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Google Display Network Targeting: Loss of “Other Interests”

Google Display Network-Other InterestsInteresting category marketing has been used  by advertisers since 2009 to interact with people across the Google Display Network. However, the options will change soon. The ability to add the “Other Interests” options disappears on January 15, 2015 for both new and existing audience campaigns.

So why is Google making this change? According to Google, other more sophisticated options have been added. The newer solutions will provide better performance and reach than “Other Interests” because they will be more targeted. Besides, “Other Interests” overlap them.

What Solutions Does That Leave?

Google will continue to provide a portfolio of audience targeting solutions:

  • Affinity Audiences – Drive brand awareness by reaching TV-like segments at scale. Extend your television campaign to an online audience. Mazda Canada used them to advertise Mazda 6 to the “technophile” segment and reached 10X more users than with previous campaigns.
  • Custom Affinity Audiences – Get niche audiences to consider buying your product or service. Unlike Affinity, you can better tailor your audience to those interested in your product or service. Electronic Arts used them to engage fans of specific NFL teams with real-time display ads related to field action in its Madden GIFERATOR campaign.
  • In-Market Audiences – Grab shoppers’ attention while they are actively shopping and researching. This audience is made for converting people most likely to make a purchase. Wayfair used them to increase ad response rates by 20% and power short-term behavior by 10-30%.

These three audience solutions cover the entire sales funnel from brand awareness to consideration to conversion. (You will still get to use remarketing, which is favored by Crescent Interactive.)

What Does This Mean for My Current Campaigns?

Here’s a quick recap of what will happen:

  • Starting January 15, 2015, you will no longer be able to add “Other Interests” to your new or current campaigns.
  • Current campaigns that use “Other Interests” will continue to run until June 2015 when they will automatically be upgraded to the new audience solutions. You can upgrade them yourself starting January 15, 2015.
  • You will still be able to pause and restart criteria in your existing campaigns.
  • You will not lose any performance data on campaigns targeting “Other Interests” but will notice the addition of data on new criteria. 

Google will provide more information to advertisers via the Inside Adwords blog and email so you will likely get all of your questions answered.

What to do now? If you have been using “Other Interests” to target, now is the time to start focusing on using affinity audiences, custom audiences and in-market audiences on your new campaigns. For existing campaigns, consider how you want to change the audience and make those changes ahead of the automatic upgrade to maximize results.

About Jennifer Nash

Jennifer Nash is the owner and president of Living Business, a consulting business that focuses on the intersection of strategy, marketing and operations.