Earlier this year, Google Ads released a new form of audience called “Combined Audiences” in which advertisers can layer multiple audiences and target users who are members of each. In the past, advertisers have had the ability to apply multiple audiences as an “or” statement – for example, targeting past visitors in a remarketing audiences while also targeting an In-Market audience would result in targeting all users in each audience.

Now, with Google’s new Combined Audiences feature, you can narrow down your targeting to a new level by applying multiple audiences as an “and” statement. You can narrow down the multi-audience targeting approach described earlier to users who are both past visitors and a member of the specified In-Market audience. This feature has several main use cases on Search, Display, YouTube, and more.

Getting Started & Brainstorming Your Audiences

Before jumping in and targeting Combined Audiences across campaigns, it’s useful to understand which audiences correlate most with conversion. Luckily, Google has a valuable feature called “Audience Insights” that can provide context on the relationships among In-Market and Affinity Audiences and converters. Start by visiting the “Audience manager” tab under the Google Ads “Tools” section.

Next, click on “Audience Insights” on the left-side navigation section, and as long as your “All Converters” audience has at least 1,000 members, there will be a list at the bottom of the page for In-Market and Affinity Audiences that have the highest correlation with converters. If the All Converters audience does not have 1,000 members, you can still view insights for the “All Visitors” audience.

In this view, Google provides an “Index” or a multiplier of likelihood that a user in the given In-Market / Affinity Audience is to convert versus an average American. For example, for a particular technology-focused account, you can reach an audience of 15 to 20 million users in the “Business Printing & Document Services” In-Market Audience, which is 21.2x more likely to convert than an average user.

Audience Insights are always interesting. While some audiences are logical, others might be less intuitive, like how “Home Theater Systems” in the screenshot above matches for this B2B advertiser. Still, even these seemingly unrelated audience matches can provide a valuable, data-proven opportunity for targeting.

With this knowledge in hand, you can create Combined Audiences by going to a specific campaign, heading into the “Audience” tab, and clicking the pencil icon to create a new audience.

There are infinite combinations possible at this point. Start out by layering on the high index In-Market and Affinity audiences with remarketing lists. As shown below, layering on an “All Visitors” remarketing audience combined with the “Business Printing & Document Services” In-Market Audience makes a high-indexed In-Market audience even more qualified.

Brainstorm Combined Audiences that will qualify your audience more in order to achieve the greatest results. Along with layering a remarketing pool with an In-Market audience, try layering multiple In-Markets or multiple highly qualified remarketing pools.

Testing Your Hypotheses

After creating the Combined Audiences, the easiest and quickest way to test the efficacy of your creations is to apply them in Observation across all search campaigns. Observation is essentially a data-collection mode in which the scope of a campaign isn’t limited, but rather metrics for an audience can be collected.

Apply the Combined Audiences in a search campaign by heading to the Audiences tab, and then copy paste across all search campaigns. Make sure you’ve selected Observation mode, or else you risk limited the reach of the campaign to the specified audiences.

Targeting & Use Cases

After you’ve gathered sufficient data in Observation mode, you should have a good idea of which Combined Audiences have the strongest correlation to conversion. At this point, there are several ways to deploy your new audiences. Google allows you to target users in Combined Audiences across the Google Display Network, YouTube, Gmail, and even Search. Run a campaign across one or more of these networks that targets users in the top Combined Audiences from your findings. Be sure to frequently check and assess performance, as users in these audiences may convert differently between advertising networks.

For the aforementioned technology-based B2B account, Combined Audiences enabled us to generate leads at a 12% lower CPA than the account average, while driving a nearly four times higher CTR. By segmenting out these more qualified groups of users through Google’s Combined Audiences, we’ve helped our client drive more leads, more efficiently. Contact us to learn more.