by Louise


Internet Marketing

Google AdWords: Custom Affinity Audiences

Google are constantly providing innovative opportunities for advertisers to reach new audiences with their brand through display advertising and across the Google Display Network (GDN). The introduction of Affinity audiences in June 2013 allowed advertisers to promote their business using broad TV-like audience categories, such as Car Enthusiasts. Whilst in May, the introduction of in-market audiences allowed advertisers to find consumers who are researching or actively buying products, for example Motor Vehicles.

Now Google have taken this targeting one step further with the introduction of Custom Affinity Audiences.

What are they?

First launched in October 2014, Custom Affinity Audiences allow advertisers to reach the audience they’re looking for by mixing interest segments alongside sites that relate to those interests. Advertisers can build themes of visitors based on the content on those websites, regardless of whether they have actually visited them. For example, if a business wanted to promote their running shoes then they would list interests such as:

  • Marathon
  • Running
  • Triathlon
  • Decathlon

Combined with a list of websites that are relevant to their target audience, for example:


Why should I be interested?

This flexibility gives advertisers the opportunity to define the exact audience they’re looking for within their display campaigns by building individual audience profiles and presenting them with relevant content. Using a sports clothing company as an example, the advertiser could now split out their audiences into segments based on which team they support and advertise relevant products related to that team. For example, if they wanted to promote their Tottenham Hotspur products, they could use an interest/site list like so:

  • Tottenham hotspur
  • White hart lane

Creating similar lists for each team helps create a seamless user journey – presenting potential customers with products they are likely to be interested in, taking them to a page with the full range of related products and ultimately encouraging them to make a purchase.

How do I get started?

You’ll find this within your AdWords account, as follows:

  • Go to the Display tab and click the ‘Interests & remarketing’ button
  • Select the ‘+ Targeting’ option
  • Choose the campaign and ad group you want to work with
  • Beneath targeting select ‘Affinity Audiences’
  • Within this option, you’ll find the ‘+ Custom’ option:

This will then reveal the option to build on your own Custom Affinity Audience and label it as you wish, along with an optional description. From there, advertisers can build their desired audience by using a list of relevant interests and sites that illustrate the ideal audience.

Audience Insights

As you build your Custom Affinity Audience, you’ll gain immediate insights about the audience you’re reaching, broken down by their demographics including age, gender and parental status as well as providing an estimate of how many cookies have been collected that fall under your targeting:

This will then give you the opportunity to tailor your messaging to suit the audience you’re targeting. For instance, if the majority of your audience is male you may want to test promoting male specific products within your ads to achieve a higher click through rate and increase conversion volumes.

What do we think?

Extra segmentation can only be good news for advertisers. It will enable us to gradually expand on our current display activity, whilst still maintaining the account performance. This could be a real game-changer for the world of display! To find out more, visit the Inside AdWords blog site:

Want to know how Custom Affinity Audiences could turn your display campaigns around? Get in touch –


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