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    What Is Google Custom Intent Audiences? 5 Ways to Use It

    By Kay Swift

    The saying, “you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” is particularly relevant when advertising products to customers online, especially to those who aren’t actually looking for them. No amount of visibility or ad money may guarantee a conversion when there’s a lack of intent to buy.


    This is a significant issue when it comes to boosting digital marketing campaigns. As several ads essentially advertise to the wrong audiences, this problem often results in squandered (or unoptimized) ad money. Google is one of the foremost players in online advertising, with its Google Ads platform (previously AdWords) leading the pack.


    The tech giant knows a thing or two about ads and has the data to prove it. Luckily, Google is always looking to ramp up the efficiency of its ad tools and campaigns by using this valuable information. One of its additions is the Google custom intent audiences feature, which maximizes conversions by leveraging search intent data.


    What’s the Key Functionality of Google Custom Intent Audiences?

    What’s the Key Functionality of Google Custom Intent Audiences?

    Google custom intent audiences are customizable for Google Ads, YouTube, and Google Display Network ads. This function helps advertisers target on-the-market-to-buy audiences. Instead of honing in on the general interests and demographics of users (a shot in the dark), it goes one better.


    Google custom intent audiences adverts target those who’re currently searching online for specific products or services. Adding relevant keywords, competitor URLs, and even competitor apps in Google custom intent audiences helps advertisers to reach the right buyers, not just regular internet users.


    Google custom intent audiences are generally optimized using:

    • Searched-for keywords. The keywords internet users search for online help. When customers enter keywords like “pet gerbil for sale” or “best plumber near me,” it’s likely they’re looking to purchase these goods or services. Advertisers may use keywords such as these in Google Ads custom intent audiences to target such audiences.
    • Browsing activity. The browsing patterns of specific internet users are another indicator of an intent to buy. When internet users visit a competitor’s website, it’s likely they’re researching or buying similar products or services to yours. Advertisers may input competitor URLs in Google custom intent audiences in order to reach competitors’ customers.
    • App downloads. The kind of apps a customer downloads and purchases from may also be revealing and useful. Those who regularly use competitor apps are prime audiences for competitor ads. Advertisers may optimize Google custom intent audiences to target these customers.


    What Value Proposition Does Custom Intent Audiences Offer Advertisers?

    Using Google custom intent audiences to optimize ad campaigns provides plenty of benefits. Not only may advertisers improve their conversion rates, but they may do so without spending more on Google Ads.

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    The main value propositions custom intent audiences offer include:

    • Saving money by not displaying ads to irrelevant audiences without the intent to buy.
    • Advertising to customers who are ready or researching goods and services to buy.
    • Reaching new customers who may not fit the expected audiences set in affinity ads.
    • Competing for customers directly with those selling similar goods and services.
    • Displaying ads to customers who have just searched for similar items on mobile apps and sites.


    What Are Google Custom Intent Audiences Best Practices?

    Google custom intent audiences is an invaluable tool, helping advertisers, businesses, and individuals cut down on ad spend while achieving more profitable ad campaign results. Instead of paying for visibility, custom intent audiences place ads where they’re more likely to convert.


    Yes, the audiences you’re targeting with Google custom intent audiences are more likely to be on the market to buy. However, it’s still advisable to follow a few Google custom intent audiences’ best practices when setting up your campaigns.


    Prioritizing Google Ad Goals

    Businesses advertise for many reasons, not just to sell goods or services. Brand exposure, encouraging walk-ins, or just getting a new product or service visible are some. If you just want to promote, it may not be necessary to use Google custom intent audiences.


    The basic Google Ads affinity audiences feature that targets internet users based on their general interests may provide you with better results. It will ensure more of the general public is exposed to your ads, and if the ad campaign is pay-per-click, it can make it more affordable.


    The Google custom intent audiences function is better suited to increase eCommerce sales, and not so much to get your brand out there. As the ad spend is optimized by only showing ads to audiences searching with the intent to buy, your ad visibility may be less broad.


    Reading Up On Google Custom Intent Audiences

    Google custom intent audiences may be foreign to some Google Ads users who haven’t explored it yet. As with setting up any new type of ad campaign, be sure to read up on how it works. Following instructions and tips will ensure you avoid making common mistakes that may affect the efficacy of your campaign.


    There are many excellent offline and online resources you may use, including:


    Doing Your Keyword Research

    The Google custom intent audiences function helps advertisers target internet users with an intent to buy. However, do you know which of these keywords are the best to add to your unique campaigns? Doing adequate keyword research beforehand is vital to ensure the best ad campaign engagement and results.


    You may use a number of free and paid tools such as Google Keywords (part of your free Google Ads tools), Ahrefs Free Keyword Generator, and the Semrush Keyword Research Tool. Look for top-ranking keywords that are also moderate to low difficulty to ensure maximum exposure.


    Knowing Your Ad Types

    There are various types of digital adverts you may create using Google Ads. Display ads, video ads, product listings, native ads, and social media ads are just some examples. Knowing ad types and which are best for your Google custom intent audiences campaign will ensure its efficacy.


    There are different ad payment structures too, with pay-per-click being a common example. Pay-per-click (PPC) is a popular form of advertising that aims to bring down costs. PPC ads only cost money when someone clicks on your ad or performs a specified action.


    Investing in SEO

    PPC ads are a popular option because of their low cost. However, you may also increase the efficacy of your Google custom intent audiences ads by improving SEO on these and your linked website, product listing, or app. Displaying good-quality ads may lower their cost-per-click (CPC) by improving their Google Ads Quality Score.


