Google to discontinue similar audiences

Posted by Edith MacLeod on 2 Nov, 2022
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Similar audiences will be transitioned to automated solutions in a phased process next year.

Similar audiences.

Image: Pixabay

Google has announced that from May 2023 no new similar audiences segments will be generated. The feature is widely used by advertisers to expand their reach in campaigns.

Google says similar audiences segments will be replaced by more powerful and durable automated solutions which meet people’s expectations for privacy.

“With common online marketing approaches becoming more restricted, growing your business requires new, more durable strategies. The best way to stay ahead of these shifts is through automation, which helps you reach relevant audiences and measure results, in privacy-centric ways.

That’s why we’ll upgrade similar audiences to more powerful, automated solutions, such as optimized targeting, audience expansion, and Smart Bidding, that will help you leverage your first-party data and optimize for your marketing objectives.”

Similar audiences continue to be available for the moment. The transition will follow this timeline:

May 2023 

  • New similar audiences segments will stop being generated.
  • Existing similar audiences segments will no longer be added to campaigns and ad groups on Google Ads and Display & Video 360.
  • Ad groups and campaigns that already have similar audiences segments attached will continue to function as expected.

August 2023

  • Similar audiences segments will be removed from all ad groups and campaigns.
  • Historical reporting data for similar audiences segments from past campaigns remains available.

Prepare for the change

If you have been using similar audiences segments on the following, here’s what Google says you should do:

Display, Discovery, or Video Action campaigns

  • Turn on optimized targeting if you haven’t yet done so, to reach additional relevant and expanded audiences and optimize for your conversion goals.

Awareness and Reach video or Consideration video campaigns

  • Include your first-party data segments in your ad groups, and turn on audience expansion to reach people similar to those in your first-party data.

Search or Shopping campaigns

  • If you are not yet doing so, you should use Smart Billing with your campaigns. If you’re using Smart Bidding already, or running Performance Max campaigns, you don’t need to take any action, since Performance Max campaigns automatically leverage signals from your first-party data.

Google’s help page on changes to audience targeting has more detailed advice about this change and how to prepare for it.

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