Relying on search keywords to bring in all your paid traffic just doesn't cut it anymore. Luckily, Google is making advancements in audience targeting in light of the future changes to third-party cookie data.
The latest advancement as of July 2021 is optimized targeting. This is a branched-off targeting option automatically applied to advertisers leveraging audience or demographic targeting on Display, Discovery, and some video campaigns.
In today’s post, we’re going to unlock the answers to the following questions regarding this new feature:
- What is optimized targeting in Google Ads?
- How does optimized targeting work?
- When should you use optimized targeting?
By the end of this read, you’ll have a better understanding of whether optimized targeting is something you’ll want to leave on or turn off for your Display, Discovery, or video strategy.
What is optimized targeting in Google Ads?
Optimized targeting is a newly announced feature gradually rolling out on accounts that allows advertisers to reach people beyond who’s in their targeted audience. According to the announcement, here are the benefits:
- Simplify your audience targeting and optimization.
- Work across different networks and audience types.
- Find additional opportunities to expand your reach.
Optimized targeting looks at indicators like keywords on your rich media assets or on your landing pages, then finds additional folks you can show to that would help to meet your campaign goals.
With an end goal of helping to increase conversions, this automatically applied branch of targeting could sound like music to advertisers’ ears.
How does optimized targeting work?
Once it rolls out on your account, you’ll see performance metrics show under your Totals in the bottom of your Audiences or Keywords view on your Display, Discovery or video campaigns. What this means is that aside from your audience alone, you’ll be pulling in impressions, clicks and even conversions from people outside of your targeting parameters.
Optimized targeting works by looking for additional conversions through targeting people its algorithm deems most likely to convert based on the signals your setup indicates. This is based on real-time conversion data. For example, it looks at what people who recently converted are now searching for.
Wait, isn’t this the same as audience expansion?
Optimized targeting does sound very similar to audience expansion rolled out in 2019. Yes, both look for additional conversion opportunities, but in different ways:
- Audience expansion finds audience segments that behave similarly to the segments you’ve already selected—basically “lookalikes” of your current audience.
- Optimized targeting finds people outside of your targeted audience whose behavior matches that of the converting users in your current audience (based on real-time data).
So, optimized targeting will be more precise but may not have the same reach controls that audience expansion would have (see the dial below) .
When should you use optimized targeting in Google Ads?
Optimized targeting can be a great tool if you feel like your current targeting methods have been sluggish with results. Here are a few scenarios where leaving on optimized targeting is the right choice for you:
- You haven’t seen positive results with audience expansion alone.
- Your current targeting methods have been slow with results, or you’re working with a small audience.
- You’re looking to scale a Display, video, or Discovery campaign.
- You want to increase your conversion rate without raising your bids or budget.
- You want to acquire new customers, or identify new people who are receptive to your campaign.
If none of those sound like you, then don’t worry! You also have the option of toggling off optimized targeting.
How can I turn off Google Ads optimized targeting?
These steps are not only easy, but a great way to become acquainted with the lesser-known ad group settings section of Google Ads. Check out these simple seven steps to turn off your optimized targeting:
- Select the desired campaign you’d like to change your optimize targeting settings.
- Select the ad group you’d like to adjust the optimized targeting for. (You will have to do this for each individual ad group within a campaign.)
- In the light gray left column once you’re in your selected ad group, click Settings.
- Select the Edit ad group targeting button to be taken to a separate screen.
- Scroll down below Settings to the Optimized targeting section.
- Select the checkbox to turn optimized targeting on or off.
- Click Save!
Is Google Ads optimized targeting right for you?
The beauty of Google Ads optimized targeting feature is you can turn it on or off, and it’s not exclusive to just the campaign or account level. So, if you’re looking for a new way to scale, don’t be afraid to let this apply to one or multiple ad groups. You can always A/B test with this new targeting option and turn it off later if needed.
So, let us know in the comments, are you going to let this new targeting option run on your media campaigns?