• Joseph Lowe

A Quick Look at Google Search Ads Targeting

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

Perhaps my last post – The Easy Guide to Google Ads – might’ve dived into too much detail too quickly. My apologies if I got a little too in the weeds there, but search engine optimization and search engine marketing are exciting topics for me! I hope it will be for you as well in due time.

From now on, I’ll work on taking things a bit slower – hopefully diving into the right details you’re interested in learning about as opposed to going one inch deep and a field wild. A safe starting point would be to detail targeting methods for your digital advertising. Any advertiser worth his or her salt can write a head-turning, URL-click enticing ad, but that will mean absolutely nothing if it’s being read by the wrong audience.

Since we focused on Google Search ads, we’re going to stick with that. With Google Search Ads, there are three general ways to target web surfers: 1) keyword targeting, 2) in-market audience targeting and 3) retargeting audiences. Several well-optimized Google Ads account will have some variation of these targeting methods working for them, but every account goal will be different. So before I speak about each one specifically, I’d like to preface that you shouldn’t get stuck on trying to implement each of these from the beginning. Take a moment, define your account’s goals and think about the best targeting methods from there. Now, take a deep breath, and let’s dive in.

Keyword Targeting

At the very least, every search campaign must include at least one keyword, and you certainly want to make sure that there are numerous per campaign. Keywords are the word or phrase used in a search box of a search engine by an individual searching online for something. In layman’s terms, it’s whatever you type in the search box of Google, Firefox, Safari or your chosen search engine.

When you think about just how many searches there are per day – around 5 billion per day – keyword targeting may seem like an overwhelming method. After all, how are you supposed to know what your audience is searching for? A pretty simple way to start is to use Google’s Keyword Planning tool or third-party keyword planning tools such as SEMRushor Moz to figure out what keywords resonate with your audience. First though, you must come up with a few keywords that you think are going to be worth you bidding on and then filter out the keywords that will ultimately prove to be duds by focusing on a few factors. So let’s take this step by step.

Step 1: Come up with a list of 10-15 keywords

Let’s say you’re a sportswear e-commerce company working on selling NFL jerseys. In order to get started on your campaign, you need to figure out a few keywords that you think might be show up in search queries for your target buyer, so you ramble off a few keywords that might be a good start.

· nfl jerseys for sale

· cheap nfl jerseys

· nfl gear

· where do I find nfl jerseys

· where to buy nfl jerseys

· online nfl jerseys

· nfl jerseys near me

· delivery nfl jerseys

· nfl jerseys

· quarterback jerseys

Step 2: Use Google’s Keyword Planner or a 3rd-party tool to gain some insight

Excellent job! Your wordsmithing has produced 10 keywords that you believe could be the key to your business’s advertising success, but you need to be sure that A) these keywords actually generate search impressions, B) they’re in your general price range of $5 cost-per-click, and C) you’re using the right match type.

Search Volume: If a keyword generates a high number of impressions, then it has a high search volume. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will generate business, it does mean that as long as you’re willing to pay the price and your ad rank is high, then your ads will show for that particular search query. Here are a few keywords that were on our lists and suggested for use by the Moz Keyword Research tool, which might I add is free.

Cost-per-click: How much does each keyword cost per click? If your campaign budget is $1000 and it’s running for one month, then you only have a budget of $32 per day. Depending upon the CPC of each keyword you choose and competitiveness of the industry, that budget can run dry quickly. Based off a quick keyword planner search, I got the following results. Might I add that keyword planner is also free.



nfl jersey sales - $1.59

cheap nfl jerseys - $1.81

cheap jerseys for sale - $.91

top nfl jersey sales - $2.53

nfl gear sale- $1.28

Based on this information, “nfl jerseys for sale” would be a smart keyword choice for this campaign. With a relatively cheap cost-per-click and the most search volume of those suggested, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give it a shot add it to your campaign. Once you’ve gotten a few keywords using this method, it’s time to narrow down how those keywords are interpreted.

Step 3: Figure out your match type

Testing match type for keywords is more of a guess and check approach, but it must be done in order to optimize your keyword targeting to the max. There are three types of match types: broad match, phrase-match and exact-match.

Broad-match type: nfl jerseys for sale

Broad match means that any search query that has these words in it are eligible for your ad to show. So if someone searched, “nfl rules for jersey sales” then your ad is eligible to show even though this would not be an opportune search query for your ad to show for.

Phrase-match type: “nfl jerseys for sale”

Phrase match means that your ad will show for any search query that contains a particular phrase in order. If someone searched, “why do people put up nfl jerseys for sale?” then your ad is eligible to show for this search as well.

Exact-match type: [nfl jerseys for sale]

Exact match means that your ad will show for the exact search query. In this case, only if someone searched “nfl jerseys for sale” would your ad actually pop up. In this case, exact-match would probably be the most optimal choice to bid for.

Step 4: Narrow down your targeting

In-market Audiences

Google has curated numerous audiences of people who have actively searched for specific topics recently. These audiences include the following below – a few of which I’ve bolded for our NFL audience.

Apparel and Accessories

Autos & Vehicles

Business Services

Computers & Peripherals

Consumer Electronics

Consumer Software


Financial Services

Gifts & Occasions

Home & Garden

Real Estate

Sports & Fitness


Retargeting Audiences

Every Google account is gifted with its own global insight tag. A global insight tag allows Google advertisers to insert a small piece of code in the header of each webpage that tracks whether or not a person visited site pages or not. With the tag in place, advertisers can create audiences called retargeting audiences that include people who have visited certain pages on your site. The aim is on getting a specific message to people who have visited your site before. While these are most often used for display ads (banner ads), these can also be used for search ads as well. Let’s put this into context.

It’s football Sunday. Let’s say John Doe visits your site in search of Philadelphia Eagles gear. He visits the Eagles main page but doesn’t get to start choosing specific jerseys because he’s distracted by the actual Eagles game on television, and Carson Wentz just threw for a touchdown on a game-winning drive. Yay for Philadelphia, but what about your lost sale? Good thing you have a retargeting campaign in place for this particular issue. A week later, John googles Eagles gear and lo and behold sees an ad for your website with Carson Wentz in the headline. He clicks the ad, buys a jersey (converts) and you’ve made a $100.

Retargeting ads are an excellent way to double down on lost leads and ensure that your brand is always top of mind.

Well that’s it for this post. I hope the slow method might be a little easier to digest, but let us know if you have any questions in the comments. Happy reading, and thanks for checking us out!

4 views0 comments