Sunset of Similar Audiences in August 2023 – Ways to Expand Similar Audiences in Google Ads

If you are a Google Ads user, you may already know that Similar Audiences will no longer be available and will be completely removed on the 1st of August. Starting from May onwards, you are not able to create any Similar Audiences segments for Google Ads anymore. In fact, Similar Audiences segments have been highly utilized by advertisers to find audiences with similar characteristics and behaviors to their target audience, enabling them to discover similar potential customers and increase exposure while improving click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rates (CVR).

The reason that led to such changes was the phasing out of third-party cookies to enhance user privacy. However, advertisers can still use other more powerful and automated solutions to replace or cope with this change.

1. Utilize Optimized Targeting and Audience Expansion Features

If you are running Display, Video, and Discovery ad campaigns, you can opt for Google’s recommended Optimized Targeting and Audience Expansion features. They offer similar benefits and work best when combined with first-party data, such as customer match segments. By adopting these methods, it allows Google to reach new users while creating a complementary effect to boost your ad performance!

2. Opt for Smart Bidding

For those advertisers who are currently running only Search and Shopping campaigns, Google recommends choosing smart bidding on the campaigns as the observed data becomes increasingly limited over time. Smart bidding utilizes Google’s AI-powered automated bidding and optimization for conversions and conversion value which helps to improve Google’s Quality Signals. This ensures that even without similar audience segments, you can still reach high-value customers and continuously enhance your ad performance.

3. Opt for Google Analytics 4 (GA4) Website Audiences

With GA4’s privacy and audience tracking features, the IP addresses of all website visitors are automatically anonymized. Hence, it provides advertisers with an advantage under privacy changes and the elimination of third-party cookies. With that, advertisers are encouraged to take this opportunity to migrate all Universal Analytics (UA) website audiences to GA4!

Advertisers are encouraged to adopt the strategies above which may sound common but are often overlooked features in Google Ads. Additionally, the importance of first-party data in your structure should not be underestimated. Hope this sharing can help you maintain or enhance ad performance even after the elimination of Similar Audiences!