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Combined Audiences: How to Find the Best Combination of Audiences to Target

By: Abdi Morrison

Observation audience targeting is a Google Ads strategy that allows you to monitor the performance of certain audiences, without narrowing the reach of your search campaigns. As a rule, every Google Ads account should include observation audiences within their search campaigns, because they will inform you on who is visiting your landing page or website, and who is converting on your products or services. There is another audience tool in Google Ads that you can use, that will allow you to gain even better insights into how your audiences perform. If you want to separate yourself from the competition, then you should consider using combined audiences in your search campaigns.

What Are Combined Audiences?

Combined audiences are a Google feature that allows you to put multiple audiences together into one group and target them as one audience. They allow you to hyper target users based on their habits and interests. Using combined audiences in your search campaigns is what separates seasoned Google Ads managers from those who are not.

You want to find the best combination of audience segments to group together for your combined audience to produce the best results. There are numerous ways for you to do this, but you are not guaranteed to find the best combination of audiences that accurately depicts your customer base. To avoid guessing this by grouping audience segments together at random, you should let your observation audiences tell you which segments to group together.  

Observation Audience Strategy

One way to figure out which combination of audiences will produce the best results for your business is to add as many observation audiences to your search campaign as possible and let them collect data as your campaign runs over time. Google Ads has over 800 audience segments to choose from, so you could hypothetically add them all to your campaign. It would be very cumbersome to add every single audience segment available in Google Ads, so we wouldn’t recommend doing that. But we do recommend having at least 50 observation audiences added to your search campaigns.

Reminder: Observation audiences are only made to inform you on what type of user interacted with your ads + converted. They don’t have any direct impact on the performance of your search campaigns. So, you can add any audience segment to your campaign, even if it’s not directly related to your business. You can put some thought into selecting audiences that are related to your industry initially, but you don’t have to put a ton of effort into choosing what segments you should go after.

Combined Audience Strategy

Once you’ve let your campaign run for at least 4 weeks, you will begin to see some audience segments perform better than others. When you’re setting up a combined audience, it’s best to choose audience segments that receive a disproportionate amount of traffic and conversions compared to the rest. Pick the top 3 to 5 best performing audiences in the campaign and use them to create a separate combined audience.

Click on tools and settings > shared library > audience manager.

Click on segments > combined segments - then create your combined audience. Put your top performing audiences in the first group of segments. Every time you click on “narrow your segment” (see below), that will create another group of segments to add audiences to.

You can add as many branches of segments as you wish, depending on how much you want to narrow down your audience targeting. If you can find a winning combination to target, then you will have a clear picture of who patronizes your business.

You may see some audiences that you didn’t think were directly related to your business perform well. Our agency was managing an account for a tutoring company looking to hire remote tutors, and their main search campaign only had 2 observation audiences in it. We added many more segments to the campaign, so the number of audiences went up to 66. After a few weeks, we saw users in the “family focused” and “book lovers” audiences clicked our ads and converted on our landing pages the most. We set up a combined audience tailored around those 2 individual audience segments. The results of our work are shown in the image below.

Audience data over 19 days

The combined audience we made received almost half of the leads, clicks, and impressions during those 19 days. This is a clear example of how adding many audience segments can allow you to discover things about your users that you would not have known otherwise. 

In Conclusion

Combined audience targeting allows advertisers to add another layer of sophistication to their digital marketing efforts. It’s always better to have as much information about your customer base as possible. The more you know about them, the more effective you can make your advertising, which will lead to better results for your search campaigns.

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