Google has moved deep into targeting people with advertisements based on a complete picture of their lifestyles, passions and habits through a product it calls affinity audiences. The company has made it available in Search, Display, Video, and Shopping campaigns, as well as Gmail and Display & Video 360.
It is described as another layer of targeting and works by adding an audience segment like “outdoor enthusiast” with generic camping keywords. The additional audience layer allows marketers to reach not only people who search for camping products, but those who are passionate about outdoor activities.
Volkswagen used affinity audiences to achieve a 250% increase in conversion rate when compared with non-audience traffic.
Some categories are off limits, and Google now makes note of these in its posts. For example, advertisers cannot use sensitive interest categories to target ads to users or to promote advertisers’ products or services.
The definition follows three principles in terms of categories that are off limits: personal hardships to avoid exploiting difficulties or struggles of users; identity and belief to avoid ads that reflect a user’s interests rather than more personal interpretations of their fundamental identity; and sexual preferences, because these are private, according to Google’s policy.
The personalized advertising policy principles apply to advertisers using remarketing, affinity audiences, custom affinity audiences, in-market audiences, similar audiences, demographic and location targeting, and Gmail ads.
Google suggests using in-market audiences to reach consumers actively researching or comparing products and services. Toyota used the Black Friday and Christmas segments to focus on shoppers actively looking for their next car. The brand saw a 67% increase in conversion rate and a 34% reduction in cost per conversion. Marketers can find these new audiences in the Ads UI in the coming weeks.