17 Tips to Use AdWords Similar Audiences for Search Campaigns

17 Tips to Use AdWords Similar Audiences for Search Campaigns    

Similar audiences, replicated in different advertising platforms under different names, activate one of the most productive prospecting strategies. Facebook lookalike audiences, for instance, is especially popular among marketers yet many unwisely tend to underutilize the matching AdWords feature. Here are 17 tips that will shed more light on how to maximally utilize AdWord’s similar audiences.

Create a remarketing list

A remarketing list offers the ideal starting point to determine and categorize audiences who interact best and most beneficially with your campaigns. It will avail a data-backed platform that will help you manipulate your seed audience to maximize efficacy.

The best approach

To enable advanced customization of your seed list for similar audiences, first, opt out of similar audiences when setting up a remarketing campaign as it is on by default. This way, you will be able to better formulate the specifics later in the process for increased performance.

Refine your list

List refinement should be an ever-ongoing activity to make the most out of similar audiences. At any given time, effect tweaks based on the data you collect and the insights you glean such that the parameters utilized in your lists are as streamlined as possible.

Explore third party options

Third party alternatives for finding similar audiences abound, and you should explore them to see whether they can offer something extra that can turbo boost your prospecting activities on AdWords. However, prioritize learning how to utilize all AdWords similar audiences features first.

First party data limitations

Externally created seed audiences uploaded to AdWords will work for Gmail and Youtube, but they will not function for the Google Display Network. This is so because Gmail and YouTube are Google-owned while GDN includes third parties and relies on cookie driven browsing.

AdWords editor or AdWords web interface?

You can implement similar audiences in two ways: through the AdWords Editor or the AdWords Web Interface. The Editor alternative has fewer steps compared to the web interface, and thus, it is a good idea to start there.

Build customized lists

Depending on the type of campaigns you run, create several custom lists suited to different campaigns rather than one list with a broad scope. In this manner, you will increase the accuracy of similar audiences through a listing format that is focused.

Utilize the shared library

Once saved, your lists will automatically appear in the shared library. The shared library is AdWords way of centralizing audience lists such that you can edit them centrally and then access them across the platform.

Your list must be long enough

If your seed audience list is too short, you will encounter the ‘unavailable’ tag which will effectively curtail your similar audiences’ implementation efforts. Aim for at least 100 entries per list.

Layering at the ad group level

You can implement similar audiences at campaign or ad group level. Ad group level, layering offers a higher level of flexibility and granularity whereby you can generate similar audiences for specific ad group categories

Sensitive categories

AdWords does not take into account audience similarities based on delicate parameters such as religion, race, health, sexual orientation among others. Therefore, your seed audience list should likewise not be based on any of these categories.

Read the best use practices

Before starting out, read the best use practices to get the most out of the feature and dodge avoidable snags. Google resources on the same are sufficiently detailed and easy to comprehend.

Layer bids vs. target and bid

Layer bids can only be applied to ad groups and campaigns that are already running. On the other hand, to utilize the ‘target and bid’ alternative, you will have to create new campaigns that are audience specific.

Bid adjustment for “bid only” similar audiences

To implement sound ‘bid only’ similar audiences, formulate bid adjustments by taking into consideration the specific conversion occurrence (and where it is situated in your funnel) on which the source audience is based upon.

Using the 0% bid adjustment

If you wish to gather data first, simply set a 0% bid adjustment for ‘bid only’ similar audiences. You can then use the data and insight gained to arrive at a more appropriate bid adjustment percentage. In the case of ‘target and bid’ audiences, select the apex CPC bid.

Start small

Commence your similar audiences journey with a small budget. This way, you will reduce the chances of losing significant budget percentages in case of a misstep as you progressively surmount the learning curve. Moreover, it will ensure you do not exceed what you can afford on new traffic.


Confirm that tracking is turned on and working properly to get information on the dynamics of the new traffic actualized courtesy of similar audiences. Analyze the information, and at this juncture, you can utilize third party service providers to get more insights.

Similar audiences in AdWords as well other platforms such as Facebook should be a core part of your marketing strategy. They will not only help you get more traffic and conversions but also unlock more information concerning your audiences that you can then leverage to further polish your marketing efforts.

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