Google has announced they are going to start sunsetting similar audiences in 2023 as a result of ongoing developments around protecting user privacy, starting the transition to more powerful and durable automated solutions.
When Will ‘Similar Audiences’ End?
Starting in May 2023, new similar audiences will stop being generated, and existing similar audiences will no longer be added to campaigns and ad groups on Google Ads and Display & Video 360.
Starting in August 2023, similar audience segments will be removed from all ad groups and campaigns. Google will not be removing historical reporting data from past campaigns, so you will still be able to access this data.
Why Is This Changing?
Google is moving towards a ‘privacy-first web’, and this is a big step in the right direction. However, Google understands the importance of user targeting for advertisers to effectively market its products and services.
As digital marketing approaches are becoming more restricted, more powerful and durable automated solutions are needed. Privacy is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, so it’s important to help advertisers connect with relevant audiences, whilst meeting people’s expectations for privacy.
How Will This Impact Advertisers?
Similar audiences will be upgraded to automated solutions such as audience expansion, smart bidding, and optimised targeting. Even though similar audience segments will no longer be available later next year, there will be other solutions replacing the need for this feature.
It’s unlikely to have a significant impact on existing campaigns right now, but it’s important for advertisers to understand how to prepare. Google has already stated that these updates should not result in revenue loss and has offered alternative solutions to provide equivalent or better performance.
Although the change doesn’t come into effect until mid-next year, it reinforces the need for advertisers to ensure their campaigns are optimised towards an automation-friendly structure, taking advantage of product developments around Performance Max campaigns, automated bidding strategies and broad match keyword targeting.
How to Prepare for This Change?
Google has offered advertisers a preparation guide based on campaign type to help prepare for this change.
We would recommend that advertisers understand why this change is happening and ensure that they are prepared when Google sunsets similar audiences. As always, adopting automation successfully in Google Ads does not have one set solution, so advertisers should ensure that they are continually experimenting and testing to find the right combination to meet their business KPIs.
If you’re unsure or need assistance with your paid media campaigns, our experienced paid media team at GA Agency who offer 360 digital marketing services can help. You can get in touch with our team for a free consultation.