#Digital Marketing

Google Custom Audiences: A Tool to Target More Specific Audiences

What is this about?

Google’s “Personalized audiences” is a tool that helps aim marketing campaigns to a specific audience. It’s been available in Google for Display net and YouTube since the end of 2014 and helps brands maximize their budgets by attracting only the most relevant and interested users. Most of the audiences predefined by Google are very broad, therefore, if a brand is looking to advertise a specific product, service or targeted brand, building a personalized audience is the best option.

How it works

We can get access to the tool from the AdWords platform, following these steps:

1. Click the “add segmentation” button.

2. Select the option “Interests and remarketing.”

3. Select the “personalized audiences” category to create your audience. This option allows us to combine interests of our choice by specifying keywords and web sites where we can find our target.

The idea is to describe the audience we want in a very specific and highly detailed way, so that Google can create an audience of the most closely related users.

For example, if we wanted to target marathon runners, we could select a Google predefined interest such as “Running enthusiast.”  A segment of this predefined audience may not be interested specifically in running a marathon, but they could be interested in running in the wider sense. In this case, we could use personalized audiences to define a more specific target group by including the terms “marathon,” “running shoes,” marathon events,” “race runners,” and specific URLs like trimax.com and runnersclub.com, along with other subjects that may be in line with their interest. 


During 2016, we used this tool with different campaigns aiming at specific audiences that were hard to reach by traditional segmentation.

In the first case, our meta audience was skaters. The segment was defined through keywords like clothing brands they usually wear and skating specific terms, as well as skating brand website URLs, sport personalities, web forums about skating, and Facebook FanPages related to skating.

In the second case, we needed to reach out to CrossFitters, a growing audience that has just became relevant in Argentina but doesn’t have any predefined orientation by Google. We used keywords related to CrossFit workout terms like “squat clean,” and equipment like the “lifting belt.” We also added brands like “Fenix” and “Taurus,” as well as URLs of the different “boxes” where this sport and some CrossFit competitions take place.

In the third case, we applied the tool to target a specific shoe audience that is interested in urban life, street art, rap and hip-hop music. For this we selected URLs of different street artist and graffiti websites, rap personality and breakdance websites, as well as clothing brands and musicians related to this lifestyle.


The cost for this type of audience interaction is usually higher than other targeting strategies because when the audience is more specifically defined, there are more limited ways to reach the user, and that, in turn, drives costs higher.

The percentages of interactions over the impressions are usually higher, however, our ads turn out to be more relevant which makes the quality level rise and, in turn, improves the ads’ positioning.

We can add that according to Google’s studies, campaigns with this type of audience targeting can increase interest in the brand by 366% and brand awareness by 42%.


It can be effective to include your own brand and product, as well as the competition brands and similar products.

Bear in mind that personalized audiences allow us to reach the users in real time, wherever they are.  It is important to closely relate the brand or product we want to advertise to the forums and websites where we can find our interested public.

The final goal is to reach this targeted audience, so we should focus on their interests and the content they see online, to not only reach them on the sites we can predict but also wherever they are present.

Finally, we recommend selecting specific pages from the sites, rather than just the homepage where the content tends to be more general. Likewise, choose websites with more text than images, because you will have more data to use.