PPC – Reminder – Google’s similar audiences are being removed

PPC - Reminder – Google’s similar audiences are being removed


This is a gentle reminder that on August 1, Google will remove similar audiences (or segments) from all ad groups and campaigns. Please have a look at the full announcement here.

Campaigns using similar audiences will automatically get opted into optimised targeting and audience expansion moving forward.

Marketers who would rather avoid this can go to the audiences tab in the Google Ads settings page and manually turn off the campaigns instead.

It’s important to note that historical similar audiences data from past campaigns will still be accessible despite the transition.

Why we (still) care. When marketers use first-party data (for example, customer lists) to create a similar audience segment, this data can generate a hugely influential performance driver for new customers within Google Ads. By combining similar segments with display ad campaigns, marketers can achieve 41% more conversions, according to Google. So losing this data will be of concern to users

The new automation features set out to help marketers better connect with relevant audiences, measure results and unlock growth even more so than before, resulting in better reach and ROI. But whether they agree with Google remains to be seen.

What has Google said? Google told marketers that its new features encourage an audience strategy anchored in automation, which it claims makes it easier to market at the speed of consumers. A statement posted on the Google Ads Help Center read:

  • “For Discovery, Display and Video action campaigns on Google Ads and Display & Video 360, optimised targeting can help you find new and relevant audiences that are likely to convert without relying on third-party cookies. In fact, advertisers who use optimised targeting on Display & Video 360 can see, on average, a 55% improvement when using first-party audiences.”
  • “For Video reach or consideration campaigns, audience expansion makes it easier to reach more people that matter to your business. By leveraging machine learning, audience expansion helps marketers incrementally grow reach with new relevant audiences. This solution is already available in Google Ads and will be launched for Display & Video 360 in the first half of 2023.”
  • “For Search and Shopping campaigns, advertisers can reach your most valuable customers using the predictive power of Smart Bidding that automatically leverages signals from your first-party data. More than 80% of Google advertisers are already using automated bidding. So even as observable data may become less available, you can trust that automation can help you drive strong results.”
  • “To understand how these automated solutions work towards your marketing objectives, advertisers can use audience-insights – a new feature on the insights page that helps brands learn more about customers’ interests and how they engage with ads – at an aggregated level – so that you can connect with them in more meaningful ways.”

Get the daily newsletter search marketers rely on.


Why now? Google announced in November 2022 that similar audiences would sunset in August following the phasing out of third-party cookies and the ongoing need to increase user privacy. The search engine explained:

  • “The ongoing uncertainty we see today challenges us as an advertising industry to re-evaluate established formulas for success and find more immediate ways to drive business growth. Moreover, as common online marketing approaches evolve and new privacy-preserving alternatives develop, growing your business requires new, more durable strategies.” 
  • “That’s why, starting in 2023, we’ll gradually transition similar audiences to more powerful and durable automated solutions to help you connect with relevant audiences and unlock growth – while meeting people’s expectations for privacy.”
  • “An audience strategy anchored in automation will make it easier for you to market at the speed of consumers. And in an ever-evolving privacy environment, it will bring you one step closer to meeting people’s expectations and multiplying your results.”

Deep dive. Read Google’s Audience Insights guide for more information on how automated solutions help advertisers achieve their marketing objectives. You can also check out our top tips on how to move away from similar audience segments and what action you should be taking next.


New on Search Engine Land

About the author

Nicola Agius

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *