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Using GA Audiences to Improve Your Marketing

Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful beast. GA Audiences is an under used part of that beasties weaponry.

With enhanced reporting enabled you can segment your visitors down in many different ways. This can then used in one of two different ways.

Using Audiences in Analytics for Targeting in AdWords

Firstly, audience segments can be imported into Google Ads (formerly AdWords) and used in remarketing. These can be created in the Admin area of your Analytics account.

audiences analytics














Go to Google Analytics -> Account -> Admin -> Property -> Audience Definitions. Create a new audience, then specify whether this is for all visitors of your site, or certain pages, or meet some other condition. In the above basic example, you have to first create the one suggested by Google. Then go in and create a new one. In this case, we have done this because the cookie setting is only 30 days. This means that only visitors in the last 30 days are included in the list. This means a small list. So, you can create a list up to 540 days membership.

Then select to share it to your ads account. Your Google Analytics tracking code will curate a list of visitors on your website, which will be sent to Google Ads.

Basic Audiences for Search Campaigns

Because there are so many options in Display campaigns, I’ll focus on use of Audiences in Search Campaigns, which are simpler, but still very useful. These are not available in Shopping Network.

Now in G-Ads, go to your campaign, then on the left there is a section called Audiences. Click to create.

Now here there are some options to go through, Targeting and Observation. Targeting means that only people in your selected audiences will receive ads in that campaign. You can select more than one audience.

Observation is the other option. This one will allow you to target ads using multiple criteria, and adding audiences to this chiefly gives you the option to raise or lower bids on these audiences. Also, adding audiences here can broaden how many people will see the ads in Display campaigns.

Now we can create Audiences. Here is where we can choose to use the remarketing list created in Analytics which we have shared to G-Ads, or we can use pre-defined audiences.

Preset Basic Audiences are also available in Google Ads for refining your ad targeting, but these options are called are in the same place you would add audiences in Google Ads.

Secondly, Audience data can greatly benefit your strategy for content marketing. If you find that your blogging and other content efforts are not driving either much traffic, or convert poorly, then data from Analytics can help you to identify the subset of visitors that actually do convert well.

In Google Ads, there are many preset audience types. This area has all been revamped so is correct at the current time (May 2019).

The three types;

1 – Who they are

2 – What they are actively researching or planning

3 – How they have interacted with your business.

The first section gives options that are basic versions of the main targeting options in Facebook. Google clearly is trying to emulate their competitor here. Parental, Marital, Educational level and Household status options live here. But there are few options actually live, so this is something we expect to see develop in the future.

The second and third options are the most useful so far.

What they are actively researching or planning

These are Intent based groups of customers, each subdivided into common areas in interest.



















This is available for Display and basic text Search campaigns. These contain users that Google has determined have an actual intent, such as purchase related web activity, and matches those to groups. For example, in the above list we can select Apparel, and then select shoes. If we are marketing shoes you would add this to your Search campaign, and bid this audience segment up. Experiment with the best bid modifier, say 30% or 50% etc.

How they have interacted with your business.

This is the option where you can use remarketing lists. The two ways to create remarketing lists are to use Analytics audiences which you previously have shared, or to use a Google Ads remarketing tag.

Go ahead and add the audience that appears, either to an ad group or at campaign level. Since you have just created it, it will say it is too small to target. This is normal, it just takes a while to build out.

Similar Audiences. This is another type that looks at your current visitors and cribs together similar people who you can choose to target ads to on Display and Search networks.

Advanced Audience Segmenting

In analytics, create a new Audience, select All Users, and select the membership duration on the right, like so –

audience 540 all users




















Now hover over the big pencil icon in the middle. Voila! We now have a substantial number of options as to how we want to segment down our special lists.

In the example below, you can see Demographic targeting, which is all automatically collected.

audiences demographics














Here we have the option to pick multiple criteria. You can exclude or include only the criteria you want. There are two more advanced options here, Affinity Category, and In Market Segment. In-Market Segment is the same as the In Market options in Google Ads. These target people actively researching a purchase, such as home improvement or cars. Affinity Category is Interests. Google says “Affinity audiences were built for businesses currently running TV ads and want to expand the reach of that campaign with an online presence for an efficient price.” There are over a 130 such affinity groups, ranging from Technology enthusiasts to Pet Lovers.

The Gender and Age options seen above, are automatically collected into Google Ads, and you have the option to exclude or adjust bids on these.

The next interesting option is Traffic Sources. Here we can create an audience that are people who just arrived to your website by a certain channel. Lets say Organic Searches from Google are unusually high converters and we want to push adverts to them on Search or Display (including Youtube) much more than we are. So we select these options like so –

audiences source
















We also see another really interesting option in this pane. Keyword gives us a choice of search words used both by paid and organic searches. For example “buy gucci”. However, our understanding of this is that most organic searches will not be passed into Google for this audience to curate, since it will be the limited range that will be availlable in Google Search Console.

Once you have created an audience, analyse its performance, and if necessary, further refine. All you need to do to increase ad exposure is share these to Google Ads, and in Google Ads, add the audiences to the campaign of your choosing. Select Observation if you want multiple ways to target people, and bid adjustments e.g. +30%, or Targeting if you want to build an ad group that only targets this segment.

In a later post we will look at Custom Affinity Audiences, which are a very powerful tool available on the Display Network.

Using information from Analytics you could choose to build ad groups around your best performing audiences and create unique messages for them.

Audience data in Analytics can also help you with determining who best responds to your content marketing and which gets most conversions from organic search. So this data can help you improve you communications.

If you would like help with your targeting then please do get in touch. We design and manage PPC campaigns, build websites and more. For more on our services, please visit here


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