When you think of Google Ads
you probably think of classic search campaigns with keyword targeting. However, with target group segments, the search engine giant offers another way to target ads and determine which people should see your ads. In this article you will learn what exactly is behind the target group segments in Google Ads, how you can use them and what things you should pay attention to.

What are audience segments in Google Ads?

An audience segment in Google Ads groups users together based on certain characteristics, such as common interests or demographic characteristics. The categorization is based on user behavior on websites and in apps. Audience segments can be used in all types of campaigns and provide another way to target audiences in addition to keyword targeting, especially for search and Google Shopping ads. You can either use predefined target group segments from Google or integrate data you have collected yourself.

A distinction is also made between targeting ads to audience segments and monitoring audiences. With the “targeting” setting, ads are only played out to people who are part of the selected target group segment. This limits the reach of the ads. The “Observation” setting, on the other hand, does not affect the reach of your ads, as the focus here is on collecting data. You give Google information about which users are interesting for you and from whom you would like to receive more data. This data later forms the basis for optimizing the target groups.

Zielgruppen 1

Why should you use audience segments in Google Ads?

There are several reasons why you should use audience segments in your Google Ads campaigns. First, segments give you deeper insight into your data and help you identify new audiences. You can also identify which users convert particularly well and what they have in common. These valuable insights can in turn be used to optimize your ads.

The use of target group segments can also have a positive impact on performance. By targeting specific users, ad relevance is higher, which increases the likelihood of your ad being clicked. At the same time, the relevance and quality of the traffic increases, so that the conversion rate and ROAS can also improve. Target group segments enable an overall increase in the performance of your campaigns.


Here you can see at a glance the different conversion values and rates in the various demographic target groups

What are the types of audience segments in Google Ads?

Depending on the campaign type, there are seven target group options available in Google Ads:

Target groups with common interests: Ads are served to users with specific interests and habits. Google offers a wide range of interest areas.

Detailed demographics: Ads can be displayed based on age
and the gender or household income of the users.

Life events: Target group segments make it possible to address users who are close to an important life event such as buying a house or an upcoming wedding.

Ready-to-buy target groups: With this option, ads can be targeted to people who are classified by Google as ready to buy based on their search and usage behavior. These segments are also provided predefined by Google.

Custom segments: If none of the pre-built audience options are suitable, you can create your own audiences based on self-defined interests, purchase intentions, search terms used, websites visited or apps used.

Self-collected data: This segment option is often referred to as remarketing audiences. Here you can provide Google with user data that you have collected yourself and, for example, retarget website visitors or existing customers. Of course, all applicable data protection guidelines must be observed.

Combined segments: This option allows you to combine target groups to make them even more specific or to exclude certain characteristics from a target group segment.

Combine target group segments with other targeting options

As you can see, audience segments in Google Ads offer another interesting targeting option. You don’t have to choose between targeting keywords, placements or target groups. Rather, these targeting options can be combined to target users even more specifically.

By combining audience segments and placements, not only can relevant users be reached, but the ads are also placed in an appropriate environment, improving the targeting and relevance of the ads. If placements are too specific, there is also the option of using themes so that ads are served on pages that deal with the corresponding content. For example, a home improvement store can target a display campaign to the ready-to-buy “home improvement” audience segment while selecting appropriate websites, YouTube channels and videos, or apps, or alternatively add the “home improvement and gardening” theme to boost ad performance.

Combining target group segments with keywords is also possible and offers great added value. The predefined segments are often very general, but can be narrowed down significantly by combining them with the right search terms.

For example, if you want to target users who are interested in luxury handbags, you can further refine the general target group segment “handbags” by combining it with search terms such as Chanel, Gucci or Dior. You can do this by creating a custom segment with keywords and combining the target groups with the “AND” function. To find suitable keywords, you can use common SEA tools like Google Keyword Planner or Semrush for inspiration and research.

7 tips on how to achieve the best results and avoid typical mistakes

Tip 1: Clean tracking and continuous testing

As in many areas of online marketing, clean tracking is essential when using audiences in Google Ads and especially in remarketing campaigns. This is the only way to measure results correctly and make informed decisions. In addition, it is important to test continuously.

Tip 2: Always use target groups

Target group segments should always be used in Google Ads at least for observation and later used for bid adjustments.

Tip 3: Precise targeting

The target group segments provided by Google are often quite broad. To use target groups effectively, you should narrow them down as precisely as possible, for example by using combined segments or combining them with other targeting options.

Tip 4: Different strategies for B2B and B2C

A common mistake is to take the same approach to B2B and B2C marketing. What works well in B2C can fail in B2B. In the B2B environment in particular, it is more difficult to create a clear distinction from private consumers. Therefore, it may make more sense to use custom audiences rather than targeting based on interests, for example. However, with target groups ready to buy, there are already special segments for companies, such as enterprise software. It is therefore always important to decide individually.

Tip 5: Adapting the ad text to the target group

Another mistake is to adjust the target groups but leave the ad text unchanged. It is important to adjust both the target groups and the text of the ads. Based on the insights from the target groups, you should design the ad text accordingly.

Tip 6: Exclude target group segments

In addition to targeting well-performing audiences, it is equally important to exclude inappropriate segments. If you do not want to exclude a target group completely, you can also work with negative bid adjustments by reducing your bid for the corresponding segment.

Tip 7: Follow privacy policies

It should go without saying, but unfortunately it’s often overlooked: If you use self-collected data, it’s critical that you comply with applicable privacy policies.


With audience segments, Google Ads offers an exciting targeting option alongside keywords, allowing you to gather more data and information about the users who interact with your ads. Audience segments can be integrated into your Google Ads strategy in a number of ways.

It is therefore worthwhile to use target groups at least for observation in order to optimize your campaigns and increase performance. Take advantage of the variety of targeting options available, combine them with other targeting options, and customize your ads accordingly. With a data-driven approach, you can target your audiences more effectively and achieve better results.

Über den Autor

Geschäftsführer & COO at | +49 89 54195608 | philip.thomisch@unitedads.de | + posts

Philip ist Geschäftsführer und COO bei UnitedAds. Er ist Google Ads-Spezialist und Ansprechpartner für Lead Generation & International SEA

How online stores save CPC on Google Shopping s

Recent Posts