Google Announces Sunset Of Similar Audiences

The ongoing focus on consumer privacy has resulted in another Google Ads update, impacting similar audiences targeting.

This week, Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin confirmed that Google will phase out similar audiences targeting in 2023.

Read on to understand the impact and how to prepare for this change.

No New Similar Audience Segments Available Starting May 2023

If you are currently using similar audiences in your campaigns and ad groups, there won’t be a change to them.

While you can still use existing similar audience segments until August 2023, you can’t add new similar audience segments to campaigns and groups.

Image credit: Support.google.com, November 2022

Similar Audiences To Be Completely Removed In August 2023

The second phase of sunsetting similar audiences will happen in August 2023.

Google will remove any existing similar audience segments from all ad groups and campaigns.

Don’t panic though – advertisers still have access to historical reporting for these segments if needed.

Why The Change?

Google states that this audience change is a result of the following:

This is a change from Google’s original stance back in 2021.

After initially announcing they would not provide an alternative to third-party cookies, assertive feedback from advertisers helped change the landscape.

Google realized the importance of some form of user targeting is needed for advertisers to effectively market products and services.

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Without an alternative, advertisers would have likely moved away from Google, significantly impacting Google’s advertising revenue.

Talking about similar audiences specifically, the change will transition similar audiences to a more automated targeting solution.

Ginny Marvin gave more context to the similar audience transition in this Twitter thread:

With this change, Google offered advertisers a preparation guide based on campaign type:

Search and Regular Shopping Campaigns

How to prepare search and shopping campaigns for similar audience transition.Image credit: Support.google.com, November 2022

Display, Discovery, and Video action campaigns

How to prepare Display and Discovery campaigns for similar audience transition.Image credit: Support.google.com, November 2022.

Video awareness campaigns

How to prepare video awareness campaigns for similar audience transition.Image credit: Support.google.com, November 2022.

How Much Does This Impact Advertisers?

While it may seem like similar audiences are entirely going away, that’s not exactly the case.

Fellow PPCers on Twitter were quick to chime in, asking for more clarity on how (and if) Google will merge similar audiences with other  targeting options:

Discussion around Similar Audience transition in Google Ads on TwitterScreenshot: Twitter.com, November 2022

 

So, while similar audience targeting may not be available as a standalone option, other, more automated targeting and bidding solutions use similar signals, eliminating the need for the similar audience feature.

Marvin confirmed that Smart Bidding already considers these signals:

  • Existing added audience lists
  • Signals from first-party customer match lists to reach existing and new customers.s

Summary

Will this similar audiences transition make a significant impact on existing campaigns?

As of right now, likely not. But it is good for advertisers to understand what’s changing, why, and what alternatives are coming.

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The Google support guide is a great way to understand better each campaign type’s complexities and how to prepare different campaign types for this 2023 transition.


Source: Google

Featured Image: Jirsak/Shutterstock