5 mistakes people make when setting up audiences

There has been a shift in online advertising, particularly in PPC, to focus on who your user is in order to target the right audience. Does this mean keywords are redundant? No. But knowing your audience and speaking to them in the right way is equally vital for achieving results.

With this in mind, we’ve outlined the five most common errors that can occur when setting up or using audiences in accounts. So let’s start with the basics.

1. Using the wrong targeting

Arguably the worst and unfortunately the most common mistake is using the wrong target settings. There are two types of settings (as seen below), and the one you choose can pretty much make or break your campaigns.

Audience targeting

If you want to target everyone who searches for your keywords, and upweight or downweight bids depending on the audiences, then ‘bid only’ is the option you need to select.

If you accidentally select ‘target and bid’ ad group, then you will see your traffic from that ad group dramatically reduce as you narrow down your targeting to only that audience.

(Bid only is more commonly used for Search campaigns as you can upweight and downweight bids or specific audiences, rather than only target the set of defined audiences). 

2. Campaign or ad group level? Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA)

RLSAs allow you to customise your search network campaigns to reach people who have previously visited your website. This is set up at either campaign or ad group level, so they cannot be on both. You can then adjust the bids higher for more valuable audiences.

Don’t forgetIf you add a list at the campaign level, a campaign that has the list at the ad group level will be skipped since there’s a conflict. Similarly, if you add a list at the ad group level, the ad group that falls under a campaign that’s using the list will be skipped.

Something to be mindful of: You can start using one of these audience lists once you’ve gathered a minimum of a 1,000 members (or cookies) for search.

The limitations of adding at ad group level:

  • It takes a longer time to accumulate data to make informed bid adjustments.
  • The data is more granular, instead of aggregated to the campaign level – for larger accounts this may restrict insights gained due to the volume of ad groups.
  • You will need to remember to add the RLSA audience(s) to every new ad group that you create.
    • If these are set up at the campaign level, then you won’t need to add audiences to every new ad group in that campaign, and if you have a large Google Ads account this will save time and be more efficient.

3. Time frames overlap

Setting up durations is often also where mistakes can happen, or where people can get a bit carried away.

If you are setting up audiences with different time periods, what you really need to remember is to subtract them from each other, so that an individual only sits in one audience at one time. That way you don’t end up paying more for someone unnecessarily.

4. Choosing the right exclusions

Sometimes it’s not always about who you are targeting but who you are excluding.

For some businesses, they only need to target people once to get the information they require, as repeat purchases do not drive any additional value.

Think about lead generation businesses – once that person has submitted a form, the company now has all the information needed for a follow-up call. If you keep targeting, you are just paying over and over for the same information and inflating your costs.

For other businesses, such as clothing retailers, people who visit the site multiple times are more valuable than those who have never visited.  Frequent purchasers or basket abandoners should have higher bids as they show intent to purchase. You can go even more granular and use separate bids for those who spend over a certain amount.

5. Being too granular in your audience set up

This is probably one of the most important things to get right from the start, and that is not to be too granularly with your audiences, as this can often result in missed opportunities.

There is no need to overcomplicate lists since Google uses machine learning to suggest audiences in Google Ads. Try starting with observations rather than targeting, that way you collect data before optimising for specific segments.

And there you have it, five mistakes to avoid and five solutions to implement. Bearing this in mind, when setting up your adverts make sure all parts of the user journey are covered and ensure your audience reaches the 1,000 user threshold in order to be eligible for Google Ads.

To find out more about our PPC services or about Croud, get in touch.

by Croud
1 May 2019



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