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Marketing Next Series Part 6: Google’s Next Steps in Audience Targeting

By Caryn Tate
Google Ad Trends

At Google’s recent Marketing Next summit, it revealed new audience segments that will allow advertisers to reach consumers at specific points in their lives. These segments, called Consumer Patterns & Life Events will be available in both YouTube and Gmail, and will target users based on their consumption behavior.

While the consumer patterns product won’t be as relevant to education search at this time, due to the product-focused nature, we have to suspect it will continue growing this list of patterns. Some of these consumption behaviors include superstore shoppers, coffee shop regulars, and frequent salon visitors, just to name a few.

Because education is a large part of Google’s ad revenue, it is likely they are formulating consumption behaviors that would be more beneficial to our sector. However, at this time, this product doesn’t seem to be a fit for a majority of our clients.

Schools with niche programs, though, might benefit from a test of this targeting if their program fits the bill. For example, a school with recording arts programs might benefit from targeting users who frequently attend live events, such as concerts, sporting events and festivals. Or, a culinary school might benefit from targeting users who frequently dine out for dinner. While this could be anywhere from fast food to fine dining, it could be worth testing to reach those “foodies” who might have a passion for the world of culinary.

Along with consumer patterns, Google rolled out its new life events targeting. This targeting reaches users at key transition points in their lives, when they will likely make a purchase. Someone who’s just moved may need new furniture. Someone who’s just married might be looking to start a family. Someone who’s recently graduated might be looking for a career—or, for us, looking to go to graduate school.

While the graduation feature is intriguing, it is specific to college graduation only, so this will be the biggest benefit to masters programs at this time. For schools with programs in that nature, it is worth exploring the opportunity to target recent grads with display advertising.

For now, these new targeting segments are exclusive to Gmail and YouTube. However, Google is always evolving and could eventually release these targeting segments as options in both its GDN network and within search itself. At this time, clients with niche and graduate programs have the greatest testing opportunity with Google’s new audience segments. 

Read other posts in the Marketing Next Announcements series:

Why attribution matters   

Faster is better with AMP for search and search and display

Unlocking In-Market audiences for search

Working smarter with Google Optimize & Google Surveys 360