Affinity Audiences are built around interests and habits determined by browsing behavior. Advertisers can select broad interest categories like “Food & Dining” and “Media & Entertainment” and drill down even further towards, “Coffee Shop Regulars” and “Horror Movie Fains”. There’s also Custom Affinity that allows you to create your own Affinity Audience, specifically tailored by interest keywords, URLs, and apps that you input. More details here.

When would targeting affinity categories be useful?

1) For Upper-Funnel Awareness Campaigns

Tap into affinity audiences for upper-funnel awareness campaigns. Since affinity audiences are based on a holistic picture of a consumer’s lifestyle, passion, and habits this is a great way to fill your cookie pools and build awareness towards your brand or products.

For example, if you work for a meal delivery company and you’re interested in testing some broader keywords like “healthy recipes” you could layer the affinity audience “Cooking Enthusiasts” (audience setting: Targeting) to help increase your brand awareness and target a more relevant audience.

affinity audiences for search

2) For Competitive Industries

Affinity audiences are beneficial if you’re in a competitive industry, would like to be conservative on spend, and only show ads to the most relevant audience. CPCs can be fairly high, especially in competitive industries, i.e. the fashion industry. This could be a good option if you only want to show ads to your most relevant audience. However, this does limit Google’s ability to optimize and gather data especially if you’re using automated bidding.

Imagine you work for an eco-friendly clothing brand, but you want to stay conservative and only show ads to people who are passionate about the environment. You can target “Green Living Enthusiasts” (audience setting: Targeting) and your ads would only be shown to this affinity audience.

affinity audiences for search green living enthusiasts

3) Just test it!

You can try out affinity audiences simply to see how they perform in your campaigns and gather additional consumer data (audience setting: Observation). The Observation audience will allow you to look at data for that affinity audience while still showing ads for other audiences in that campaign. This is helpful data to learn more about your target audience, what else they’re interested in, and these findings could be used for upper funnel initiatives as well!


Affinity audiences are available for Search, Display, Video, and Gmail campaigns. They can be used as Targeting or Observation, like all other audiences in Google Ads.

1) Targeting

Targeting narrows the reach of your campaign to only target the specific audiences selected. You’re basically telling Google to only show your ads to users in that audience. That being said, if someone who is in your target audience searches a query that matches your keywords, your ad will be eligible to show in that auction. But, if a user who is not in your targeted audience searches a query that matches your keywords, your ad won’t be eligible to show in that auction and they won’t see your ad.

2) Observation

Observation, on the other hand, is the most common targeting setting. You’ll get additional insights without narrowing the reach of your campaign. Your ads will be eligible to show to any users whose query matches your keywords.

Audience Insights

If you’re not sure where to start, you can check out the audience insights section for recommendations curated by Google. You’ll see extra data around index and audience size for the most relevant Affinity Audiences based on your account.

Index provides more insights compared to the general population and the likelihood of consumers in that Affinity Audience.

Looking at the audience insights below, Google recommends the most relevant audiences to add into the account. These can be added as audience settings: Observation into all search campaigns for additional insights or used for specific targeting like I mentioned earlier.

audience insights for affinity audiences

Keep in mind that you’re not limited to a certain number of affinity audiences. The more audiences you have in your campaigns, the more data you have to understand your target audience even further! Contact us if you’re interested in learning more.