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Angela Myrtetus5/24/20235 min read

Say Goodbye to Google Ads Similar Audiences: What You Need to Know

It's time to say goodbye to Similar Audiences. Google is sunsetting Similar Audience Segments in August, and this has created a ripple effect in the eCommerce industry. We'll show you how you can prepare for the change.

What Are Google Ads Similar Audiences?

Similar Audiences (also called Similar Segments) are targeting features that allows advertisers to show ads to people that share common characteristics with users on their remarketing lists. With this change, eCommerce managers may face challenges in reaching new audiences with their online advertising efforts.

This change presents new opportunities for eCommerce businesses to innovate and pivot their strategies by adopting new methods. In this post, we discuss what Google Similar Audience Segments are, how Google's sunsetting of this feature affects eCommerce businesses, and what features and strategies you can use to replace this feature moving forward.



Why is Google getting rid of Similar Audiences? In a word: Privacy.

The move from Google is in line with its policy to enhance privacy measures with potential users. Similar segments produce an audience that is too closely integrated with a business's own data. This has become a concern to users who consider it potentially intrusive and challenging to their privacy rights.

Google also added, as expected, “Automation is a big part of this commitment” and followed that up with recommendations to prepare for these changes being Smart Bidding, Optimized Targeting, Audience Expansion, and the New Customer Acquisition goal.

How to Replace Similar Segments 

The best replacement for Google Similar Segments is the use of first-party data to develop more targeted advertising campaigns. First-party data is essentially data collected from website visitors when they willingly give information while visiting the e-commerce website.

eCommerce managers manually bidding on Similar Segments, or using them for targeting or observation with Smart Bidding, are encouraged to keep their Customer Match segments updated as those will automatically be included as a signal in Smart Bidding models. Whereas marketers targeting a Similar Segment of purchasers should explore the new Customer Acquisition Goal to either bid higher for new customers or exclusively bid for new customers only.

Implement an Omnichannel Strategy

By implementing a true omni-channel strategy, eCommerce businesses can provide a seamless shopping experience for customers, increase customer loyalty and engagement, and ultimately drive sales and revenue growth. With the right technology, data, and customer-centric mindset, any eCommerce business can succeed in today's competitive retail landscape. 

Display, Discovery, and Video action campaigns that were using similar audience segments will be opted into optimized targeting. While Video campaigns with Product and Brand objectives will have audience expansion turned on. In both cases, the equivalent first party audience segments will be added as a signal to optimized targeting and as a targeting criteria for audience 

Look To The Future of PPC and Google Ads

Google's sunsetting of Similar Segments may pose some challenges for eCommerce businesses, but it is also an opportunity for innovation. Website managers must find an alternative to Similar Segments through the use of first-party data and automation to develop more targeted advertising campaigns. 

Use This Change as a Way to Grow Your Strategy

E-commerce managers can use this change as an opportunity to improve their advertising and marketing efforts, as this can help break the monotony of their old targeting strategies. eCommerce businesses can now create more organic, targeted, and user-specific campaigns through first-party data than ever before, using automation for campaign optimizations and insights. 

To sum it up, although Google's playground may have changed, the e-commerce playground is still open for business and brimming with new potential. So let's get creative and pivot our strategies, testing and adopting new methods to effectively engage potential customers, and lead the industry to new horizons.


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Angela Myrtetus

Director of Marketing at BlueSwitch