Google has been taking steps to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of data privacy while ensuring valuable insights can still be extracted.
In line with this, starting May 2023, Google will sunset Similar Audiences preventing advertisers from adding new audience segments on Google Ads and Display & Video 360. However, any live campaigns with Similar Audiences applied will continue running until August 1st and all historical data will be preserved. After this date, these will be removed from all ad groups and campaigns.
Why are they going away?
In light of the rising concerns on data privacy and the phasing out of 3rd party cookies, the deprecation of Similar Audiences does not come as a surprise.
Similar audiences heavily rely on third-party cookies to populate. As 3rd party cookies become obsolete, these audiences will now be removed and replaced by other more powerful solutions that comply with data protection.
Some of these have already been available for a long time, such as Smart Bidding and Optimised Targeting settings.
In light of the latest changes, it is important to take some practical steps when transitioning away from Similar Audiences:
- Define holistic strategies to expand your first party data that can be then utilised to supercharge your campaigns, such as encouraging customers to sign up for newsletters or follow your social channels
- Use first-party lists as audience hints to optimise your campaign targeting
- Continue using Customer Match lists alongside Smart Bidding, which will help drive improved performance
- Analyse your customer’s interests to better understand how they engage with the ads through the Audiences Insights Page
Although Similar Audiences will still be available for the next couple of months, you should still plan and test your transition to other audience strategies, so the impact is less harmful.