Get the inside scoop on your most promising potential customers with Google Ads Audience Manager.

Here, you’ll find:

  • A brief overview of Google Ads Audience Manager
  • How Audience Manager can help your marketing strategies
  • How to get started using this tool
  • A few best practices to make the most of Audience Manager

Advertising is as embedded into our daily lives as ever. It comes in all kinds of immersive, multimedia forms, from a TV commercial for your favorite soda to a billboard for a local lawyer or a sponsored post on social media.

But of all the different ads you can run, Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) continues to be one of the most popular and effective avenues for promoting your business.

Google Ads offers dozens of helpful features for businesses to create, launch, and improve their ad campaigns. One of the most valuable aspects of the platform is Audience Manager.

Read on to learn more about what Audience Manager is and how you can make it work for your next ad campaign.

business audience of people

Your audience is the most important part of any ad campaign. (Image: Unsplash)

What is Google Ads Audience Manager?

Google Ads Audience Manager is a tool that allows you to create unique audience segments based on collected data, learn more about where your audiences are coming from, and gain insights into the effectiveness of your ad campaigns on specific groups of viewers.

Google Ads offers many convenient tools to make your campaigns as effective as possible. The Audience Manager functionality is just one of the resources you can take advantage of.

When you explore Audience Manager, you’ll find three main audience resources:

  • Segments: Dividing your viewers into audience segments allows you to create more relevant, customized ads for the various sections of your audience based on demographics, purchasing history, and more.
  • Sources: You can create data segments to track and advertise to audiences based on where they’re already active, including on your website, YouTube, your app, and the like.
  • Insights: Here, you’ll find information about your audience’s habits and internet use patterns, which you can use to further tailor your ad campaigns.

Benefits of using Audience Manager

Your audience is the most important part of any ad campaign. After all, if your ads aren’t effectively reaching your most promising customers, then there’s not much point running a campaign at all.

Audience Manager can do so much more for your marketing strategy than simply compile and store customer data.

Track multiple audience segments

You’re probably already marketing to more than one group of people — it’s most common to advertise to three groups or more.

But not every ad is going to be successful with all of your audience members. By tweaking your ads to suit your unique audience segments, you’ll have a better chance of connecting with your leads and landing those precious conversions.

With Audience Manager, you can easily track and create content for as many audience segments as you please.


Audience Manager is great for creating ads for a new audience, but it can be incredibly helpful for remarketing audiences as well.

When it comes to remarketing (or “retargeting”), Google can do a lot of the most tedious work for you. For instance, it takes just a few minutes to create remarketing lists for Search ads. These customer lists help you customize unique remarketing campaigns.

Instead of manually tracking where your viewers are seeing your ads, you can leave Google Analytics to track that data for you. Then, when it’s time to remarket, you already know exactly which potential customers should be targeted by a specific campaign.

Demand generation

Generating demand for your products or services is behind everything you do for your business, whether you realize it or not. But building that demand can seem impossible in a world where your customers have endless options.

According to a recent HubSpot report, advertisers drive demand through ad placement and audience targeting more than through any other method.

Audience Manager is one of the most convenient audience targeting tools available, taking away one barrier for businesses struggling to build demand.

How to view Google Ads Audience Manager

Getting set up with Audience Manager is a key step to creating, analyzing, and optimizing your ad campaigns. Luckily, the platform is quite intuitive, so you should be ready to go in no time.

When you’re signed into your Google Ads account, you’ll find Audience Manager by clicking on the wrench icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and selecting “Shared Library.” You’ll then have access to the three main sections of Audience Manager.


To get set up with Audience Sources, input any existing first-party data you’ve obtained from your audience. This initial information will help Google meet your customers where they are and ensure your ads are shown within the most effective channels.

You can add several different audience sources, including:

  • Global site tag: Collect data with the global site tag to help you advertise to people who have already visited your website.
  • Google Analytics: If you’ve got existing or new segments in Google Analytics, you can import them and use them in Google Ads.
  • YouTube: Reach people who have already visited your YouTube channel and track what they do afterward.
  • Google Play: Use this data to create audience segments based on current app usage and in-app purchase history.
  • App analytics: This feature allows you to link Audience Manager to your preferred third-party app analytics platform or software development kit (SDK). You can then advertise to your current app users.
  • Customer data: Upload your customers’ contact information and they’ll be shown relevant ads while browsing Google platforms like Gmail and YouTube.


Next, it’s time to move on to Segments. Once you’ve added your Audience Sources, you can divide your audience into Segments based on their data and browsing activity.

Audience Segments (sometimes called Data Segments) will add users to relevant segments once you’ve added the Google tag to your website or app.

Let’s say you specifically want to target new customers who are visiting your website on Wednesdays. You can add these users to a Segment and create a unique ad campaign targeted directly to them with ads running heavily on Wednesdays in particular, perhaps advertising for a Wednesday special.

