Deactivation of Google Ads similar audience segments (implemented in May 2023)

Target Audience

Google recently informed us that similar audience segments in Google Ads will no longer be supported for inclusion in ads and reports beginning in May 2023. If you’re already using similar audience segments in your ads, you can keep doing so until August 1, 2023. Google will then remove similar audience segments from your ad campaigns. However, we can still view historical data for comparable audience segments.

Google will discontinue the similar audience segments feature in favor of two new features: optimized targeting and audience expansion. If you use similar audience segments in your display ads, discovery ads, and video ads, you can use both optimized targeting and audience expansions to reach more users. If your search and shopping ads target similar audiences, you can use smart bidding to reach more people. You don’t need to make any changes if your Performance Max campaigns use similar audience segmentation features.

Optimized targeting looks at the information on your landing page or ad assets, like keywords, to find audience segments that will help you reach the goals of your campaign. In the image below, after we create a new campaign and choose an audience segment, the option of “optimized targeting” will appear at the bottom, which will be selected by default, but we can remove it if necessary.

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We can turn off the optimized targeting if we think it’s not working right. Go to the ad group level and select Settings, then Edit Ad Group Targeting.

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There is an option to optimize targeting in the settings, which we can turn off.

Audience Expansions: For video campaigns with the “Product and Brand Consideration” or “Brand Awareness and Reach” objectives, audience expansions are available. By allowing audience expansions, we can include more relevant audiences and free up more advertising resources. When we create a new video campaign and target “Product and Brand Consideration” or “Brand Awareness and Reach,” the Audience expansion option appears after we select the audience group, as shown below. We have options from which to choose based on our requirements.

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Why did Google discontinue similar audience segments?

Google plans to upgrade similar audience segments to more robust solutions, such as optimized targeting, audience expansion, and smart bidding, which will use our first-party data signals and optimize directly for our business goals. Google needs to transition to a more sustainable strategy to help us grow our business with the upcoming changes (such as phasing out third-party cookies). The best way to stay ahead of these changes is to use automation to reach relevant audiences and measure results in a privacy-conscious manner.

Click on the links below to learn more about optimized targeting, audience expansion, and smart bidding.

Optimized targeting:

https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/10537509

Audience expansions:

https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/9496986

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