Brand advertisers have long complained about the challenges of making targeted ad buys at scale online in the way they are used to doing for TV. Google is attempting quiet those objections and lure more brand advertising to its display network with its new “Affinity Segments.”
Launching today, Affinity Segments leverage the contextual audience targeting called Interest Categories that already exists in Google AdWords. There are more than 1,000 Interest Categories which take into account the types of pages a user visits, including how recently and how often they visited, and associates the interest categories with each user’s browser. The Affinity Segments represent broader aggregations of that interest data plus demographics information into 80 unique groups to “reflect a user’s lifestyle rather than niche curiosities”.
For example, whereas a hair care brand might have targeted the hair care Interest Category, they can now expand their reach with the new beauty mavens Affinity Segment. The TV-style audiences are “optimized for reach and frequency”.
Google specifically defined the Affinity Segments the same way TV audiences are defined to make it easier for advertisers who are accustomed to making offline buys for TV. The audience segments will now correspond to each other. Advertisers who don’t see an ideal Affinity Segment can ask their AdWords Account Manager to create a custom segment. Affinity Segments are also available for video ad campaigns. Mazda Canada tested Affinity Segments to advertise the Mazda6. Targeting the “technophile” segment, Google says Mazda reached 10X more users than they had with previous campaigns.