Similar Audiences: Google extends Search Remarketing reach

Search remarketing can produce great results: after all, you’re targeting searchers who already know your website. That’s good, as far as it goes, but what if you want more of those searchers?

What about those people who are searching for similar things? What of the potential new customers who haven’t yet discovered your website?

Drum roll, please…Google has just extended search remarketing reach, with the launch this month of similar audiences for search.


Using machine learning, Google identifies searchers who are currently conducting comparable searches to those people who recently visited your website and are on your remarketing lists.

Google provides an example of how this works:

“Say you’ve created a remarketing list of people who bought running shoes from your sporting goods site. Instead of helping you reach broad groups of people interested in “running,” similar audiences will identify that people on this list tended to search for “triathlon training” and “buy lightweight running shoes” before coming to your site and making a purchase. Based on this, similar audiences will then find other people with similar search behaviour, such as people who searched for ‘buy lightweight running shoes’.”

Citing results for beta advertisers such as John Deere and Fiat Chrysler, Google reports that similar audiences for search produced substantially higher clickthrough and conversion rates in beta testing.

While logic suggests we assume the improvements in performance to be in comparison with visits from other new search visitors, Google and its beta advertisers did not explicitly say as much.

Why should you care?

You want to attract better qualified visitors to your site, of course you do. But what’s the catch?

None really, except that you’ll need to have remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) that include at least 1,000 cookies. And they’ll need to have enough recent participants who exhibited similar search behaviours for Google to create a similar audience.

Okay, how do we get started?

For our clients, we’ll be using this new targeting option where appropriate, learning from our results before customising bid modifiers or targeting similar audiences separately.

We’ll also be refining RLSA audience lists as necessary to improve RLSA and similar audiences for search performance. WordStream reports good results in beta tests from applying remarketing lists to dynamic search ad campaigns (RDSAs), something we’re also keen to test.

Of course, in using similar audiences for search to attract new visitors to client websites, we’ll also be building and improving our remarketing lists.

No, you won’t have people on both your remarketing and similar audiences lists. Google says it automatically updates Similar Audience lists based on member activity, removing people once they have visited your website.

Bonus Points for Retail websites: With this announcement, if you’re running Google Shopping campaigns you can now also use similar audience and Customer Match lists for Shopping.

Have you got your head around everything you could be doing to ensure growth and maximise your digital budget?

How about a Free Digital Strategy  Session? Book Yours Online Here

Click here for more search marketing news.


The latest news about web marketing, SEO, PPC Advertising & Web Analytics. But only the stuff that matters from a New Zealand perspective. Delivered to your inbox each Monday.

If you found this useful, please tell your friends.

About the Author Jeremy Templer

Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in the development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and oversees the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.