Optimized Targeting in Google Ads: Everything Your Firm Needs to Know

Master google ads targeting with key strategies in our sleek, informative guide.

Target people beyond your imagination.

You’ve probably been told that to sell, your central focus should always be around your ideal buyer persona(s). This is true, but this only scratches the surface.

There are plenty of arguments in favor of targeted audience segmentation: it’s cost-effective, focused, and helps tailor your messaging strategy. But, what if we told you there’s a new marketing strategy that can help you reach people beyond your imagination?

It’s called optimized targeting, one of Google’s latest additions. This new concept is still a form of audience segmentation, but it essentially reaches people outside your pre-determined demographics. This may sound counterproductive, but there is a reason why Google rolled out this new update: redirect the people outside your firm’s circle towards you.

Let’s say after a few months, your firm hits a plateau when trying to acquire new clients. There are little to no calls and cases coming in, but you are putting all your marketing efforts towards reaching your desired audience. What can be the possible solution?

You need to find new ways to reach people who are more likely to engage with your firm, and this is a prime example of a situation in which Google’s optimized targeting may well be you ticket to success.

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What is optimized targeting?

Optimized targeting is Google’s latest feature that has been automatically applied to advertisers leveraging demographic/audience targeting on display, discovery, and video campaigns. Its purpose is to find people outside your pre-determined circle and that essentially mirror your current audience.

The beauty behind this new form of advertising is that, although it’s automatically on, you always have the power to turn it on or off at any given moment. In addition, it’s not exclusive to a specific campaign; it considers your account as a whole.

You can also adjust the mode. Either keep the targeting setting automatic or change it to manual.

Automatic mode: Leave it as is. It’s already configured to be on.

Manual mode: It’s possible to change any campaign setting to target by keywords or demographics. You can do so by following these instructions.

Google ads optimized targeting settings guide

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Optimized Targeting vs Audience Expansion.

They both mention target and audience, and they’re Google features, but there are differences between the two:

Audience expansion: Focuses on increasing conversions by expanding your reach to audience segments that look like your existing and manually-selected audience, in addition to the latter audience. For example, a firm that adds reaching the target for “car accidents” expands to “auto injuries” and “vehicle accidents.”

Optimized targeting: Focuses on expanding to users that are most likely to convert, based on conversion-data that is being gathered from your current audience. Your manually-selected audience provides the data-driven foundation for this model and reaches prospects outside your pre-determined audiences. 

Think of the two types of campaigns as being in the same family tree. They are essentially from the same roots, but they are different branches.

Although both terms have grown to different branches, there are some similarities between them:

  1. The purpose is the same: expand your reach.
  2. Google automatically applies both. It doesn’t prioritize one over the other.
  3. They can work together, not against each other.
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How does optimized targeting work? 

We know so far, this type of ad goes beyond manually-selected campaigns. Nevertheless, how does it work? 

  1. As previously mentioned, it’s automatically set and turned on for all your Google campaigns.
  2. Once you have an active campaign, it will start looking for users that match your campaign’s goal(s). The following are the three primary campaign types:
  • Image ads that appear on the sites or apps that your audience visits and uses.
  • Text ads that can show on the Google SERP when someone makes a search query for a service you offer.
  • Video campaigns: Video ads that are typically 6-15 seconds long and that show right before or during a YouTube video.
  1. Google gives you the option to add targeting signals, the criteria the search engine will follow to find people outside your circle.
  • Do you want to reach similar audiences according to their behavior? Then you can choose the audience segment as the target signal. 
  • Do you want to reach more people according to search query similarities? Then you can pick ‘keyword’ as the target signal. 

If you decide you’d like to turn this setting off, you can follow these steps:

  1. Select the campaign you want to launch.
  2. Select the ad group.
  3. Click on Settings.
  4. Click on edit the ad group targeting.
  5. Turn the optimized targeting off.
  6. That’s it. You’re done!

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Does my firm need optimized targeting?

You need to reach people who will engage with your firm, but it all boils down to usability. Is this something your firm’s ads need? If you’re still unsure, follow the checklist below: 

  • Has your firm seen substantial results with audience segmentation alone?
  • Have your campaign efforts been slow at getting you the results you need?
  • Is working with smaller audiences getting you enough quality calls and cases?
  • Do you want to increase your conversion rate without hurting your wallet?
  • Would you like to identify new people who are responsive to your campaigns?

The biggest question is, are you looking for new ways to scale up? We are guessing your answer is “Yes” or, more accurately, “Of course!”

If this is the case, your firm should seize this opportunity.

Working smarter, not harder.

It may happen that a business sometimes hits a wall on growth. But, it’s also possible to grow by taking full advantage of new opportunities coming your way. 

Sometimes this means stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new growth strategies, i.e., adding optimized targeting in your ads.

If you want to experience new ways to reach clients in your area, let’s formulate a campaign strategy that generates more business for your firm