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How to build effective target groups in Google Ads campaigns?

The effectiveness of the campaign depends to a large extent on the proper determination of the target group in Google Ads campaigns. Thanks to well-built target groups, you will reach the right audience with your advertising message, who are interested in your offer and can benefit from it. Let’s check how to define target groups and segment audience in Google Ads.

Target group and audience segmentation – definitions

To understand the principles of audience targeting for Google Ads campaigns, we need to understand basic terms such as target audience and audience segmentation. The target audience is a group of users with specific characteristics that you want to reach with your advertising message. In turn, audience segmentation is the process of dividing all recipients into smaller groups according to specific criteria. The purpose of audience segmentation is to best adjust the advertising message to the needs and expectations of the recipients. Targeting and segmentation of audiences are very important in Google Ads advertising campaigns due to the ability to target your ad to your audience based on specific parameters (e.g. age, gender, devices and browsers they use, etc.).

Google Ads audience targeting – how does it work?

Audience targeting in Google Ads is settings available in Google Ads campaigns that ensure that your ads reach users who show a certain interest, perform certain actions, or have certain characteristics that are persistent. You can use audience targeting for the following ad types and formats:

– advertising in the search network,
– Google Ads on the display network,
– video advertising.

Audience targeting helps you reach users based on:

– demographic data that define them,
– users’ interests,
– user life events,
 – users’ recent purchase intentions,
– interaction with your website (existing customers, people who visited your website but did not convert).

Audience targeting plays a much more important role in Display campaigns than in the Search Network. Without audience targeting, you would be targeting your Display Network message to all users in all locations.

Below, we’ll go over the different types of audience targeting in Google Ads.

Demographic segmentation in Google Ads

The first way to effectively target your ads in Google Ads is through demographic segmentation. Thanks to it, you can reach an audience defined by certain fixed demographic characteristics, such as gender or age. For both Search and Display campaigns, you have several demographic targeting options. These are:

– sex,
– age,
– parental status.,
– household income level,
– geolocation.

For each of the segments, the Google Ads system has made specific choices. These are:

– for gender: woman, man, unknown,
– for the age of: 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65 and more, unknown,
– for parental status: no children, no children, unknown.

Demographic targeting (excluding location targeting) is added at the ad group level. To do this, go to the Audience report, display the table. From the menu under Demographics, click Ad group view. Then, by selecting individual tabs (age, gender, parental status), check the box next to the segments you’d like to add to your ad group. Finally, click on Edit and Enable.

Segmentation of audiences in Google Ads by location

Location-based audience targeting is available at the campaign-specific level. In your Google Ads account, select the Location section from the side menu on the left and then go to the settings of a single campaign. Determining the location consists in:

– city, postal code, district,
– a radius from the address, which is to mark the area to which the advertisements are to be directed on the map.

Audience targeting will work if you have a brick-and-mortar store for children and want to reach people who have children, live in the city, and are able to physically reach your store.

Remember: In Google Ads, geolocation is understood in a specific way. Location targeting means that you target an audience that is permanently or regularly in the location, or has (or has shown in the past) interest in that location.

How do I segment audiences in Google Ads using demographics?

You can use demographic targeting alone or in conjunction with interest targeting. If you organize Nordic walking for children and adults and you want to advertise it on the Internet, target your ad at the audience by:

– choice of parental status: has children,
– adding interests: sports, fitness.

In this way, you will narrow down the audience even better and increase the effectiveness of the campaign.

If you are convinced that you only want to reach your target audience of a certain age or gender, please exclude all other options. For example, in the case of articles for the elderly, it would be worth limiting the group to people aged 65 and over. Additionally, you can send the message to people 35-44, 45-54 and 55-64 who may have elderly parents. It is certainly worth excluding the youngest age group so as not to overwhelm the budget.

Remember that the more you narrow your target audience by demographic data, the smaller your reach will be. Therefore, test different solutions and check their effectiveness. Start with the smallest possible target group, then expand it if there are no results.

