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Marketing

Google Ads: Better Audience Segments with Factors.ai

Ranga Kaliyur
Published:
April 22, 2024
Updated:
April 22, 2024
Table of Contents

With a market share of 83% and its brand name officially a verb in the dictionary, it's no secret that Google is the most dominant search engine on the planet. This, in turn, makes search ads or PPC one of the most popular marketing channels for marketers as well. In fact, as much as 65% of SME businesses run PPC search ad campaigns on Google — with nearly 80% of teams claiming it's a necessity for success.

Google search results for 'CRM software for SMEs' with sponsored ads highlighted.

That being said, Google ad campaigns are not without their drawbacks, especially for B2B marketers. Google ads primarily rely on keywords and searcher intent in deciding when and where to display ads. Account-based marketers, however, would rather have a say in who to display their ads too as well. 

For example, rather than blowing through budgets by displaying ads to everyone that looks up “CRM software”, an ABM marketer may prefer showing their ads only to a list of 1,000 specific target accounts. This way, wasted spends may be eliminated and bids may be raised, given the narrow target audiences.   As it stands, however, Google supports a rudimentary and largely ineffective approach to audience building and segmentation for its ads. The following blog explores these limitations and highlights a better way to build audience segments with Factors.ai.

Let’s dive in.

As it stands: Google Ads audience targeting

Google Ads supports the ability to to reach people based on who they are, their interests and habits, what they’re actively researching, or how they've interacted with your business via Audience Segments.

How Audience Segments works

Google’s audiences are made up of segments of people with specific interests, intents, and demographic information based on Google’s database. Advertisers may choose from a wide range of segments such as “music fans”, “people shopping for bicycles”, or “people that have visited your website”. This data is estimated based on people’s engagement with Google’s own products and third-party websites. Specifically to Search ads, Google supports 4 types of Audience Segments:

  1. Affinity segments: Reach users based on their passions, habits, and interests
  2. Detailed demographics:  Reach users based on long-term life facts.
  3. In-market: Reach users based on their recent purchase intent
  4. Your data: Reach users that have interacted with your business.some text
    1. Website and app visitors: Reach people who have visited either your website or apps.
    2. Customer Match: Reach your existing customers based on your CRM data.
    3. Similar segments: Reach new users with similar interests to your website visitors or existing customers.

In addition to this, Google also supports Custom Segments and Life Events as segment types for it’s other ad channels (Display, Videos, etc).

Limitations with Audience Segments

In theory, Audience Segments sound super valuable. Based on your selection of Audience segments, Google’s AI models will automatically choose the right audience to best fit the needs of your campaign. However, a closer inspection reveals inherent limitations with each of the four approaches: 

  • Affinity segments, detailed demographics and in-market segments are primarily tailored for B2C and D2C use-cases. That is, they’re built to cater to audiences based on individual interests, as opposed to account-level buying intent. They may work well to identify and target “skiing enthusiasts”, these audience segments often struggle with “B2B SaaS teams looking for a CRM”.
  • Your data audiences segments do a slightly better job in that they attempt to target audiences based on existing brand engagement. Still, it’s fraught with limitations. According to Google’s advertising policy, Google advertisers may only upload customer data, not prospecting data from their CRM. This is of course, extremely limiting given that the majority of your total addressable market may not be actively engaging with your brand. Furthermore, Google’s own retargeting capabilities are limited to a vague set of website visitors (via Google Analytics) as opposed to comprehensively enriched audiences across website traffic, LinkedIn ads, and other channels. 

That being said, if you provide Google enough data about your target audience members via Customer Match lists, it can spot your target accounts and serve them, and them alone, your ads.

Text on detailed demographics, mentioning college students and homeowners.
Text describing affinity segments such as Vegetarians & Vegans, Sports Fans

Long story short, Google’s native targeting mechanisms exist by the name of Audience Segments. However, this isn't, in its current form, very helpful to B2B marketers. In the following section let’s explore how Audience Segments may be used as a jumping off point in tandem with an account intelligence and activation tool such as Factors.ai to make the most of your targeted ads.

Better Google audiences & targeting with Factors.ai

What if you could retarget existing customers with personalized ads on upselling opportunities? Or vary your bids based on buying stage and ICP fitment? Or re-engage with long gone MQLs and lost opportunities with YouTube ads or GDN? These are a few examples of the powerful use-cases supported by Factors.ai for your Google Ads. Here’s how it works:

  1. Identify and enrich: Factors identifies and enriches anonymous companies engaging with your website, LinkedIn ads, and G2 pages. These companies may be segmented via a combination of granular engagement and firmographic criteria within Factors. These segments may be as straightforward or involved as you’d like. A straightforward segment may look like: “US-based software companies” while involved segments may look like: “US-based software companies with 100-999 employees that have viewed at least one LinkedIn ad and visited the pricing page”. Create as many segments as you’d like depending on your intended objectives and granularity. 
  2. Fire into Google Analytics: The next step involves firing relevant events (in this case, an event is an engaged company that matches your segment criteria) into Google Analytics. As you might recall, Google Ads will only retarget website visitors and contacts that have been recorded in GA or your CRM. Pushing these audience segments from Factors into GA acts as proxy to this. 
  3. Push from GA into Google Ads: Now that you have built up segments in Google Analytics, it’s a simple matter to push said accounts into Google Ads for further targeting across search ads, videos ads, display ads, and more. Here are a few more ways in which you can use this flow:
Dashboard tracking US software SMEs' engagement with a pricing page

How you can use Factors.ai + Google Ads

In addition to the aforementioned use-cases, here are a few more ways to leverage Factors.ai:

Variable RSA

Regardless of the size of your business, your marketing team is working with a budget. Accordingly, most marketers focus their efforts on specific, relatively low-volume keywords so as to not blow their budgets on irrelevant clicks from high-volume keywords. With Factors, however, you can have the best of both worlds by bidding on broader keywords and response search ads only for the companies you care about. For example, you may bid $2 for the long tail keyword “CRM software for US-based SMEs” but bid $6 for the short tail keyword “CRM software” only for the Audience Segment you care about. This way, the higher bid ads will be displayed only when your target accounts are searching for it — as opposed to the entire internet.

Granular targeting 

Given marketing’s limited budgets, you could choose to focus your ad spend only on companies that meet a super specific engagement and ICP criteria as the one highlighted earlier (“US-based software companies with 100-999 employees that have viewed at least one LinkedIn ad and visited the pricing page”). This way, you know that your ads will be served only to highly engaged accounts with explicit buying intent. This smaller pool of target accounts also enables you to raise bids more aggressively given the focused scope of audiences.

{{CTA_BANNER}}

Cross-channel targeting

A key aspect of the account-based market is targeting (and retargeting) accounts across channels. At the moment, Google Ads only supports the ability to target accounts visiting your website or in your CRM. With Factors, this reach may be expanded to companies viewing your LinkedIn ads, engaging with your G2 pages, or simply part of your ABM target accounts list. These segmented accounts may then be automatically targeted across your search ads, display ads, videos ads, LinkedIn ads, mail outreach, and more with Factors’ code-free workflow automations. 

Graphic of web tracking from Stripe and Drift to a campaign manager tool

Want to learn more about Factors?

See how we can help your team over a quick call or an interactive product tour

Want to make the most of your LinkedIn ads?

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