    SEO extends to your written Google custom intent audiences ad content, including captions, descriptions, and calls-to-action. Visuals, such as the quality of your ad images and relevance, also matter. The quality of ads as well as their SEO and PPC bid ranges also work together to improve the likelihood of these winning a bid for ad space.


    Knowing Your Ad Bid Ranges

    Selecting the correct PPC bid values for your industry will ensure your ad campaigns reach Google custom intent audiences. Each industry has its own ideal cost-per-click (CPC) values. If you set your ads for less, they may struggle to win bids and get displayed to potential buyers.


    Ideally, you should hire a digital marketing company to help set up advanced campaigns. It may assist you in making the right decisions regarding keywords, URLs, and apps to include, as well as how much to spend on your PPC campaigns. An advertising company may help you set bid ranges and set up effective internet marketing campaigns.


    Knowing Your Competitors

    Knowing Your Competitors

    Since Google Ads’ custom intent audiences function may help you target competitors’ customers in campaigns, you need to know how to identify them. Search online for the top companies in your niche using the keywords you wish to use in your ad campaigns.


    Save each competitor’s URL and find out if it has an app. You may use this information to define your Google Ads custom intent audiences later on. You may also use these competitor URLs and unique page URLs to generate top-ranking keywords through various paid and free keyword generators.


    Optimizing Your Ads

    Ad content, including graphics, photographs, calls-to-action, and descriptions, is a vital component of ads. While it’s important to optimize your ad audiences using Google Ads custom intent audiences to see results, you also need to ensure the content in your adverts is appropriate for the purpose and audience.

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    If you’re trying to sell coffee beans, an ad talking about your coffee shop with a photo of a cappuccino probably isn’t going to cut it. You need to ensure you highlight the product with eye-catching visuals, animations, videos, and the right approach to content marketing.


    Set Up Your Custom Intent Audiences Separately

    You may generally use more than one Google custom intent audiences configuration on an ad campaign. There’s no necessity to put all of your keywords in one basket. Separate and group similar keywords together.


    You may create a singular Google custom intent audiences configuration for each grouping. Then, mix and match these with ads. Separating Google custom intent audiences configurations also allows you to test out and better define what works and doesn’t by using Google Ads insights.


    Familiarizing Yourself With Google Custom Intent Audiences Settings

    The Google Ads custom intent audiences function allows you to customize your audiences to target internet users intending to buy. However, knowing which types of keywords and URLs are best to use in Google Ads custom intent audiences campaigns is important.


    Here are some relevant custom intent audiences keyword and URL examples:

    • Keywords such as “buy coffee beans,” “order groceries online,” and “hire a restaurant website designer.” Adding specific terms like “buy online,” “organic,” or “near me” may also help narrow down your audience.
    • Competitor URLs relevant to your industry, region, and company, like www.coffeebros.com or www.topnotchdezigns.com, are another way to optimize Google custom intent audiences.
    • Adding apps from your main competitors is also ideal.


    How to Set Up Google Custom Intent Audiences

    Setting up Google custom intent audiences for your Google Ad campaigns is easy. Just follow these steps and start advertising to internet users with the intent to buy your goods and services.


    1. Navigate to Google Custom Intent Audiences

    In your Google Ads account, click on “Tools & Settings,” then “Audiences.” Select the “Custom Audiences” tab and choose “custom intent” from the drop-down menu. You may also choose “custom affinity” here if you’d prefer to launch an affinity audience ad campaign.


    2. Name Your Custom Intent Audience

    On the Google Ads new custom intent audiences page, you may set the name of the new audience. You may create and save multiple audiences, which you may use across various ad campaigns going forward. As such, it’s a good idea to name each in order to differentiate them later on.


    3. Choose Your Targeting Option

    Once on the Google Ads new custom intent audiences page, you’ll be presented with a number of settings. One is labeled “Include people based on their:” and allows you to choose who you target. The Google Ads targeting options in the drop-down include “Google search terms” and “In-market keywords.”


    For those advertisers looking to target potential buyers, “in-market keywords” is the best option. In-market keywords or segments target internet users that have been identified as displaying an intent to buy. perhaps by searching keywords or websites selling goods and services.


    4. Enter Your Keywords & URLs

    Now that you’ve set up your new Google custom intent audience, it’s time to fine-tune it. The URLs and keywords you researched prior will come in handy here. Be sure to compile a list of these prior to setting up Google custom intent audiences. You may also use the “Ideas” tab to get more suggestions if you just have one or two URLs and keywords on hand.

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    5. Save Your New Google Custom Intent Audiences Configuration

    5. Save Your New Google Custom Intent Audiences Configuration

    Once you’re done adding keywords and URLs and otherwise setting up your Google custom intent audiences, you may save it. To save your Google custom intent audiences, click “Create” at the bottom of the page. You may now use your new Google custom intent audiences configurations in your ad campaigns or come back and edit it later.



    Using unfamiliar advertising tools may be quite a challenge, especially if you’re not familiar with them. Google custom intent audiences builds on data Google Ads has gained from its platform. While the older “affinity audiences” is great at targeting like-minded individuals broadly, it isn’t the best at converting, mainly because the audiences it targets aren’t necessarily looking to buy.


    Google custom intent audiences helps advertisers effectively narrow down their audience, cut ad spending, and increase conversions by targeting those ready to buy. If you’re unsure where to start with Google custom audiences campaigns, do consult a digital marketing company.

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