to buy as they visit online stores, review websites, use ‘for sale’ etc in their search terms. Google has an ever-expanding list of audiences for goods and services available to advertisers.
  • Lifestyle & Status – While the Audiences are anonymous, Google does use the vast amount of data from the searches and reactions of people online to segment and tag browsing sessions for Audiences. It uses machine learning and algorithms to make ‘best guesses’ about an online persona’s ‘House Ownership’ and ‘Marital Status’ as well as their hobbies, habits, and professions. These are only guessed however and it could be unwise to limit a campaign by only targeting a Google estimated audience. Instead, you could try:
  • Excluding or decreasing bids on certain demographics if your product or service is unsuitable for them.
  • Observe the interactions, bounce rates etc to create better landing pages to suit your customers.

Question 3 – Is there more I can do with Audiences?

With GA4 now available to add to websites, Audience targeting and observation will increase as more, anonymously gathered, information allows increasingly more accurate and useful groups to be built. We expect that Locational audiences will be added as a more useful way to segment online users and audiences within audiences, even if the Google Ads will only be able to target them with a smart, automated bidding campaign.

While this data is being segmented by Google, it is worth assessing your campaigns and Ad Groups to see if more Audiences can be added for observation and encouraged to visit your website.

If you have any burning paid search questions you would really like answered next month, or would like some help from the experts at Varn with your paid search campaigns, then please do not hesitate to contact our friendly team. We would love to hear from you.

Article by: Dave, Paid Search Marketing Manager More articles by Dave

Share this article: