Google Ads has a feature called audience segments.

An audience segment can be added to a campaign or ad group either as a targeting segment (only target people in these segments) or as an observation (does not drive targeting but can be used to segment results and see how different segments perform).

Google has many pre-populated audience segments that you can add to a campaign or ad group:

  • Affinity segments: Targeting based on people’s interests and habits.
  • In-market segments: Targeting based on recent purchase intent.
  • Detailed demographic segments: Targeting based on long-term life facts.
  • Life-event segments: Targeting people who are amid important life milestones.

You can also create ‘Your data segments’ based on visitors to your site:

  • Your data segments: Targeting people based on your customer data or people who have visited your website or apps.

Or create custom segments that can populate with people that have browsed websites similar to a list you provide (such as competitor sites), searched for specific terms or used apps similar to a list you provide.

  • Custom segments: Targeting based on your campaign goal, including targeting based on people’s interests, habits and purchase intent.


Or combine segments using logic – such as people in segment A AND B or in segment A NOT B.

Lastly, Google can automatically create lookalike audiences that comprise people that are similar to ‘Your data segments’

  • Similar segments: Targeting based on interests similar to those of your website visitors or existing customers.

To create ‘Your data segments’ go to Tools and settings > Shared Library > Audience Manager

The default landing page is on ‘Your data segments’. Click the + button to create a new segment. Click on the tab ‘Custom segments’ to create a custom audience segment or ‘Combined segments’ to create a combined segment.

Once set up you can add audience segments to campaigns or ad groups (note: you cannot add them to Performance Max campaigns but can use them as an Audience Signals to steer Google on a starting point).


Add audience segments to a campaign via Audience Manager

Go to Tools & settings > Audience manager and select the audience segments you want to add to a campaign(s) > add to… > select the campaigns or ad groups. NOTE – this is for audience targeting only, not observation.


Add audience segments to a campaign via the Campaign

Select the campaign > Audience (on the left hand side menu) > edit audience segments (below chart on the right).

You can add an audience segment to the campaign or select specific ad sets. You can also add as a targeting audience or observation only.


The audiences we think you should track as observation audiences for search ads

  • Existing customers (upload customer match list)
  • Website Visitors (last 180 days) – excluding existing customers (use custom audience segment to achieve this)
  • Website Visits (last 540 days) – excluding existing customers and 180-day visitors
  • Custom segments: visitors to competitor sites and people who have searched for important search terms
  • Everyone else


Performance of audience segments across all campaigns

Audience manager > Your Data Insights

Filter for one of ‘Your Data Segments’ such as All Converters or All Visitors and this report will show the demographic split of that audience plus how they map to In-market segments and Affinity segments.

This can be useful if you are using In-market or Affinity segments as target segments for display campaigns.


How does Google decide what audience type to give conversion credit to?

Attribution credit can only be given to one audience.  The hierarchy is:

  1. Customer match
  2. Remarketing & Similar audiences
  3. Combined audiences
  4. Affinity/In-market
  5. Detailed demographics


>>>Read the next article: Appendix 2: How does Google Ads know there has been a conversion?

>>> Back to main menu


The interactive video below highlights some of the analyses we cover:


Please be really careful making changes to your Google Ads account

  • Google doesn’t always respond how you (or we) think it will. The way we think about Google Ads may not be the best set-up for your account.
  • Only change one thing at a time.
  • If possible, always use an experiment to test a change – particularly for significant changes such as moving bidding strategy to Maximize conversion value (Target ROAS).
  • Protect your financial downside by testing with limited spend in the experiment/change. Note that moving to a smart bidding strategy requires a learning phase where Google may not be efficient.
  • Be careful if adding/removing primary conversion actions – changing what Google is converting to can radically change what and who Google targets and how much it’s willing to spend.
  • Remember, all changes to your account are at your own risk. Mapflo shall not be liable for any damages; losses; lost revenue or lost profit.


Glossary of Terms

AOV = Average Order Value

CM1 = Contribution Margin 1 = revenue minus COGS (cost of goods sold) in an order.

CM2 = Contribution Margin 2 = margin on an order after all costs directly attributable to that order such as COGS, shipping, payment fees, customer service etc. (except for marketing).

CM3 = Contribution Margin 3 = CM2 less marketing spend. An ‘Estimated CM3’ value uses an assumed CM2 %.

CPA = Cost Per Action. In this report taken to mean cost per conversion or cost per order.

Keywords = words or phrases (assigned to an ad group) that match a user’s search term and trigger Google to bid to show an ad.

Lifetime CM3 = CM3 from all orders (or subscription payments) for a customer.

Profit = CM3 less all fixed overheads (such as salaries and office rent). Hence Optimising CM3 also optimises profit at the same cost base

ROAS = ‘Return On Ad Spend’ = conversion value divided by cost. A ROAS of 400% means you get four pounds of revenue back for every pound of ad spend.

Search term = the word or phrase that a user searches for on Google.