On November 1, 2022, Google announced its Google Ads services would stop generating similar audience segments by August 2023.
This is a significant change for advertisers and brands relying on these audiences to drive successful campaigns. With this in mind, it’s crucial to start preparing now to transition away from similar audience segments to bolster your Google ads bid strategy without interruption.
Let’s take a look at how you can prepare for the upcoming changes and ensure that your business continues running smoothly even after the sunset date.
What Are Similar Audiences and Similar Audience Segments?
“Similar Audiences are Google-generated audiences based on an original input of data when it meets a minimum threshold of criteria. The technology is leveraged to extend the reach of your ads to a new audience that looks close to your original audience as possible,” said Cuyler Franzke, Thrive’s Paid Media Director and an experienced Google Ads Specialist.
With the help of third-party cookies, Google examines your visitors’ search activity within your remarketing list to gain insight into how people in that group behave online. From there, it will automatically identify target audience segments with comparable search profiles to those in your audience list.
Similar audiences “tend to be more highly engaged than more general forms of audience targeting, but works best for top-of-funnel strategies,” Cuyler said about how Thrive and their clients use them to strengthen PPC marketing campaigns.
Google Ads services will continuously update your segments based on new data acquired using machine learning algorithms. For example, Google might detect a new similar search behavior among your audiences and create a new segment to target people with the same search pattern.
This helps your Google ads targeting campaigns reach more people who will likely engage with your brand – ultimately driving more conversions and sales.
Why Google Is Retiring Similar Audiences
However, all things must come to an end, for better or for worse. This rings true for similar target audience segments as Google has announced they will sunset this feature by August 1 this year, pushing advertisers to use their other Google audience targeting options, namely:
• Optimized targeting
• Audience expansion
• Smart bidding
This move is in response to growing calls for privacy among advertisers and end-users.
Cuyler noted that Google isn’t the first one to do this, as “Meta has already gone through this process and trimmed a ton of targeting options to force advertisers to be more conscious of how they are building out their audiences and campaigns.”
Therefore, Google is just following a long overdue trend and ensuring that their users can continue to trust them with their data.
“There is a high possibility this will continue to evolve to limit more and more access to certain data,” Cuyler said.
Similar audience Google Ads has been a fantastic tool for advertisers since it automatically collects data and targets audiences for them, eliminating a lot of work needed to optimize your Google ads targeting and improve PPC management campaigns. However, once it’s retired, Google advertising agency experts and businesses must find a solid alternative to reach more audiences.
Steps To Take To Prepare for the Transition
The retirement of similar target audience segments signals a recalibration of strategies for PPC ads agency marketers. To help you prepare for this transition, Cuyler shares these four strategies to maintain a strong presence in search engine ads.
Leverage First-Party Data
Your first step towards preparing for the transition away from SAGs should be to leverage your first-party data.
“The integrity of the data is so much higher because it comes from a willing party and you are staying within the ethics of privacy protection,” Cuyler said.
The collection of first-party data is critical and should be obtained from as many places as possible. Once you have your data, you can funnel it back into all your digital advertising and marketing efforts. By using first-party data, you also stay within the ethical boundaries of privacy protection.
Utilize Any Platform-Based AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an incredibly effective tool for filtering relevant information from the enormous amounts of data you may have access to. By using platform-based AI such as Smart Bidding, you can take advantage of machine learning to filter your audiences down, reducing the time and money you spend on digital ads.
However, before you start utilizing these platforms, ensure you have an integrity check with your own data collections to ensure they are working correctly.
Use Your Customer Lists
Although using customer lists might seem outdated, it is still one of the best ways to get ahead with targeted advertising campaigns. In fact, a list of your current customers should be your most valuable asset. Therefore, instead of finding new customers, start by analyzing your existing customer list.
Cuyler recommends you leverage this data to improve your Google audience targeting and considerably reduce costs by cutting through a lot of noise and getting right to your customers.
Using your customer lists helps you build lookalike audiences for your Google Ads bid strategy and reach people with similar interests and buying habits. If this sounds familiar, it should, as this is what similar audience Google Ads was doing.
Just Create Good Content
Great content is at the center of any successful Google Ads strategy. If your content is subpar, it won’t matter how good your Google ads targeting is or what platforms you use – people simply won’t pay attention to them.
People will naturally gravitate towards interesting and informative ads, so ensure your content is up to the task.
Make sure to create high-quality content that meets your customers at every stage of the journey. More than just excellent Google audience targeting, advertising campaigns should emphasize creating value content, effectively moving customers down the funnel to conversion.
Creating good content is a specialty of a reliable Google advertising agency. Whether it’s writing creative copy, designing visuals or optimizing landing pages – they will always have a Google Ads specialist helping you construct compelling stories for your brand that drives results.
The Future of Search Advertising
So, should you be worried about the impending sunsetting of Google Ads similar audience segments? Not really, Cuyler said. But you should still certainly take the necessary steps to fortify your Google Ads strategy.
It may not look pretty up ahead, but here are some changes you can expect when similar audience Google Ads are tucked away.
More Efforts on Eliminating Wasted Ad Spend and Audiences
Sure, this is a significant change for many advertisers but will not spell the end of Google Ads services as we know them. It does mean that businesses will need to put in more effort to get the best results, and they may end up wasting ad spending on unnecessary audiences.
Conduct an inventory of your customer lists and start optimizing your Smart Bidding strategies. This way, you’ll have an easier time adapting to the changes while maintaining a strong presence in search engines.
Leveraging AI and Automation Tools
Automating certain tasks and using AI is not a new concept in the digital marketing world. Still, it is becoming increasingly necessary for success. Automation tools can help you create campaigns faster, optimize your Google Ads bid strategy and identify promising audiences more quickly.
Working with a Google Ads agency helps you keep up with the latest AI and automation tools available. They can advise you on the best tools for your business and show you the most efficient ways to use them.
You can also use AI-driven systems to personalize content and find better ad opportunities. Utilizing these tools allows you to maximize your returns from search engine advertising even after the sunsetting of Google Ads similar audience segments.
Race To Better Content
Because targeted ads are becoming more limited, there is a race to create better content and better ads. Whoever can best attract the attention of their target audiences will emerge on top. Therefore, your prep work should include developing content that resonates with your customers and creating ads that compel them to click.
Working with a PPC ads agency enables you to create bespoke content that also drives traffic through paid marketing. This is essential if you want to stay ahead of the competition and maximize your returns.
Create Ads That Work With Thrive
Crafting effective ads without similar audience segments may sound intimidating, but you can still launch successful campaigns with the right strategies and a flexible mindset.
So, grab your coffee, get your team together and brainstorm ideas on how to make the most of search engine advertising.
If you need help transitioning away from similar audience segments, don’t hesitate to contact Thrive Internet Marketing Agency. Our Google Ads agency has experience across various types of campaigns and knows what it takes for a successful transition.
We offer a wide array of PPC marketing services, including:
And don’t worry. We’ll take care of the nitty-gritty while you focus on ensuring your business grows as it should. Connect with us and start creating your own future-proof Google Ads strategy today.