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Supercharge Search and Shopping with Similar Audiences

By Leland Reed| 3 Min Read | May 19, 2017

When Google released Retargeting Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) in 2014, it took time for marketers to discover just how powerful the tool is. In case you’re not familiar with RLSA, the ads work a lot like site retargeting: targeting users who have already interacted with your site in some manner, only with text ads in search results instead of banner ads on websites.

An average user interacting with your site. (Via Giphy)
An average user interacting with your site. (Via Giphy)

Remarketing Similar Audiences for Search – Finally Available for All!

Three years later, Google has released another game changer with Similar Audiences for Search and Shopping. While not the same as RLSA since you are reaching people similar to audiences you have built who have not been to your site, you manage them the same way.

Similar, but not quite the same. (Image courtesy of The Associated Press)
Similar, but not quite the same. (Image courtesy of The Associated Press)

The similar audiences are added to ad groups as an audience, and you can choose to bid higher on those audiences or change the settings to enable you to only show to users in that audience that are searching for relevant keywords. These options are controlled by the ad group’s flexible reach settings. To bid up on the audience members, while still showing ads to those outside the audience, choose “Bid Only” as your flexible reach. To target only members of the audience, choose “Target and Bid.”

By using these audiences, Google is allowing you to connect with more qualified customers, giving you the opportunity to reach users that you might not have had a chance to reach in the past.

Dynamic Search and Shopping

There are also ways to harness similar audiences in an even more powerful manner: using Dynamic Search and Shopping.

By layering these audiences into Dynamic Search, you are creating what is functionally a Dynamic RLSA campaign, only targeting users who have not been to your site and therefore might not be as familiar with your brand.

Dynamic Search with Similar Audiences - more dynamic than these headlights and taillights.
Dynamic Search with Similar Audiences – more dynamic than these headlights and taillights.

Using these audiences in Google Shopping Campaigns allows you to bid higher on these users, meaning your products are much more likely to be seen by users that have not visited your site, leading to more brand awareness and ultimately more conversions.

Customer Match Changes

Along with similar audiences, Google also announced a global rollout of Customer Match in Shopping campaigns. While Customer Match is not exactly a new feature in AdWords, allowing companies to target their Shopping ads to specific users using email lists is something that could cause your Shopping campaigns to become even more successful.

When speaking specifically about Shopping campaigns, this might be a bigger change than Similar Audiences, mainly because you can target specific people that you know have purchased one of your products in the past, which could lead to repeat purchases.

With the simple setup, there is no reason you should not introduce Similar Audiences into your Search and Shopping campaigns, along with Customer Match into your Shopping campaigns. How are you planning on using these two new tools?

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