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Google Marketing Live: Goodbye Custom Intent Audiences

Published: May 21, 2019

Author: Tom Leonard

Okay not really, that may have been clickbait, but the name is changing (again). First we had Search Query Audiences, then Custom Intent Audiences that was really two versions: one for Google-owned and -operated platforms that used search query audiences and one for GDN that was essentially just custom affinity. Now, Google is officially combining Custom Intent with Custom Affinity – to be known from here on out as Custom Audiences.
While the streamlining of the naming is nice, my stomach instantly sank when YouTube’s directory of Product Management, Nicky Rettke, explained the change on stage at GML last Tuesday. For a moment I feared we’d lose the granularity of being able to target just people searching on specific keywords, and we’d be forced to include the less-targeted elements of Custom Affinity as well. Fortunately, as seen on the product demo screenshot below, there is still an option to only target based on search behavior for Google’s owned and operated properties. Essentially this change is nothing but a simplification and an updated name.

Nicky Rettke explaining Custom Audiences at Google Marketing Live

But wait, there’s…
Audience Expansion
Audience Expansion Tool shown at Google Marketing Live

Like we’ve seen on GDN, audience expansion is a slider function to expand our audience targeting from our actual settings in an effort to reach more people Google thinks would be interested in our product or service (think Facebook’s lookalikes). What is arguably the best feature? Google will show reach estimates on this expanded audience. Additionally, reporting will be segmented by the core audience and the expanded audience, allowing you to understand the optimal level of expansion to reach favorable CPA on incremental conversions or lifted users. We look forward to testing this feature and understanding how far we can expand our audiences to find new customers while still reaching our clients’ business objectives. Audience expansion is set to roll out by the end of the year.

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