Google Releases Life Events Targeting to Everyone!

Keywords don’t buy your product – people do!

It’s no wonder that Google is investing more into allowing advertisers to target audiences instead of keywords – whether that’s with remarketing, RLSA, similar audiences, demographic details, or even their newly improved customer match.

Earlier this year, Google perked heads when they first announced that they would allow us to target based on users going through a major life event, such as getting married. Well, as of today, all advertisers (and agencies) can take advantage of this exciting new life event targeting feature within their AdWords accounts!

How to Set Up Life Event Targeting in AdWords

Life event targeting must be set up at the ad group level in either a video campaign or a Gmail-only campaign. Under the audiences tab within an ad group, select the middle option for “Intent and life events”:

adwords life events targeting

From there, you can choose to add any number of in-market audiences or life events. Life events can be drilled down to between users preparing for a life event (about to graduate college, get married, moving soon) and immediately after the event (recently graduated college, got married, moved).

Life events can be layered with in-market audiences, affinity audiences remarketing lists, or similar audiences to further refine your target audience.

how to target life events in adwords

Within Gmail, an audience can either be added as a target (restricting the reach of your ads) or as an observation (allowing you to adjust your bid for this audience experiencing a life event). Similarly, Life event targets can be added as exclusions. Exclusions can be added at either the campaign or ad group level.

Targeting Important Life Events

Today, Google has three main life events for users to target: College Graduation, Marriage, and Moving.

College Graduation

Targeting students entering the “real world” has obvious potential for businesses advertising job-hunting services or companies that are looking to attract new talent (by the way, all the kids are applying to work at WordStream), or potentially settle or refinance their student debts.

targeting recently graduated audience

However, as people graduate college, there’s also a lot subtle needs that advertisers can capitalize on. Apparel advertisers may find this young “newly professional” demographic has an increased demand for clothes that are appropriate for interviewing or the workplace.

Most education advertisers may want to exclude those graduating college from their campaigns, however – unless they offer a graduate school program, in which case they may find this a particularly important audience to get in front of.

Marriage

I got married in September and the experience taught me two things – first, that I’m so happy that I found my sweet, lovable husband (who I know doesn’t read my blog posts). And secondly, getting married is a LOT of work, a lot of planning, and a lot of shopping!

mark irvine wedding

It’s my blog post, so yes, I do get to put my wedding pictures in it. Photo credit Josh London Photography

Obviously, users about to get married are in market for a number of different products and services – and wedding planners, event organizers, venues, DJs, caterers, florists, jewelers, rental suppliers, photographers, videographers, and so many card providers have a stake in the $ 54 billion industry in the US.

Not only that, but while many are planning their wedding they’re also planning their honeymoon – so travel advertisers have an interest in this audience as well!

And of course, while I was planning my wedding I certainly looked more at kitchen appliances and home goods for my wedding registry than I ever have in my life, so even retail advertisers were smart to get in front of me at the right time! Bryant Garvin at Purple had success driving attention to their mattress ads among those planning their wedding.

life events targeting case study

As I begin my life in the “Recently married” audience, there’s still no shortage of things that I suddenly need. Now, we get to go through a period of heavy nesting and home improvement – buying new furniture to match all those new gifts, clean up and renovate our apartment, and plan for our lives together.

That also means that we have all the fun of setting up a joint health care plan, retirement, and new taxes, and every step of the way, Google’s serving potential for those advertisers to influence us. Hypothetically, we would also be talking about buying a home together or planning to become parents, but luckily, we have avocado toast to keep that far off our minds.

Moving

Moving is one of the most stressful times in someone’s life and people planning their move are certainly a target audience for advertisers who provide moving or storage services. But likewise, there’s unique opportunity for real estate clients to capitalize on this audience too! By layering Google’s In-Market audiences, they could potentially serve their ads exclusively to people who planning a move and looking to either rent or buy a new home!

targeting life events in google adwords

Of course, after the big move, many users will also be searching for services in their new home city – and this has promise for countless local advertisers on Google! New residents will have an increased demand to find local places to eat, shop, and go to the gym, as well as the need to find a local doctor, dentist, school, and tons of other services!

By targeting these audiences, you can acquire new customers much easier and keep them loyal much longer.

About the author:

Mark is a Senior Data Scientist at WordStream, focused on research and training for the everchanging world of PPC. He was named the 5th Most Influential PPC Expert of 2017 by PPC Hero. You can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, and SkillShare.


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