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How to use custom intent audiences in your Google Display Network campaigns

Since its introduction on the Google Display Network last November, the intent of customization has revolutionized display advertising.

The personalized intent allows you to expand your business outside the predefined audience categories, identifying new prospects likely to be on the market for your product or service.

With your choice of keywords and URLs, Google creates audiences based on consumer behavior on the Internet, which allows you to target audiences that have shown interest in similar products. Through this close connection with the intention of purchase, custom intent targeting is an excellent conversion factor.

How to begin

To search for custom audiences, go to the view interface of a display campaign, select "Targeting", then "Intent".

Next, you will have to choose whether you use Google keywords and URLs to create an audience, or whether you want Google to use machine learning to determine the characteristics of your ideal audience. This is based on information from running campaigns that you run, finding correlations between public interests to create new segments. (NB: Automated Customized Intent is only available in English at the moment.)

We do not use automated custom intentions audiences in our agency, but they are a good option for beginners because Google allows you to see the keywords on which they base their audiences automatic, which can be interesting to learn. .

If you choose to use automated custom audiences, select "Custom target audience: automatically created". To create your own, click on "New Custom User" and once you have selected your keywords and URLs, re good to go!

I recommend using at least three to five keywords or URLs; Google suggests a total of 15. You can see an estimate of the impressions generated by this new personalized intent audience.

Good Practices

One of the great things about personalized intentions audiences is that they can be as broad or focused as you want. However, they really shine when they include narrow segments of relevant audiences, so the next step once you have set up and observed your campaign is to improve your level of accuracy.

For each third-party audience, you must also create a custom affinity and a custom audience. Of course, they might need a little more effort to put themselves in place, but we have seen that they behave much better than third – party audiences.

From there, it 'sa constant game of optimization: make a lot of personalized audiences in all your campaigns and keep track of their performance. Unfortunately, you can not edit them directly – you will have to create a new personalized intent audience to improve the last one.

Be creative in your audience

It's important to be creative with the URLs and keywords that you use. Play with different options. Think about what members of your target audience are looking for on the Internet: what they read, what they are looking for, what they are interested in.

The goal is to reach an audience that is looking at products or services similar to yours. You can try a complete set of URLs from your website, all the branded keywords, a handful of generic terms, or mix and match all of these elements.

I highly recommend a competitor-oriented approach, using only competing brand keywords and URLs to define a custom intent audience. For example, for a financial sector client, we have created a personalized intent audience based on people seeking financial services, including those who browse competitor and comparison sites.

It worked very well, so we created a separate custom intent audience for each competitor (the more accurate the ads, the better they are). Compared to third-party audiences and keyword targeting, we tend to see more impressions, higher CTRs, and lower CPAs.

Of course, you will want to continue using other targeting options such as custom affinity and keyword targeting in your campaigns to keep them diverse and performing well. With the ongoing implementation of GDPR, no one is really sure of the future of third-party audiences, so the use of personalized intent is a great way to keep performance on rails.

What's next?

Custom intent provides a granularity in targeting similar to what is available for other channels, such as social networks, that were previously missing on the Google Display Network. There is really a lot of potential here, even if it will take experimentation and optimization to see what works best.

We do not know exactly how Google makes custom intent audiences. Predictive audiences are complex and difficult to refine. However, it seems that Google is really on the right track with targeting options for Display, and we are very excited to see what awaits us for the future.


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. The authors of the staff are listed here.


About the author

Passionate about advertising and data, Grace Kaye has become an online programmatic display specialist where she uses programmatic as a vehicle to provide an excellent user experience while meeting business goals. Grace now leads a team at Brainlabs that offers high-performance display campaigns where accurate audience targeting, data-driven optimization, and high-quality content are at the heart of every strategy. .

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