Late last year Google introduced custom affinity audiences across the Google Display Network. Affinity audiences had already been around for more than a year, but the key word here is “custom,” and the new targeting options that come with creating your own affinity audiences.

You can think of this as a mix between remarketing and a few other targeting options in the AdWords toolkit, but there is a key difference. So let’s delve a little further into custom affinity audiences and see what they can bring to your campaigns.


What are custom affinity audiences?

Custom affinity audiences are another way for you to target users on the Google Display Network, based on their interests and user habits.


Custom affinity audiences aren’t your only targeting option either and you may already be using some of the following:

  • Remarketing – To target previous visitors with ads on the Display Network.
  • Display Keywords – To display ads on sites using specific keywords.
  • Placement – To pick individual sites where your ads will display.
  • Topics – To place ads on sites within specific topics.
  • In-market – To target users looking at products or services within chosen industries.


Custom affinity audiences are very similar to in-marketing audiences, except they use cookies and browser history to define user interest over a much longer period. This allows you to target users who have shown a vested interest in brands, products or services for a longer period (for example, your competitors’ repeat customers).


How do I create custom affiliate audiences?

To create a custom affiliate audience campaign, click on the + CAMPAIGN button and select Search Network only. You’ll have to go through the usual setup on page one (marketing objectives, budget, etc.) but, once you’re done, click Save and continue.




On the next page you’ll need to name your ad group, enter your viewable CPM and you can enter your landing page URL if you want automated suggestions.

Now we can finally create your custom affiliate marketing audience and all you need to do is select Interests and remarketing (affinity audiences) from the next section:




This will bring up the Interests & remarketing box, which is set to affinity audiences by default. Click the + Create custom affinity button to the bottom left corner and you can enter the interests and URLs you want to target (Google recommends a minimum of five):




Once you’re done, hit Preview custom audience and AdWords will take care of the rest for you:




And there you have your first custom affinity audience to target users with a proven track record of showing interest in your brand, products, services or whichever parameters you choose.


So there you have it; creating custom affinity audiences is an absolute breeze and they give you one more option to target users most likely to convert. Custom affinities are still a relatively new feature, so there isn’t much data available and we’re still compiling our own (although early signs suggest better results for branding, rather than ultimate sales).

Don’t take our word for it though – delve into custom affiliate audiences for yourself to see what impact they have on your display efforts and don’t be shy to get in touch if you need a helping hand.