Performance Max Audience Signals - Do They Work?
If you’re a small business owner who wants to make the most of their performance max campaigns, understanding audience signals is key.
What Are Audience Signals?
Audience signals are data that helps inform Google’s algorithm about who your ideal target audience is (for example, people with particular interests or who have previously searched a term on Google). Contrary to popular belief, however, audience signals aren’t used for actual targeting - they’re merely used as suggestions. Let’s take a look at how these signals work and the other ways you can use them to improve your Google Ads performance.
Audience signals are just that - signals. They don’t actually serve as direct targeting criteria but instead provide an indication of who your potential customers might be. Based on this information, Google will use the audience signal you provided as a starting point to find customers for you based on the conversion goals you input in Performance Max.
It's important to note that audience signals are not the end-all, be-all. If Google finds customers that convert at a higher rate than other audiences or have better ROI compared to customers that align with your audience signal, then Google will prioritize them over whatever audience signal you input initially.
Let’s say you sell sneakers, and you create an audience signal targeting users who have searched for the term “cheap sneakers online”. Google will use that and maybe initially, target people who are a little more deal-savvy and price sensitive. But let’s say you start to get more and more conversions, and Google’s data on those customers show they are more focused on quality and not as concerned about the price. Over time, Google will start to target that audience more and more and rely less on the audience signal you provided it.
So if you’re a big business with a big budget, this learning can happen very fast, typically less than a couple weeks. But audience signals are vital for smaller businesses. Small businesses simply do not get as many conversions as companies that are significantly larger. This means that Google’s Performance Max is nowhere near as fast as learning to target your optimal customer. But if you give Google a really good audience signal, like your list of customers who have made a purchase, it can save you weeks of headaches wondering why your campaign is not profitable.
In summary, audience signals are important, especially for small businesses with lower budgets but in the end, Google is going to prioritize their data over what you input as they attempt to hit your goals inside of Performance Max.
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