Custom Affinity Audiences vs Custom Intent Audiences: T-Time With Tillison

Google Ads is a hugely powerful tool for any business when trying to reach potential customers; however targeting and reaching the right audience isn’t always as straightforward as it may appear. In this edition of T-Time with Tillison, Mark is looking at Custom Affinity Audiences vs Custom Intent Audiences, when you should and shouldn’t use either and also how they compare to In-Market Audiences.

In this T-Time Show:

  • Custom Affinity Audience Definition
  • Custom Intent Audience Definition
  • In-Market Audience Definition
  • Custom Affinity Audiences vs Custom Intent Audiences vs In Market Audience

So what are the differences?

(0:48) Mark begins by defining Custom Affinity Audiences as more like a TV-style audience. They are much broader than Custom Intent Audiences. Custom Affinity will target a larger and wider audience group where as Custom Intent is much more specific.

With both Custom Affinity and Custom Intent you are asking Google to target people through using a list of keywords or URL’s you yourself have chosen.

The significant difference between the two is that with Custom Affinity you are telling Google I want to reach an audience who have searched for keywords like “these” or visiting URLs like “these”. With Custom Intent Audiences you are asking Google to target people who have Specifically searched for these keywords or Specifically visited these URLs.

If you are familiar with remarketing or retargeting from your own business than you will be aware that you can create an entire list of audiences based on people who have previously visited your own website or you can target audiences who have just visited a specific URL. Custom Intent follows a similar principle.

So what’s the key difference between Custom Affinity and Custom intent?

(2:25) In an example Mark likens this process of owning a doughnut making machine business. With Custom Intent Audiences you would be specifically targeting an audience who have visited your competitors website and/or viewed articles around doughnut making machines. With this type of campaign you will be directly focusing on people actively looking into this topic.

With Custom Affinity you would be targeting people who have visited pages like those rather than specifically those, so much broader. With Custom Affinity you will have much less control about which web pages these people have visited. Google won’t inform you of this but it will work it out itself and include those people on this audience list. On the contrary, with Custom Intent you will have more control to tell Google the audience must have visited “x” website, or searched for a certain phrase during their search history.

So how does all of this compare to an “In-Market Audience”?

(3:35) You could argue that an In-Market Audience is Google’s own automatically created Custom Intent Audience. So with this, Mark compares it to someone who is looking to buy furniture. A user may end up within the In-Market Audience for furniture sellers if they are actively searching for furniture for sale. Google will automatically recognise this interest and apply them to this category. Bear in mind that Google will be using their search history and URL’s visited to support and better place them within the right audience group.

It’s important to remember a customer can end up both in this In-Market Audience as well as your Custom Affinity Audience if you were to set up this Affinity Audience with 5 or 6 furniture related URLs or keywords. On top of this it’s also possible that they could end up in your Custom Intent Audience however for this to happen as well they would have had to specifically searched for the keywords and/or URLs you have listed.

(4:52) So to summarise,you will have a bit less control over the In-Market Audience as lists are created by Google itself. Another thing to always bear in mind is that Google may not always have an In-Market Audience specific to what you sell. With Customer Affinity it is much broader and Google will expand your keywords listed to reach this wider audience while Custom Intent Audiences will only target users who have specifically searched your keywords and URL’s listed.

So when should you use each?

The three different categories can be described as being layered in terms of your own control over who it targets as well as the size of the potential audience. Now with this some problems may arise in where you are focusing your campaign.

You will not be able to use the same Custom Intent Audience created for a Display campaign as you would for a YouTube campaign for example. This is because as it stands Google doesn’t allow you to factor in visited URLs when campaigning via YouTube. It will however, do this through the use of “search terms”.

(6:25) While they are both Custom Intent Audiences they will end up differing between Display or YouTube campaign ads. Mark goes on to explain you’d really want to test each of these in order to see which ones work best for you and your particular campaign. It’s also strongly recommended that if you are doing Display campaigns or YouTube campaigns you overlay this targeting; as well as perhaps testing each audience group to see which is performing the best in terms of response and conversion rates.

It’s always advisable to overlay any or all campaigns with topic targeting. We will know that the audience are researching your topic, or In-market, however you really don’t want the ads to appear alongside content that just isn’t even closely related to the market that they are in. An example Mark uses is ensuring that an ad targeted at someone in the market for dining furniture would not best be suited alongside content related to Peppa Pig.

Did you found this week’s T-time with Tillison helpful? You can find more of our blogs here and why not subscribe to our YouTube Channel to never miss out on whats to come.

If you’d like to find out how we can help you with Google Ads why not leave a comment below.

Need more help with boosting sales, revenue and enquiries off the back of your Google Ads campaign? Tillison Consulting is a Google Premier Partner agency, currently managing more than £3 million in online paid advertising. Click below to find out how we can help you optimise your Google Ads.

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