Custom Intent Audiences – a powerful new way to target your audience with Pay-Per-Click ads

February 24th, 2020 by Vidhi Doshy

Launched by Google around mid-2019, and now available once you have upgraded to Google’s new Adwords Dashboard, the Custom Intent Audiences feature makes it possible for you to show your Google display ad to people who have indicated that they are interested in your product/service (rather than displaying to the whole world).

Paid Google Search Ads have always had one big advantage over Google Display Ads: intent. People only see paid search ads when they are actively searching online for a solution to a problem or an answer to a question. If your product or service answers their question or solves their problem (and you have set up your keywords right), they will hopefully see your ads, click and take action (aka ‘convert’).

Display Ads, on the other hand, are primarily used for brand awareness. That’s because, with display ads which are delivered on websites all around the ‘net (as opposed to just on the Google search engine results pages), your target audience isn’t looking for a solution to a problem they are reading someone else’s website. You’re hoping that they’ll notice your ad, realise that they have a need you can help them with, click and convert. To compensate, Display Ads can be configured in many different formats, including images of various sizes, a collection of images and videos. This is all aimed at getting the internet user’s attention.

Custom intent audiences, however, are Google’s attempt to make display ads much more relevant to the searcher. Google has previously attempted this via the use of Google Ad Re-marketing which causes your display ad to “follow you” around – this is possible by Google keeping track of which site you have been to, and presenting the ads related to that site in amongst other websites that allow Google to insert their display ads within their website. You mostly see display ads in websites such as news sites (e.g. www.theage.com.au), and marketplaces (e.g. www.gumtree.com.au, www.ebay.com.au), but you will also see display ads in amongst YouTube videos and mobile apps such as online games.

Instead of throwing ads up in a variety of places and hoping that with enough reach, a few people will respond, custom intent audiences help you put your ads in front of people who are actually looking to buy what you are selling.

Will Custom Intent Audiences Work for Your Organisation?
Ask yourself, what kind of websites will people primarily visit when they are actively looking to buy what I’m selling? While there are a lot of potential answers to that question – including forums, review websites, and other research sites ? an obvious place where people go when they are interested in your product is your competitors’ websites.
We expect targeting using Custom Intent Audience is a winning strategy because it allows you to target visitors who have visited your competitors’ website.

Since most people who are interested in buying what you’re selling are probably checking out the competition too, targeting your competitors’ website addresses is a great way to build a highly targeted custom intent audience. With custom intent audiences, you can create your own audiences based on keywords and URLs related to products and services similar to what you offer. In many ways, this is beneficial for small and large businesses, but especially if you are in a small niche where neither you nor the competition has a lot of website traffic.

We are now using this for our clients and getting great results – greater numbers of ad impressions, delivering more website visitors, and increasing the click-through rate.

A word of caution – custom intent audiences won’t work for everyone. If your offer is significantly worse than your competitor’s, for example. Or if the lead time for your product or service is very short e.g. emergency/instant services required.

If you would like to brainstorm how it can be used for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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