Advanced Audience Targeting for Google Display Ads

Updated June 2023 due to Google update

In an ever-evolving digital world, it is important to research various marketing strategies. Gaining an understanding of new methods, or innovations to current campaigns can only be a benefit. Our focus is aimed more towards Google Ads, where we find it easy and efficient to run a plethora of campaigns for clients.

As consumers’ awareness of adverts increases with more and more people having access to devices, finding the most optimum solution to targeting these users becomes critical. Businesses have long relied on simple search ads to gain their attention, with other methods being left a long way behind. We don’t see it this way anymore. This is due to the rise in the performance of Display Ads, especially through the Google Ads platform.

With this being the case, it is imperative that when you create a display ads campaign, targeting is at the top of your checklist. As is the case with basically any other marketing, an in-depth analysis of your targeting choices is going to ensure your ads reach the right audience. Something that we consider heavily under-utilised, is the addition of various audience lists, and the power of clear-cut audience targeting.

Your Complete Guide to Google Display Ads


By far the most common audience list used by many is a remarketing list. This is when you target users who have previously visited your site, and/or interacted with your business. Whether it is someone who bought from your site multiple times, a one-off purchase, filling in an email subscriber form, or just browsing through a few pages. They will be eligible for addition to your audience list, assuming they have cookies enabled for your site so that they can be anonymously tracked.

Including a remarketing list into your display ads campaign is absolutely invaluable, as you know that these users are keen on your business and what you offer. When you consider all of the factors that draw people into clicking on an advert, having control over the key decisions is going to be vital in driving traffic to your website and hopefully leading to leads and sales.

Top tip! “Keep in mind that your website must have 100 or more active visitors within the last 30 days so that a remarketing list can be utilised”

Affinity and In-Market

If you are a small or new business with low site traffic, you might not be able to fill a remarketing list. Affinity and in-market lists will be perfect for you, and even for larger businesses who want to broaden their horizons and reach more users.

An affinity list targets users who share an interest in the keywords and adverts that you are looking for. An example of this would be for someone who is getting into a new sport like golf and has been looking at the leaderboards of tournaments. They might have not played before but they are more likely to buy clubs and other accessories as they are actively searching golf-related websites. These lists are very beneficial for companies that may have a larger range of products available, as they will need a more generalised reach.

In-market lists are focused more on users who are actively researching products to purchase similar to those that you have. These lists are especially useful for sales-based campaigns over any others, as you want to make sure that there is a clear “Call To Action” to get to your website to make a purchase.

A highly useful tool for so many campaigns, in-market ensures your target audience is specific, whilst being relevant to your offerings. It can work especially well as it can help to build a high-quality remarketing list that can be used for alternate campaigns.

Similar Audiences

Similar audiences will cease to work in August 2023

A great audience list for any campaigns, especially for smaller businesses that might not have the largest marketing budget. It very much feels like a combination of both a remarketing list and an in-market list. These lists help to reach new users that have similar interests to those of your current site visitors and customers.

These lists are very good to combine with others, although they can work perfectly well on their own. Another quality list to target people who you know will be interested in your website and products, we would highly recommend adding at least one of these to your display ads campaigns.

Customer Match

If you are getting a steady stream of sales through your website, the inclusion of a customer match list will help to keep you at the top of their mind, by using your CRM data to place relevant ads on sites they visit. A huge advantage is that it includes both online and offline data, as long as you make sure all of the data you have entered is correct.

Customer Match can also include similar audiences which is a massive boost to get users that you know will be at the top of your priority list.

Detailed Demographics

Detailed Demographics are very much a Ronseal job, if you are familiar with anything in the marketing world. They allow you to reach people based on certain demographic categories such as age, gender, parental status and household income.

A very useful list for companies that may offer products that are a bit more general and aimed at groups that demographics could suit, such as kids clothes, make up and walking sticks.


If you are relatively new to setting up campaigns on google ads, especially that of display ads, you may find yourself a little stuck with setting up audiences. But there is so much potential for growth with the inclusion of just a few of the mentioned lists, that it is almost impossible not to add some of them to your campaigns.

They can help to target such a vast array of users that will all have a relative interest in your business and what if offers, so even if the custom doesn’t appear immediately, you know that the addition of audiences into your display ads campaigns has gotten your name into the minds of these people to revisit later down the line.

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