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CharlotteMy three year old daughter (Charlotte) is very good at connecting with people. She‘s been a master at rapport and empathy since she was a baby.

One thing she has learned to do is soften the blow every time she gives a criticism. (No idea where she learned that – we’re a family full of fairly blunt people!).

I loved this line she came up with – imagine it said in a soft caring tone, a small toddler hand on your arm – “You’re wrong, but let’s not worry about that…”. It’s like she’s trying to criticize and comfort at the same time.

So, today I decided to write about something in Google Marketing that is plain wrong, but that other people just don’t seem to worry about.

If I was going to put on a little Charlotte voice and tell people so very nicely that they’re wrong, who would I be telling that to?

I would most definitely tell that to the digital agencies, freelancers and educators who believe that Google Ads audiences are optional, and don’t make a lot of difference. The people who think that the only thing that really matters in Google Ads is keywords.

This is a myth that I see perpetuated over and over, and is never really questioned. In fact, the topic of audiences rarely even comes up other than an afterthought. People understand keywords and don’t always know that audiences exist, or what they’re for.

We all know that keywords match what our users type in and so we presume these to be the most important at gauging the quality of a prospect. Yes, keywords are very important, but this has led to a disregard of anything other than keywords, and this is to your detriment.

An issue that I see often when I take on a new account is that care has been put into selecting keywords but not into selecting audiences. Sometimes when an agency has been working on an account I see they have not used any audiences at all, which is flat out ridiculous because the client had been putting trust and faith in that agency doing the right thing by them.

I’m not sure if its ignorance or laziness, but audiences should never be ignored in Google marketing. Their use are highly likely to be the difference between a profitable and an unprofitable campaign.

Audiences define the “who” behind the search, whereas keywords define the “what”.

For example the keyword “ballet flats” let us know that someone is most likely searching for a pair of flat shoes, either to buy them, or to see a picture of them, or to learn more about them.

Audiences are quite different. An audience may include people who are sports enthusiasts, love going to the salon, attend music concerts, buy used car parts, or have been researching CRM software. All of these interests and shopping habits depict different snippets of the “who” behind the search. It goes much deeper than just demographic (age, gender, income) data.

Of course, people are not single dimensional, any one person will fit into multiple different audiences depending on all their interests and shopping habits.

Where it gets super interesting is that if you plot these interests against each other and against revenue in your business, you discover that some audiences are worth much more to your business then others. The graph of audiences pretty much never looks random; there are always clear audiences who stand out as being your best customers.

For example, some categories of audience make up your most commonly transacting uses. 25% of all your transacting users may be part of the same audience. Travel and hotel accommodation for example, come up as the highest audiences for pretty much every hotel I’ve ever worked with because people typically research their holidays in advance. Other categories of audience are not your most common but when users from this group transact they spend a lot more than everyone else. Sometimes much, much more than everyone else. These are your niches of rabid buyers.


If you target both of those audiences of people, and cut out pretty much everyone else using your keyword, you can cut out a huge amount of wasted ad spend, without impacting your revenue. This makes your Return On Ad Spend go up! When your Return on Ad Spend is higher, you can then afford to expand your ads to more keywords and audiences while still being profitable.

In my experience, if you have a small to medium sized budget, targeting your top 20% of audiences (by total revenue and by revenue per user) and cutting out everyone else, leads to a significantly higher Return On Ad Spend compared to if you didn’t have any audiences set. The bigger your budget, the more audiences you’ll need to include, but you can still rank them and select the best. Even if you have a very large budget, you can still use this technique by setting your best audiences to Observation and adding a positive bid modifier to the best ones.

This is a technique I use with success with all of my clients. I generate a report that tells me which audiences are performing the best out of all the users visiting your website, and then target those users in Google Ads.

Audience Engagement Report

I don’t know why other agencies don’t do this. Maybe they are worried that targeting the best audiences will cut out too many people? This belief is fallacy, because as a scale your budget you can always increase the number of audiences you allow in, but when you have a smaller budget you might not even get to show your ad to the best quality people if your ad budget runs out by targeting everyone else.

Of course keywords are important, but if you use keywords AND audiences you get a better result. Period.

I must admit though, I do get the giggles if I imagine myself like Charlotte, taking people by the hand and saying “You’re wrong, but lets not worry about that…”

Kiara Buccella Google Ads
The Quantified Web has managed the Mayfair Hotel’s Google Ad campaigns for almost two years now.
We have had a wonderful experience with Petra, she demonstrates great care for her clients and is proactive in providing insights and suggestions on how to optimise performance.
Petra is thorough and efficient in her communication and we would certainly recommend her to others businesses.

Kiara Buccella Marketing Executive of Mayfair Hotel Google Ads Management April 26, 2021

Jodi Benjamin Ecommerce Google Ads

I engaged Petras services because I was looking for someone to manage my google ads for my ecommerce business. I got that and SO MUCH MORE.

I was always very intimidated by google ads. I simply could not get my head around how to run and optimise a successful campaign, so I did not use it.

Then someone recommended Petra and my world changed. She is very data orientated, very analytical and razor focused on the small details, everything I am not good at. I never ever log into my google ads because I know Petra and her trusty team are all over it, and my google ads continue to drive very profitable traffic to my ecommerce store.

Since having Petra on my team I have grown considerably and I get about a 10x ROAS from my google ad spend. She has an open door and always has time for me and my million questions.

To top that all off, she is also a super nice and friendly person and has become a customer and huge fan of my brand. What more could you want! .

Jodi Benjamin CEO of Life of Colour [Ecommerce] Ecommerce Google Ads April 13, 2021

charles marois olsa tools

Working with Petra was a great experience, communication was easy and she is very organized. She also provided detailed reports of the work she had done and the results generated. We would definitely recommend her services.

Charles Marois CEO, Olsa Tools Ecommerce Google Ads April 23, 2020

leesa dawson

I am so grateful to have met you, as I think your insights are the BEST I have ever come across.

Leesa Dawson CEO, The Uniform Stylist Ecommerce Google Ads April 23, 2020

brett leggett

Hi Petra, Hope you are well, I checked out the Google Analytics and all I can say is AWESOME. You have essentially doubled her revenue in a month and the Google Ads seem to be popping off!

Brett Leggett Brett Leggett ✪ eCommerce Growth Specialist Ecommerce Google Ads April 23, 2020