Remarketing is awesome. It’s a great strategy to use when trying to reach people who are more inclined to convert because they’ve shown interest in your product/service in the past. However, some remarketing lists can be quite limited, and some may say quality over quantity is better, but it ultimately won’t help you grow your following. With that in mind, how can you expand your remarketing lists to include new, but still relevant consumers? Well, you’re in luck because Google’s answer - similar audiences for Search - is no longer in beta and available to all advertisers. You should give it a try!


You might have heard the term “similar audiences” and/or “lookalike audiences” before on the Display Network and even paid social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn. Similar audiences for Search essentially functions the same way. It helps improve your prospecting efficiency by finding new customers who share similar characteristics and interests as existing customers in your remarketing lists. It’s a great feature to utilize if you are looking to boost your campaigns’ reach, but still want to focus on bringing in quality traffic that may lead to future conversions.


Think about it this way: Imagine you work for a successful confectionery company that has managed to build up a large following of customers who are loyal to your brand. These people have purchased your delicious chocolate chip cookies in the past and will continue to buy more in the future. They might continue to purchase cookies in general but are willing to venture into new confectionery territory since they already know and trust your brand. Although you’ve managed to acquire a solid group of these brand loyal customers, you’d really like to gain new customers and grow other parts of the business, in this case, the fudge brownie sector. Assuming digital marketing plays a role in the business, this would be a great opportunity for your company to run a paid search campaign with similar audiences enabled in order to connect with customers that are just out of reach but still show an interest in cookie/fudge brownies.


Okay, enough with the sweet talk! Let’s get to the hard data. Early beta tests showed similar audiences for Search performing nearly as well as Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) and converting at about the same rate. Just as a refresher, RLSAs are audience lists compiled from previous website visitors. With this in mind, the fact that similar audiences for Search campaigns perform comparably well is great news. When looking at the average visitor, similar audiences for Search saw even stronger performance: a 65% higher click-through rate and a 50% higher conversion rate




Additionally, similar audiences for Search has the ability to reach an audience roughly 7 times larger than RLSAs, allowing advertisers to easily scale performance for their campaigns, but still maintain quality leads. Essentially, you get the best of both worlds!

So now that you’ve seen some performance numbers, what things should you consider before setting up a search campaign using similar audiences?


       Run a Test


First, consider running a test and see how similar audiences performs in your account before actually creating an entire campaign based around it. One option is to create an experiment in AdWords and analyze the results after it is complete. You can apply the changes to the original campaign, or even convert the experiment into a brand new campaign.

Another option is to add similar audiences to an existing campaign as a “Bid only” target with a conservative bid adjustment to begin. “Bid only” targeting doesn’t restrict your ads to showing for the targeting you’ve selected. It only increases the likelihood of your ads showing to that specific audience if given the opportunity. If you see that similar audiences are performing well, then you can even consider creating a separate campaign targeting these users with a “Target and Bid” target. In this case, your reach is narrowed as your audience will need to match to both the keywords and the similar audiences target in the campaign. However, a hyper-specific campaign may lead to more qualified leads over time, but the decision depends on your campaign’s overall objective.


      Use ‘Best-Performing Audience’ Lists


The success of your similar audiences list ultimately depends on the quality of your remarketing list. For example, a remarketing list for all website visitors will most likely have a very high reach, but a low conversion rate. In contrast, a remarketing list for past converters will have higher click-through and conversion rates because they are much more involved with the brand. People similar to these individuals - that share certain behaviors, interests, and preferences - will also be more inclined to convert. With this in mind, leverage your top-performing remarketing lists in order to connect with the most relevant audiences possible.

Ultimately, reaching the right audience is crucial for the success of any marketing objective. However, putting together the right targeting to connect with the right audience does not have to take up all of your time and brainpower. If you’re planning on expanding your business to new customers, utilize the resources available to you and expand it the smart way with similar audiences for Search. With a little help from your friends (a.k.a. your loyal customers), you’ll soon start to reach new customers for your business.



About the author

Media Analyst, Tailwind

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