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Updates from Google: Similar Audiences Won’t Be Generated Any More

November 24, 2022
7 min

Google is the most widely used platform for digital advertising, which possesses 28.6% of the revenue structure.

That is why changes in Google algorithms affect the work of a wide range of companies. Google has recently announced the withdrawal of lookalike audiences in Google Ads. We have prepared a profound analysis of the upcoming changes, their possible consequences for eCommerce, and powerful recommendations from Promodo professionals on how to make the transition process easy and effective.

Changes for more effective audience strategies in Google’s Ads platforms

On November 1st, Google announced that it will stop generating similar audiences to replace them with more powerful and durable automated solutions.

In terms of Performance-campaigns, similar audiences helped the system to search for more relevant audiences for conversion and inquiry. As for media campaigns, advertisers often used similar audience segments for targeting together with other segments (interests, remarketing, etc.).

Sergey Lomanenko, Deputy Head of PPC Department at Promodo

According to Google’s statement, getting rid of lookalike audience segments will not only help businesses “connect with relevant audiences”, but also obtain additional growth opportunities. At the same time, the change will also “meet people’s expectations for privacy”. Sounds great, although let’s view the update in more detail.

Transition Timeline of Changes

First of all, do not panic! Your similar audiences in Google Ads are still being generated. And you don’t need to implement changes immediately. Google will allow the use of similar audiences for the next six months by May 2023. At the same time, you need to explore the benefits and peculiarities of automated solutions’ implementation.

In May 2023, new lookalike audience segments will stop being used in Google Ads. In addition, existing similar audience segments will no longer be applied to campaigns and ad groups on Google Ads and Display & Video 360. However, Ad groups and campaigns that already have lookalike audience segments will continue to work.

The complete similar audience segment removal will take place in August 2023. At this point, Google will remove all lookalike audiences from all ad groups and campaigns. However, you will still have access to historical data of similar audience segments used in past campaigns.

Similar Audience Segments Removal Consequences for Advertisers

Let’s view the most interesting question which is probably currently asked by the majority of eCommerce representatives. How would lookalike audience removal affect my business?

Similar audiences will be transformed into more powerful and automated tools including optimized targeting, audience expansion, and Smart Bidding

Even though similar audiences will not be generated, they will remain as part of optimized targeting. However, it will be impossible to separate it in statistics or evaluate the real effectiveness of this particular segment.

Sergey Lomanenko, Deputy Head of the PPC Department at Promodo

Additional automation

First of all, changes to Google Ads campaigns will allow the integration of more automation that would benefit the users of this service. According to Google’s statement, you will be able “to reach your most valuable customers using the predictive power of Smart Bidding that automatically leverages signals from your first-party data for Search and Shopping campaigns”. What is more, approximately 80% of Google advertisers already apply automated bidding in their campaigns, which they find highly effective.

Optimized targeting

Optimized targeting will benefit businesses that launch Discovery, Display, and Video action campaigns on Google Ads and Display & Video 360. The innovation will help companies “find new and relevant audiences that are likely to convert without relying on third-party cookies”. At the same time, Google says that advertisers who use optimized targeting on Display and Video 360 manage to reach 55% improvement while using first-party audiences.

Audience expansion

The audience expansion tool will simplify reaching a greater number of people that are important to your business. Google emphasizes that “by leveraging machine learning, audience expansion helps you incrementally grow your reach with new relevant audiences”. By the way, this tool is already available in Google Ads, so you may test it right now. However, it will be implemented for Display & Video 360 only in the first half of 2023.

Recommendation to Adapt your Business to a New Approach in Google Ads

If you have been using similar audiences for Search campaigns and regular Shopping campaigns, Google has prepared a manual for you to prepare for the switch in 2023.

In the first stage, you cannot affect the transformation. The system will automatically consider all Customer Match Lists as signals in Smart Bidding. As for valuing users, you will need to use Smart Bidding to assess users automatically based on the conversion and conversion value.

Regarding the new customer acquisition goal, it will be available for Performance Max to be launched for Search by the end of 2022.

Finally, if new changes in Google Ads campaigns seem to be too complicated for you, it’s better to turn to professionals and delegate the PPC implementation to them. Promodo specialists can guarantee you impressive results and a stressless transition process.


Written by
Olesia Holovko

Team Lead of Content for

Content marketing manager at Promodo with 7+ years of writing.

When creating valuable business content, I always seek fresh data, interesting facts, the expertise of professionals, and meaningful insights to bring relevant ideas to the audience. I believe that good content can enrich the experience of marketers, empower business owners to make data-driven decisions, and enhance companies in growth.

November 24, 2022
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