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Lookalike audiences and already interested audiences on Google Ads.

Sooner or later, marketers and business professionals are faced with the task of getting more conversions at the same price. The solution lies in expanding advertising traffic. And in this case, you should leave it to Google’s capabilities, namely its ability to automate audience selection for campaigns on the Google Display Network.

When launching ads on the Google Display Network, you need to understand that the network covers more than 2 million sites, which include more than 90% of the global network users (according to data published by DMR). An advertising campaign in GDN can be manually targeted to the desired audience, taking into account their interests, planned purchases, along with upcoming and past events. The sample is quite wide and may include people who will go to your site but won’t make any purchases. These kinds of transitions will only reduce the CTR and increase the cost of the conversion.

Thanks to Google’s machine learning, advertisers can add in lookalike audiences to their campaign settings. The system creates these based on the characteristics of users who have completed a target action. The result is more targeted actions, a higher number of conversions, and more profitable advertising overall.

According to data from Google Ads Channel, using lookalike audiences can increase the number of interested viewers for your ad by 80% and can bring in 40% more conversions.

Аудитории в Google Ads

How Google learns about your audience

The analysis of buyers’ actions occurs on the basis of correctly configured goals.

People who have completed a targeted action on your site (going to the cart, making a purchase, ordering a callback, etc.) have certain characteristics and traits in common. They could’ve viewed the same advertisement before, been interested in certain topics (moving, preparing for vacation, etc.), or they may have visited similar sites. After collecting data about the actions of your customers, Google automatically creates a lookalike audience for your ads.

The benefits of machine learning

It’s worth taking advantage of the automation for audience selection, if for no other reason than the fact that Google can do what a marketing team would take weeks to do in an instant:

  • The ability to analyze thousands of users and sites, track millions of actions, and find common attributes among unrelated users.
  • Make changes in real-time. By processing millions of signals, Google responds to changes quickly. If an existing audience changes characteristics, then generation for a lookalike audience will adapt to those changes.
  • Attracting only new users. If a user completes a targeted action, they will be automatically excluded from a lookalike audience list.
Аудитории заинтересованных покупателей и похожие аудитории в Google Ads

While launching an advertising campaign on the Google Display Network, it’s worth remembering that its effectiveness depends on the huge amount of data that underpins Google’s machine learning.

How do you work with lookalike audiences?

Although Google’s capabilities are almost limitless, the effectiveness of a campaign also directly depends on what the advertiser does.

How to work with look-alike audiences:

• First you need to set up goals in Google Ads or Google Analytics. It’s important to remember that targets must be set up in such a way that the system receives enough data. Imagine that purchases on your site are made more often after a call to the manager than when paying online by card. In this case, it makes sense to set the target on the cart button or call request, rather than on the payment data entry form.

• The completed goals are transferred over to the “Audience Manager” in Google Ads. Lookalike audiences are created automatically and you can see the volume of each of them.

• You can add lookalike audiences to an existing GDN campaign or create a separate campaign. For the convenience of analyzing and comparing indicators, we recommend launching a new advertising campaign.

• Since the similar target audience only consists of new users, its volume will decrease over time. Once you’ve exhausted your lookalike audiences, you can take advantage of another opportunity: Automated Targeting.

Automated targeting: conservative and aggressive strategies

When creating a new ad group on the Display Network, you can manually set targeting options or delegate them to the system. In the second option, you are faced with a choice of either conservative or aggressive automation.

Автоматический таргетинг Google Ads

Both types of targeting will lead to an increase in impressions several times over, therefore, in order not to go through the entire advertising budget prematurely, it’s worth it to understand the features of each method.

• Conservative automation. The system adds new placements or spots that are as close as possible to the configured ones. For example, if you’re selling tours to Thailand and you’ve added a relevant keyword to your settings, conservative targeting can include sites about that country, places of interest, visa applications, and more in your placements. By selecting your audience carefully, your current cost per conversion should remain practically unchanged.

• Aggressive Automatization. This is based on data analysis and forecasting and is available if there are at least 15 conversions per month. After receiving data about users who had purchased trips to Thailand from you, Google can expand impressions to people who don’t want to buy a tour yet, but who are interested in Thai cuisine or Buddhism or who watch Muay Thai competitions. This targeting method can significantly increase the number of conversions while increasing raising the cost. The method is particularly effective during seasonal offers, promotions, or a sharp increase in competition. Since the system strives to maximize the ads’ performance, it might raise your bids when it shows ads to potential (as determined by Google) travel buyers. Since any advertising budget is still limited, it’s recommended that you enable the intelligent bidding strategy “Target CPA” or “Target ROAS” in the campaign settings. After seeing a cap for the cost of a conversion, Google will strive to meet that cost.

The sequence of actions of the advertiser also matters. One possible strategy is showcased below. It was implemented in practice by the education company Mindvalley.

Стратегии Google Ads

In the beginning, the cost per click in the campaign was set manually. After the first conversions began to be recorded, the system increased the cost per click for potential customers in order to increase their growth. After 30 days, enough information had been collected to enable the Target CPA and Target ROAS strategies. After another 30 days of data collection and reaching the desired cost per conversion, automatic targeting was set up. A sufficient amount of data on conversions allowed the system to find new audience interactions by using conservative targeting and then switching over to aggressive targeting at no extra cost.

The result for Mindvalley is an increase in lead conversions of up to 484% and a growth in sales of up to 528% while still maintaining the cost per conversion (based on data from Think with Google).

Choosing the targeting option that will be the most successful for your business depends on your advertising goals and the characteristics of the business. However, you can create two ad groups and after a while compare them to see which method is right for you. At the same time, it’s worth remembering that aggressive targeting will take more time to learn about an audience, compare interests with targeted actions, and achieve the optimal conversion price.

A Notice to Advertisers

The number of conversions is affected not only by the settings and strategies chosen but also by the quality of the advertising itself. An ad should be useful to the user, informative, relevant to their interests, and also lead to a high-quality landing page.

A well-formed and well-thought-out combination of Google’s capabilities with the professionalism of an advertiser will make your advertising successful!

If you don’t want to deal with the complications of advertising accounts and settings, consider delegating the work to certified professionals at the internet marketing agency Web-Sci.

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