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A New Way to Target Customers

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    Adding pay-per-click to your online marketing mix has always been a great way to drive traffic to a site instantly, and now there is a new way to target your customers in addition to traditional keyword bidding. Following on the success of ad targeting in Facebook, Google has now added a similar ‘interests’ feature to their Google AdWords platform.

    It is well known that Google collects user data to customize and improve their plethora of free products, (whether you are logged into a Google account or not) now advertisers can take advantage of this data, and use it to target their pay per click traffic. “Interest based advertising” is a new feature which delivers ads depending on the interests of the user, and the topics of web-pages they visit.

    How does it work?

    Interest categories are assigned to users based on the identifying cookies stored in their browsers, and how many times the user visits a website with that cookie. A cookie is a number or code used to remember your visit for next time. For example, if you have a stamp collecting hobby, and visit many sites related to that topic, Google will add you to the “stamp collector” interest group and show you more ads related to stamp collecting when you visit sites that are part of the Google Display Network.

    To see what categories you have been added to, visit https://www.google.com/ads/preferences/.

    add interest 1
    If you do not have a Google account, then it will ask you to opt in to the ad preferences before starting to record them. Deleting your cookies and browser history regularly will also remove you from any recorded interests, unless you have added them yourself.

    What is the Display Network?

    This is a group of websites that partner with Google to show ads on their websites rather than in search engine results. These ads can be triggered by keywords, as well as the new interest targeting. These websites are subject to approval before they run ads so Google does work to make sure they are seen only on good quality sites.

    What does this mean to Adwords Advertisers?

    As with all new products and metrics, testing is the best way to see if it will work for you. If you are already showing ads in the Display Network, try a new campaign and select a few interest categories to target. In a week or so, review your figures and see if it is helping your CPC or conversion rate. Interest categories are priced in the same way as the keyword bidding system, you only pay per click and it is up to you what your bids are.

    According to Google, there are over 1000 categories to target at the moment, which will almost certainly grow with time – which means this could be a valuable tool in making sure that your ads are reaching the right people.

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