Creating a Segment allows you to hyper-focus your ad campaigns to achieve a specific goal for your business, such as increasing sales on Wednesdays.

You can also revisit your Segments at any time to ensure your targeting practices are as accurate as possible. Alyssa Galik, SEM Manager at HawkSEM, offers this advice: 

“It is important to revisit your Audience Segments frequently, [at least] monthly. Depending on the volume of customers and leads one company obtains, it is not only critical for targeting of audiences but also for exclusion to ensure you are spending your budget most efficiently.”


Google has access to seemingly endless information about its users, and you can use this information to improve your own ad campaigns. Head to Audience Insights to find these valuable tidbits.

Your insights are divided into two sections: Relevant Audiences and Audience Distribution.

When combined with other audience insight technology like our proprietary ConversionIQ, Audience Manager provides relevant and accurate information about your most promising leads.

Business people in a meeting

Google’s Audience Manager offers several targeting options that let you specify who should see your ads. (Image: Rawpixel)

Adding an ad group to a campaign

Once you’ve set your specifications for your audience, it’s time to pair that audience with an ad campaign!

Within Audience Manager, select “Audience segment,” then select “Edit audience segments.” You’ll then be able to select an ad group and campaign to assign to the audience segment(s) in question.

Audience targeting

Google’s Audience Manager offers several targeting options that let you specify who should see your ads. Your options for audience types include:

  • Affinity segments: Affinity audiences, as they’re sometimes called, connect with users based on what they’re passionate about or interested in.
  • Life events: Reach users going through major life events like marriage, college graduation, or a job change.
  • In-market segments: Target users based on their recent purchases or purchase intents.
  • Custom audience segments: Create unique segments with specific keywords, URLs, and apps and find your ideal audience.
  • Data segments: Here, you’ll find users who have already had an interaction with your business.
  • Demographics: Connect with people based on their life facts, including their city of residence, gender, or career field.

Audience Manager best practices

Don’t forget exclusions

When you’re creating your audience segments, you’re usually thinking about the groups of people who you want to buy from you. But what about people who you aren’t trying to target?

Google allows you to exclude audience segments from seeing your ads, which can decrease unnecessary ad spend, improve conversion rates, and produce a better return on investment (ROI).

Let’s say your audience is mostly parents of young kids. You may choose to exclude viewers under 18 or over 65 from seeing your ads, since these viewers aren’t likely to convert into customers.

Explore audience lists

As you run more campaigns with Google Ads and become more familiar with the platform, you’ll want to check out the Audience Lists feature.

Audience Lists help you keep track of how many people perform a desired action after seeing your ad. You indicate the action before launching your campaign, and Google will automatically create a list with information about everyone who followed through. You can also indicate how long you want potential customers to remain on a list.

For instance, you might want to make a list of leads who visited your website’s home page, but you only want to track them for 30 days. If a website visitor doesn’t act again within 30 days, they’ll automatically be taken off of the list. But if your visitor does return to the home page, they’ll remain on the list for another 30-day period (or longer if they keep coming back).

How to edit audience lists in Google Ads Audience Manager

It’s important to note that audience lists can’t be targeted until they’ve gained 100 active users per month or more. So, don’t make your desired action so specific that you won’t be able to meet that magic number.

The good news, though, is that your lists will start populating automatically right when they’re created.

If you want to edit your audience list, visit the Audience tab and select the list in question. You can change the list’s definitions, and if an audience member no longer meets the qualifications to be on the list, they’ll automatically be removed.

Once you end a campaign, you can archive an audience list to prevent it from collecting more data or targeting more users.

Refer to the templates

If you’re worried about getting in over your head when it comes to creating segments, you’re in luck. Google has you covered with some handy templates.

Google’s template catalog is ideal for those who want to create unique lists customized to your website and an audience segment of your choice.

Some of the most popular templates include “Visitors of a page who also visited another page,” “Visitors who did not visit another page,” and “Visitors of a page during specific dates.”

Use Tag Manager

Adding a conversion tag to your ad campaign can help you understand a customer’s process after clicking on your ad.

You might want to know how many people actually made a purchase after clicking vs. how many people abandoned their shopping cart. You can designate certain actions as valuable, and Google will record them as conversions.

You’ll need a few things to set up Tag Manager: “the required Google Ads Conversion ID and Conversion Label, and an optional Conversion Value, Transaction ID, and/or Currency Code,” according to Google.

The takeaway

You can truly never learn enough about your audience. When you understand their pain points, desires, and values, you’ll not only gain sales, but you’ll earn loyal customers for life.

Google’s Audience Manager can provide plenty of information about your audience, but it’s up to you to pull them in. HawkSEM can help with that.

We’re proud to be one of the country’s most trusted digital marketing agencies, helping with areas like search engine optimization (SEO), remarketing, email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) management, and more.

Contact our team today to learn how we can turn your audience data into an actionable and effective marketing strategy.

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