April 8, 2019

How to Create Google Ads Custom Audiences

In this week’s Momentum Monday blog, we will review how to Create Google Ads Custom Audiences for PPC Marketing.

How can you use the information Google is already gathering on people to benefit your business? Creating a custom audience in Google Ad’s Audience Manager will allow you to break down who exactly your ads are targeting.

First, let’s review the Audience Manager. Here is a step-by-step guide to navigating the Audience Manager.
  1. Log in to Google Ads. Select the Google Ads account you want to work with.
  2. Navigate to your Tools. From here, go to Shared Library then Audience Manager.

Audience Manager is where you will find Audience Lists, Audience Insights, and Audience Sources.


google ads platform

Toggling over to Audience Lists is where all saved audiences will store. Here you can have all of you remarketing audiences, website traffic audiences and email lists visible all in one place.

Audience Insights is where you will find all information on your audiences including their gender, location, age, where they clicked from, what device they use, mobile or desktop, and much more.

Finally, Audience Sources is where you will find the source of this audience. The source types range from Google analytics, Google ads, Google tag manager, etc.

Go to Google Ads custom audiences. This tab is where you build audiences in order to target specific people based on their online activity. Once here, you have 2 options – custom affinity and custom intent.


The Affinity option is people with interests aligned to your brand.


The Intent option is what they are actually doing online.

Next, let’s move on to creating Google Ads custom audiences in Audience Manager.


When creating custom audiences, you can target them by interests, URLs, Place or by App. Today, we will be reviewing how to target by URL, Interest, and Intent.


Create a New Custom Audience – Affinity – by URL


affinity audience - custom audience

In this option, you can target audiences by inserting possible URLs that they may be visiting. For this option, you will need to:


  1. Name your audience.
  2. Provide a description of your audience (this will come in handy for when you are scrolling through your audiences later).
  3. Insert the URLs you want to target. For example, if you wanted to reach small business owners, you may use websites like SCORE and the SBA.
  4. Narrow down your audience. Toggle to the right hand side where you can narrow this group by location, language, and campaign type.

Once all of the information is inserted, you will see that Google automatically begins to search through their recorded data to give you the number of people you will be reaching.

This information will also display the top 3 website topics your audience is searching for, and the size of your custom audience.

Once you are satisfied, click save and you’ve got yourself a custom audience!


Create a New Google Ads Custom Audience – Affinity – by Interest

Creating a custom audience by interest is almost the same process as creating a custom audience by URL.

For this process, you will still insert the name of the custom audience and a description of the audience segment. However, instead of researching most visited websites by your desired group, you will research “interests.”

These interests are similar to keywords you would use for SEO and other digital marketing purposes. In this section, you can insert as many keywords you desire based on your audience’s interests in order to narrow down your audience.

Once you are happy with your interest keywords, select your desired search location and language. After you get your audience estimate and make your adjustments, hit save to save your custom audience to your audience manager dashboard.


Create a New Google Ads Custom Audience – by Intent

Again, this process is very similar to the interest process. However, this search will be specific to the intent of the audience.


intent audience custom audience

After inserting the name of your audience, you have the option to select to use Google search terms or Google market keywords. Search terms are based on what people are specifically searching for whereas in-market keywords are specific to your business’ local market.

Once you select which option you’d like to go with, insert your desired keywords. Next, review the generated ideas from Google on the right-hand side to see if there are any you’d like to add to your audience. Then, insert your location and language and review your audience size


Grace Kaye with Brainlabs adds some great additional details in her blog with Marketing Land about GDN Intent Audiences last summer.

Now that your audiences are created, you may be wondering how to use them in an ad campaign.

No worries, we broke it down step by step for you!

Once you are ready to create your ad campaign, go to “campaigns” and select “new campaign.” Here, it will ask you to select your campaign goal


new campaign google ads

Then your campaign type.


google ads custom audiences

Then your campaign subtype. This varies from by campaign type.


campaign subtype - google ads

And, finally, ways you would like to reach your campaign goal.


campaign goal - google ads

After you have filled out the required fields above, you will be able to name your campaign and select your location and language.

Then select how much you want to spend per bid and for your overall campaign budget.

Once your campaign terms are set, it is time to insert your Google Ads custom audiences. To go this…


  1. Go to your audiences
  2. Select your created groups
  3. Customize demographics
  4. Layer any targeting you desire on top of the audience

And just like that – you campaign is created!

Thanks for reading and watching another Momentum Monday digital marketing tutorial. Every week we blog about new or updated digital marketing topics with How-To Videos or Latest Tips & Marketing Trends.

Learn more about Google Ads and take our FREE Digital Advertising Audit here.

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