As part of its mass release of new features late last year, Google rolled out a new targeting tool for its Display Network advertisers – Google Custom Intent Audiences. The tool lets you build audiences who, more than likely, intend to buy the products and services you offer sometime in the foreseeable future.

What are Custom Intent Audiences?

google custom intent audiences

Here’s how Google explains it:

“Custom intent audiences help you define and reach the ideal audience for your business. Built with performance advertisers in mind, custom intent audiences allow you to go beyond pre-defined audience categories and reach people as they’re making a purchase decision.”

There are two options for creating these custom intent audiences:

  • The DIY, build-your-own method and the automated, or
  • The machine learning method

 
Both can be effective in certain situations, and both can help you hone in on a more robust potential audience for your ads.

The best one for you likely depends on your skill and comfort level within AdWords, as well as your familiarity with your target audience and marketplace.

Types of Custom Intent Audiences

If you’re on the experienced end of Google advertising, you’ll likely want to create your own custom intent audiences. These allow you to build your audience from scratch, using a mix of carefully chosen keywords and URLs related to your campaign goal.

You’ll just need to name your audience, enter your keywords and related URLs and hit create. Once that’s done, you’ll see a tally of your audience’s potential reach and impressions and can start using your audience group right away.

Automated custom intent audiences are generated from your existing audiences and keywords (on AdWords, YouTube and your website), as well as through Google’s machine learning tools that predict what your potential prospects likely look like.

When you go in to specify your audience for a campaign, these automated options should already be there, named by interest or subject matter. You can simply hover over each group to see a description of what type of prospects, URLs and keywords are contained within.

Pro-Tip: Automated custom intent audiences are great for newbie and amateur account managers who might not be super savvy about targeting their campaigns just yet. They’re also good if you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time or resources to devote to a more hands-on approach or if you’re running a ton of campaigns at the same time.

Whatever the impetus, auto-generated audiences can still deliver just as good an ROI as DIY-ed ones can – you just have to know which audience groups to use and when to use them.

Making the Most of Custom Intent Audiences

If you’re DIYing your custom intent audiences, Google says your best bet is to do a little market research first.

Find the URLs, keywords, apps and YouTube content that’s actively getting attention right now, from the consumers you’re seeking to reach, and use those to build your audience.

Here are a few other tips if you’re going the create-your-own route:

  • Keep to a common theme when adding URLs. Choose URLs that are clearly connected by a similar topic, product or service. You want Google to be able to recognize a common thread throughout each URL’s audience, so it can correctly hone in on the ideal users for your campaigns.
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  • Don’t add an URLs that require a sign-in or account. These won’t work and can muddle Google’s insights. Stick to standard, publicly accessible URLs, and drill down as much as possible. The more related to your goal, the better. (Meaning use a product-level page, not a home page or category page!)
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  • Use keywords related to your products and services, too. Make sure to add in terms that relate directly to the product or service you’re trying to sell. Include alternative terms that less knowledgeable audience members may be using too, and use Google’s Keyword Planner if you’re not sure which ones to use.
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The best thing about custom intent audiences is that they’re accessible to everyone. No matter your experience or comfort level within AdWords, you can utilize Google’s new audience tool to augment your campaigns and improve your results.

Like with any new advertising mechanism, you’ll just want to  be sure and watch your analytics reports, so you can tweak your campaigns as you learn what works and doesn’t work with your target audience.

To learn more about custom intent audiences, email tara@cpcstrategy.com.

About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.