Target Your Ideal Customer Better on the GDN

Google AdWords announced enhanced targeting functionality for the Google Display Network (GDN), and it sounds pretty interesting; they’re calling it “custom affinity audiences.”

If you remember back in 2013, AdWords launched affinity segments for GDN, which was more geared towards brands that are also advertising on television. The broad targeting categories available in affinity segments closely mimicked those in TV advertising – for example, “fashion” or “travel.” It would then work with the GDN to show ads relevant to users based on interest categories and demographics.

However, custom affinity audiences allows all advertisers to get even more targeted with their ads on the GDN. In the AdWords help files, Google explains the difference between this feature and plain old affinity audiences by showing how affinity audiences uses broad categories, versus custom affinity audiences, which is more granular:

For example, rather than reaching Sports Fans, a running shoe company may want to reach Avid Marathon Runners instead. With custom affinity audiences, the shoe company can define this audience by:

  • using free form interests entered as keywords
  • and/or using URLs as a proxy for interest bundles.

Entering URLs establishes a theme that embodies the ideal customer. For example, we could determine is about marathon running, training schedules, marathon nutrition, and other marathon topics, and therefore, reach people who tend to browse content about those themes whether or not they visit the site.

With custom affinity audiences, you can reach people across the GDN “who’ve demonstrated specific interests, regardless of whether your ad correlates with the particular topic of the page they’re currently on,” says Google.

With this announcement also comes enhanced reporting, where advertisers can immediately see a breakdown of how many people they would reach while building the segment. These stats would include age, gender and top interests.

Here’s a snapshot of what that could look like, from the announcement:


So, if you’re not already taking advantage of the Google Display Network, you should definitely start exploring it. And if you’re already on the GDN, consider this new feature to better reach your target market.

In its announcement, Google gives an example of how one company (Electronic Arts) leveraged this new feature. And, if you’re a Group Twenty Seven client, we’re available to help you think of creative ways to use custom affinity audiences, too!