What Are Custom Intent Audiences?

Feel like your campaigns are limited by Google’s standard, Display Network audiences? See how you can boost your campaigns with Custom Intent Audiences.

AdWords in scrabble tiles

The Google Display Network is great. It can give your business a big boost in brand awareness and help you reach prospects while they’re browsing relevant websites or apps, or even while they’re checking they’re emails! Despite the fantastic benefits brands can reap from the Display Network, the broad audience pools, high impressions and relatively low click through rates have left many marketers longing for a way to narrow down the audience for their Display ads – quality over quantity, right?

That’s where Custom Intent Audiences come in.  At the end of 2017, Custom Intent Audiences were among the new features that Google introduced to Google Ads, in order to help marketers drive conversions and ROI from their campaigns. Similar to both remarketing and in-market audiences, this particular feature allows marketers to reach prospects who are already actively searching for a product or service relevant to their business.

How do Custom Intent Audiences work?

Custom Intent Audiences display ads to your prospects, based on their previous activity and intentions. There are two ways in which Custom Intent Audiences can be created:

Auto-create: Using machine-learning and AI, Google can auto-create Custom Intent Audiences using a combination of data from your current and previous AdWords campaigns; your website and your company’s YouTube channel. These custom audiences will display in the Audience Centre as an auto-created audience and will be exclusive to your AdWords account.

Create your own: Alternatively, Google allows you to build your own audiences using keywords and URLs related to your campaign goal, that is, those that your audience have visited or are likely to be interested in.

Following the creation of your new, highly targeted audiences, you will then be able to create optimised display campaigns, as you would typically, to show your customised audiences.

Boost Your Reach Further with YouTube

Months after Google introduced the new targeting method, it was announced that Custom Intent Audiences for use on YouTube would become exclusively available in the new AdWords interface. To boost the effect of your Custom Intent Audiences even further, it is possible to create AdWords video campaigns that can be shown to specific prospects when they watch videos on YouTube. Again, targeting is based on the relevant Google searches that users have carried out, so as well as benefiting from the boost in brand awareness that YouTube TrueView ads provide, this provides another content medium for you to use to capture the attention of already relevant and qualified prospects.

Creating Your Own Custom Intent Audience

The great thing about AdWords’ new audience feature is that Google can do all the work for you, if you so wish. However, if you want more control and visibility over the targeting for your Custom Intent Audience, we have a number of tips on creating your own:

  • Research, research, research: As with any marketing activity, ensure that you’re well informed of the keywords and sources that will give you the best, most relevant and engaged audience.
  • Pick the right URLs: Don’t be afraid to go as granular and specific as possible – it will benefit your campaign! For example, rather than include a Homepage, include the specific product or service pages. Also, always opt-for public, accessible URLs, never sources that require users to log-in.
  • Include all relevant keywords: Just like your search network ads, be sure to use a range of broad and specialist keywords that different members of your audience may favour.
  • Stick to one theme: The core of Custom Intent Audiences is to narrow down the focus of your Display Ads, so be sure that all of your chosen keywords and URLs have the same thing in common. This makes it far easier and effective for Google to find the ideal users for your campaign.

So, for example – let’s take Generate UK – as a full service, digital marketing agency wanting to advertise our vast array of services, we – or Google – are now able to create an audience of people browsing sites relating specifically to “PPC management services” or “innovative design agency”. Google will calculate both reach and performance estimates for our audience(s) – whether it is auto-created or curated – so that our campaigns can be even more targeted and precise.

Monitor and Optimise

The newly introduced, Custom Intent Audiences mark an interesting shift in Google’s advertising opportunities and set-up on the Display Network. This more granular, audience-centric way of targeting is not dissimilar from the targeting on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Once your campaign is live and has been running for a while, remember the importance of monitoring the results to identify which audiences are getting more conversions, as this will allow you to optimise your campaign even further.

How can Customer Intent Audiences benefit your ads?

The age of the Millennial and the dawn of Generation Z have meant that young prospects are now far more digitally-savvy. Having grown up in an age of constant technological advancement, the average Gen Zer will have seen approximately 200,000 marketing messages before they reach the age of 15, making it ever more important for marketers to cut through the noise.

Along with less patient, more savvy prospects comes higher expectations, Google’s new addition to AdWords targeting on the Display Network can be easily utilised to help you reach your specific audience more effectively – beyond pre-defined categories and later on in the buying cycle.

If you need advice on how to manage AdWords more effectively, take a look at our online advertising services. We can help you utilise Customer Intent Audiences to go beyond pre-defined audiences and catch your customers right as they are planning to make a purchase. For more information on how we can help you get the most from your campaigns, contact us today.