Google Ads Update: Similar Segments to Be Removed

Added by SEO Team on 29th Nov 2022 in Search Engine Optimisation

Privacy concerns have become more prevalent as the world continues to become more connected. People are increasingly worried about how their personal data is used and collected by the brands they interact with online. In response to these concerns, Google has made a number of changes to its advertising products and policies over the past few years and recently announced several changes planned for 2023.

These changes come into effect in May, when similar audience segments will no longer be generated. Similar audiences will be sorely missed by marketing and advertising professions, having historically been a valuable source of growth. While existing campaigns with those segments will still function until August, similar audience segments will be completely removed from existing campaigns from that point onwards.

Why is Google removing similar audiences?

Google has been under scrutiny for how it uses data for advertising purposes, and this decision is likely an effort to appease privacy advocates and lawmakers.

Similar audiences are based on a seed audience fed to Google via third-party cookies. When a user completes an online purchase, a cookie from the advertiser will inform a third-party that a purchase has taken place, along with some personal information about the person. Similar audiences must change as third-party cookies become increasingly obsolete due to privacy concerns seo.

It is not just Google making these changes; Facebook made a similar decision in 2018 when it stopped allowing advertisers to create “custom audiences” based on email lists and phone numbers.

What will the impact of this decision have on marketers and advertisers?

For many advertisers, the loss of similar audience segments is likely to be significant. While first-party data is not going away anytime soon, it’s important to note that first-party data alone is not enough to reach your target audience at scale. That’s where lookalike audiences come in. Lookalike audiences allow you to take your first-party data and find more people who are like your current customers/users. Without lookalike audiences, it’ll be much harder to reach new users who are likely to convert.

If you rely on those segments for your campaigns, you’ll need to find alternative ways to reach your target audience.

What replaces similar audiences?

As an advertiser, you may be wondering what Google’s offered replacement is for similar audiences. Google says that similar audiences’ segments will transition to “more powerful, tested, privacy-centric automated solutions. These solutions help advertisers connect with relevant audiences, all while meeting people’s expectations for privacy.” In a nutshell, Google will automatically decide on the best audiences for advertising using the following tools:

  • Optimised targeting for Discovery, Display and Video action campaigns
  • Audience expansion for Video reach or consideration campaigns
  • Smart bidding for Search and Shopping campaigns

Like similar audiences, these tools allow advertisers to reach new audiences; however, these audiences are not based on personal information provided by third-party cookies. These new features are largely untested, with little guarantee that they will work – which is why it is always best to have a few backup plans in place.

How to Prepare for Google Ads Removal of Similar Audiences

While Similar Audiences was a helpful tool, it’s important that you start preparing now for its discontinuation. Fortunately, there are several other targeting options available that can help you reach your target audience.

1) Target by Placement: One option is to target your ads by placement. Placement targeting allows you to specifically target the sites, apps, and YouTube videos where you want your ads to show up.

2) Target Custom Affinity Audiences: Another option is to target custom affinity audiences. Custom affinity audiences allow you to target people based on their interests. For example, selling women’s clothing could create a custom affinity audience for “fashion” or “shopping.” You can use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to research potential interests for your custom affinity audience.

3) Target in-Market Audiences: In-market audiences are people who are actively researching or shopping for products in your industry. For example, if you sell women’s clothing, your in-market audience might be “women’s clothing” or “wedding dresses.” You can use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to research potential in-market audiences for your business.


The loss of similar audiences will undoubtedly harm the effectiveness of Google Ad campaigns. Marketers will now have to rely on first-party data—data collected directly from customers—in order to create targeted ad campaigns. While this data is still valuable, it is much more limited in scope than third-party data and will make it more difficult for businesses to reach new potential customers through their advertising campaigns.

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Added by SEO Team on 29th Nov 2022 in Search Engine Optimisation