Home Digital Marketing How to Set Up Custom Intent Audiences in Discovery Campaign on Google

How to Set Up Custom Intent Audiences in Discovery Campaign on Google


With the onset of digitalization, especially as pandemic hit the world, digital marketers and account executives have made available a plethora of digital advertising products at their fingertips.

However, this has also led to huge wastage of budget on irrelevant and annoying online ad experiences, as brands and ad agencies continue to create more ad copies hoping to get lucky and convert potential customers.

How to Set Up Custom Intent Audiences in Discovery Campaign on Google

So, what is the solution? How can businesses ensure that their ads are always reaching the targeted customers who are genuinely interested in their product or service, while limiting their ad budget? The answer is by setting up “custom intent audiences” on Google.

What are Custom Intent Audiences?

Custom intent audiences help you reach your targeted audience by using only relevant keywords, URLs and apps. In a nutshell, it is a Google product, which allows you to target audiences who are currently researching specific topics, products, solutions on the web, visiting particular pages, using certain keywords, or watching videos either by using display or YouTube video ad campaigns.

These people can be considered potential leads as they later on decide to make a purchase, or who are currently in the market for various products and services.

Google allows you to set up a custom audience in your Display, Discovery, Gmail and Video campaigns by adding specific keywords, URLs and apps relevant to your product or service.

Google Ads then picks this up and displays your ads to people who show similar interests or intend to purchase on pages, apps and videos.

Creating custom intent audiences greatly helps in certain situations such as, too expensive competitive keywords, a stagnant search campaign, if you’re unsure of how to research and attract your competitor’s audience, or if you want to serve ads to a specific persona.

Moreover, setting up custom intent audiences offers you more flexibility and specificity with respect to your targeting. Also, the feature is designed to automatically choose the right audience based on the inputs you provide, your campaign goal and your bidding strategy.

How to Create Custom Intent Audience in Your Discovery Campaign?

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. From the navigation bar on the left, click on the “Discovery” campaign you are adding custom audiences to.
  3. Click on the “tools” inside Google ads and select audience manager.
  4. The “Edit audiences” section will appear. From the section, click Browse.
  5. Select custom audiences, and to create a new custom audience, click on the + button.
  6. Select Custom intent.
  7. Clicking on Custom Intent will reveal the audience builder where you need to enter keywords and/or URLs for targeting. You can choose from: Google search terms and In-market keywords.
  8. Select the Google search term option if you want to set up a custom intent audience in Discovery, Gmail, and YouTube campaigns.
  9. Fill in a name for your custom audience.
  10. Select in-market keywords from the drop-down menu, and add keywords and URLs of people researching specific topics.
  11. The Audience Size tab gives you estimates regarding your reach, and demographics based on people’s age, gender, and parental status.
  12. Click Save audience. This saved audience can now be used for displaying an advertising campaign.

Therefore, by following these steps you have successfully created your first discovery campaign!

How Google Chooses a Custom Intent Audience?

Google chooses the right audience based on the goals of your campaign, keeping in view your bidding strategy as well. Google then optimizes the audience choices which determine the option for reach, performance, or consideration as the priority.
As advertisers, you can help Google narrow down to a more specific audience group using the options mentioned above, and also save your money.

Custom audiences with intent allow you to reach the ideal audience for your business in your Display and Video campaigns by segmenting your ad groups based on specific keywords and landing pages you’d like to target. You can use custom intent audiences with automatically created audience segments, or you can define your own audiences by entering keywords and applications related to your product or service. Google Ads will then show ads to people who are likely interested in these keywords on pages, apps, and videos.

How to Test Custom Intend Audiences?

Do not stop at creating a custom intent audience. Once you have your audience established, move to the next step of testing your audiences to make sure they’re truly performing the way you have expected them to.

The goal of audience testing is to analyze which audiences are performing better. What is used to create smart goals? You can test your custom audiences depending upon a variety of factors; however, it’s suggested to ultimately choose the one depending on your overall business objectives.

You can start by looking at conversions first, however, in case no conversions have been recorded, you can go on checking the engagement metrics, such as click-through rate (CTR), bounce rate, and average session duration.

Do a thorough evaluation of these metrics as it will significantly assist you in identifying your business goals, including brand awareness, lead generation, etc.

Also, if you find an audience that isn’t living well up to your expectations, which may depend on your campaign duration, you can pause that audience to increase the opportunity for other better performing audiences.

You can do so by trying a new display ad creative that are preferably responsive display ads as they have dynamic headline and description testing capabilities), or you can even test new landing pages.


Setting up custom intent audiences is the most preferred way to introduce your product or service to potential customers who are intending to make a sale. If they have already shown interest in a certain topic, service, or product related to your business, it’s best to introduce them to your brand and let your services do the rest.

Also, it might seem that setting up custom intent audiences is easy, but the main catch lies in your way of organizing and testing your audiences, as it requires some research and time.
However, understanding your user intent will greatly help you create your strategy accordingly, and will help you identify when you might need to change your approach.

Further, if you have created multiple audiences and the test results show that one of them isn’t performing well, it’s highly recommended that you first test new ideas before going on-board.

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Shirley is a passionate blogger. She writes about her life experiences in the form of words. She had done masters in technology & working with a leading technology organization as an analyst. Moreover, if you want to follow her, then subscribe to the feeds.


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