audienceBryan Miller

3 minute read

Google’s Similar Audiences Going Away: The Impact and How to Prepare

Published 2023-06-26T06:00:23 by Bryan Miller

Google Ads has long offered advertisers a powerful tool known as “Similar Audiences” or “Similar Segments.” These audience segments are automatically generated based on specific criteria, such as user behavior, search history, and website visits. Similar Audiences have been highly effective in helping advertisers reach relevant and high-converting audiences, making them a valuable feature in the Google Ads ecosystem.

Google’s Announcement and Timeline

In November 2022, Google announced they would be phasing out Similar Audience targeting in 2023. The Change will be implemented in two phases, starting in May 2023 and ending in August 2023.

Starting from May 2023, advertisers will no longer be able to create new Similar Audience segments for their campaigns and ad groups. However, they can continue using existing Similar Audience segments until August 2023. All Similar Audience segments will be removed entirely from all ad groups and campaigns after this date.

google similar audiences
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Reasons for the Change

The decision to sunset Similar Audiences comes as a response to the ever-evolving landscape of online marketing and the increasing focus on user privacy. As regulations and privacy concerns become more prominent, tech companies like Google face challenges in finding privacy-preserving alternatives that enable effective ad targeting and measurement.

Initially, Google had announced that they would not provide an alternative to third-party cookies, which raised concerns among advertisers who heavily relied on Similar Audiences for precise targeting. However, feedback from advertisers played a pivotal role in changing Google’s stance. The company recognized the necessity of providing some form of user targeting to ensure advertisers can continue effectively marketing their products and services.

How This Change Impacts Advertisers

For advertisers currently using Similar Audiences in their campaigns and ad groups, there will be an immediate change in May 2023. They can continue utilizing existing Similar Audience segments for their targeting strategies. However, they will no longer be able to add new Similar Audience segments to their campaigns and groups.

From May to August 2023, advertisers should consider leveraging other audience targeting methods in Google Ads to replace Similar Audiences. Advertisers must prepare for the eventual removal of Similar Audiences from their campaigns.

The silver lining is that advertisers will still have access to historical reporting for their existing Similar Audience segments after they get removed, allowing them to analyze past campaign performance and adjust their strategies accordingly.

google similar audiences
Image via:
google similar audiences
Image via:

Alternatives to Similar Audiences

Although Similar Audiences will no longer be available as a standalone targeting option, advertisers need not worry about losing their audience targeting capabilities. Google offers alternative, more automated targeting and bidding solutions that use similar signals to achieve comparable outcomes.

One such solution is Smart Bidding, which considers existing audience lists and signals from first-party customer match lists to reach existing and new customers. Smart Bidding leverages Google’s machine learning algorithms to optimize bidding and deliver ads to audiences most likely to convert, regardless of removing Similar Audiences.

Preparing for the Change

To prepare for the changes, Google provides a preparation guide based on different campaign types:

  1. Search and Regular Shopping Campaigns: Advertisers should continue using Smart Bidding with their campaigns, as Smart Bidding already considers signals from audience lists.
  2.  Display, Discovery, and Video Action Campaigns: Advertisers should prepare for the transition by including their first-party data segments in ad groups and enabling audience expansion to reach users similar to those in their first-party data.
  3.  Video Awareness Campaigns: For video awareness campaigns, advertisers should use audience expansion to expand their reach to users identical to those in their first-party data.


While the sunset of Similar Audiences may initially cause some concerns for advertisers who heavily relied on this feature, it’s essential to understand the reasons behind the Change and the alternatives Google offers. There is a need for privacy-preserving solutions in digital advertising, and advertisers must adapt to the evolving landscape.

Overall, you can expect the impact on existing campaigns to be minimal, and advertisers can leverage Google’s more automated targeting and bidding solutions to continue reaching their desired audiences effectively. Staying informed and following Google’s preparation guide will help advertisers transition smoothly from Similar Audiences and ensure continued success in their Google Ads campaigns. As the ad tech industry evolves, embracing privacy-centric strategies will be essential for advertisers to maintain their competitive edge while respecting user privacy.

Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller

Bryt Designs

Bryan Miller is an entrepreneur and web tech enthusiast specializing in web design, development and digital marketing. Bryan is a recent graduate of the MBA program at the University of California, Irvine and continues to pursue tools and technologies to find success for clients across a varieties of industries.

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