YouTube Custom Segments & Audience Building Best Practices

In this blog we will look at the different ways you can build custom segments. If you are new to YouTube advertising, don’t worry, as YouTube Ads are managed through the Google Ads platform and you can use the same Google Ads tools and assets to help structure your YouTube Ad campaign.

What Are Custom Segments On Google Ads?

Custom segments allow you to select the right audience for your campaign based on your campaign goals and bidding strategy. By interpreting all of those signals, the system will select an audience that is focused on one of the following:

•  Reach

•  Consideration

•  Performance

Custom Segments are powered by adding keywords, URLs, and apps that relate to your product or service, these are used for Display, Discovery, Gmail, and Video campaigns. 

What Other Audiences Are Available In Google Ads?

Affinity – Affinity segments allow you to reach customers based on their lifestyles, passions, and habits. People in affinity segments demonstrate a passion for a given topic, making it easy to reach their target market.

In-Market – In-market segments are designed for advertisers looking to get conversions from likely buyers. These segments reach consumers near the final stages of a purchase. Find customers in this segment who are actively considering buying your service or product, meaning they’re researching products.

Demographics – The term demographics refers to age, gender, and parental status, but detailed demographic segments include broad segments of the population that share common characteristics. For example, detailed demographic segments include university students, homeowners, and new parents.

You can find more information about YouTube audiences here: 

Find Your Target Audience On YouTube

Knowing who your target audience is is crucial to every marketing plan and strategy you implement.

There are many methods you can use to find the right audience for you. Some built right into Google Ads; this is Keyword research. This allows you to put in search terms related to what you are looking to target and you can see related searches and the volume of people using that term. Alongside this, you can create custom segments where you can target people who have visited particular websites or certain videos within a certain amount of days of being viewed.

Exclusions For Your YouTube Advertising

Never be scared to exclude people from your ad, but you need to be considerate of who or what you are excluding. When advertising on YouTube, you’d think showing your ad to the biggest range of people possible is the best way to accomplish your marketing goals when in actual fact, exclusions may be more beneficial to your campaign. 

Who or what to exclude?

You can exclude audiences, demographics and even your own custom segments which is very useful.

A good segment to exclude is people who have already viewed your ad, this ensures your ad is shown to new users, for example. This is ideal if you are running side by side campaigns (as it is common to run an in-stream and discovery ad alongside each other). You can then use the same audience for each ad and then implement the exclusion on the discovery ad to ensure even more potential customers can see your ad.

Excluding specific channels can also help as some channels slip through YouTube’s algorithm, such as children’s channels, these placements can be a source of wasted traffic, so it is always advisable to check in on your campaigns to ensure your ads are being shown to the right audience and exclude any irrelevant placements.

Adding Topics To Your Audience

It is likely that your customers are interested in certain topics just as your business caters to certain customers. You target your ads based on different topics of web pages, apps, and videos, whether they are agriculture-related, music-related, for example.

Your ads should appear on a wide range of videos related to certain topics.

As an example, if you sell clothing and know that your customers also like music and games, you can advertise on a large number of websites by selecting the Music and Games subtopic to show your ads on pages about this subject.

A single ad group can use both placement and topic targeting. If you choose ‘Specific reach’ as your campaign network setting, your ad will appear only on placement pages relevant to the topic you’ve chosen.

The Importance of Retargeting

The Google Ads platform also provides audiences with retargeting options. Using search, display, or even YouTube video ads, you can retarget people to revisit your website. 

The easiest and most efficient way to do this is using your Audience Manager in Google Analytics, and then importing that into Google Ads. The steps to do this can be found on another blog we uploaded recently here: 

Adding Dynamic Lineups To A Video Campaign

With dynamic lineups, you can find the right mix of content for your audience and brand sentiment based on advanced contextual targeting. You can select lineups in Google Ads that align to moments, topics, relevance, or popularity. Dynamic lineups can include seasonal events, travel, sports, media and entertainment, beauty and fashion, and video games. Dynamic lineups are built based on country-specific content to increase local relevance. 

Dynamic lineups are packaged to help you achieve broad relevance. Dynamic lineups are pre-built segments that help you reach your audience using the most relevant content.


Overall it is tricky to build the perfect audience and it will take time to get it right. You may need to experiment with different types of audiences mixed with what type of content and ad campaign you decide to use. But ultimately, through testing, you can find the winning formula for your business. 

If you would like any assistance or have any questions please do get in touch with our team and we’d more than happy to help you.

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