Audience segmentation in Google Ads. Interest targeting

By segmenting recipients according to their interests, you can reach people with a specific lifestyle, passions and habits with your advertising message. This ensures that the target audience you want to reach actually has an interest in your service or product as it can enrich their lives. Interest targeting is currently available for the Search Network, Display Network, and video campaigns. The system directs advertising to people based on their internet activity and browsed pages. Examples of interests and habits that you can use to target your audience include:

– finance and banking,
– lovers of cats / dogs, cars, sports, fashion, etc.
– fans of a certain type of music (e.g. hip hop, rap, etc.),
– people who often choose to eat out in the city (breakfast, lunch, dinner),
– people who use taxis.

Customer segmentation in Google Ads. Audience targeting based on life events

Targeting your audience based on life events is one of the often overlooked strategies in Google Ads campaigns. Wrong. With its help, you can reach users who have had an important life change recently or in the near future. This could be, for example, graduating from university, buying real estate or moving house. How can this knowledge be used in practice to reach target audiences?

– If you have a moving company, target audience that has recently bought a property – they may need your services in the near future.
– If you run a website with job advertisements, direct your ads to recipients who have recently graduated or will be graduating in the near term. There is a high probability that they will be looking for their first job.
– If you run a children’s supply store, target women who have recently become pregnant or married.

The Lifetime targeting option applies to events that are rare and partially reduces your ad’s reach. Typically, however, one event has advertising opportunities for different industries. a person who is planning to buy a property will likely be looking for removal services, credit services, apartment furniture, etc.

Life event targeting is available from Display Ads, YouTube Ads, and Gmail Ads. You can set it up in your Google Ads account in the audience section.

Audience segmentation in Google Ads. Targeting your ads by market segments

When targeting audiences by segment, the message goes to users who are looking for information about your products or services and are considering choosing them. Thanks to them, you can encourage those people who are at one of the final stages of the shopping path to convert. Selected segments include the search for:

– engagement rings,
– a wedding suit or wedding dress,
– manicure / pedicure services, etc.
– personalized gifts.

Targeting your ads by custom segments

Custom segments are a way of targeting your audience in:

– advertising network, Discovery ads,
– video advertisements,
– Gmail ads.

In the process of launching them, you specify keywords, URLs, and application names related to your service or product. On this basis, the Google Ads system will display your ads in applications, on websites and in videos to those users who show interest in the keywords. Moreover, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, Google Ads will select the audience in such a way as to best achieve the following goals:

– reception,
– reaching customers considering the purchase,
– effectiveness.

Custom segments can be used to override audience targeting by interest. For example, instead of reaching sports fans, you can define a custom segment by:

– key words, e.g. long distance running, triathlon, Wings for Life etc.
– defining the URLs of sports websites, websites for runners, athletes, etc.,
– identifying applications, such as those that offer training plans for runners.

Audience segmentation in Google Ads remarketing

Google Ads remarketing, both traditional and dynamic, will not do without the use of audience targeting. With its help, you can reach users who have already encountered your service, product or website with your advertising message. Data segments in remarketing include:

– users who used your website or application,
– users who have provided you with information about themselves – on this basis, you can encourage users to visit your website again using the search network, advertising network, Gmail, YouTube and Google Shopping product advertising; the only condition is that the user logs in to the Google account while browsing the internet,
– people who have similar interests to your customers.

Why should I use audience targeting for remarketing? Because:

– you target your ads at the right moment – when users search for your company again in the search engine or use other, competing websites,
– the advertising message is very precise – you can personalize the message depending on the individual situation of the user (who, for example, added a product to the cart, but did not finalize the transaction),
– provides a large reach (over 2 million websites and mobile applications associated in the Google advertising network) on various devices,
– you can apply automatic bidding and reduce the costs of Google Ads campaigns,
– you can create an attractive visual advertisement,
– creating ads is simple and intuitive even for inexperienced advertisers.

How to implement audience retargeting in Google Ads step by step?

1. Make sure your website has the Google Ads tracking code implemented.

2. Set up an audience source (for example, a remarketing list). You can do this in Tools and Settings> Shared Resource> Audience management. Finally, click on the blue plus icon and select an option.

3. Complete the form by specifying the scope of recipients for remarketing. You can create an audience list for all visitors or only for visitors who have viewed certain pages on your site, depending on your campaign and goals.


Audience targeting and customer segmentation in Google Ads is an important step in optimizing a successful campaign and should not be overlooked. With audience targeting, you can make better use of your available budget and reach the people ”who actually increase your chances of conversion.

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