Slice Up Your Life With Custom Affinity Segments | DMA

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Slice Up Your Life With Custom Affinity Segments


What’s all the fuss about?

October 2014 saw the release of Google’s new targeting option - Custom Affinity Segments. These are an expansion of Affinity Segments and replace Interest Category targeting which was phased out in May this year. Custom Affinity Segments give power to the advertiser by offering the opportunity to create bespoke custom audiences specific to their target market.

Custom Affinity Segments enable creation of more granular audiences than Google’s predefined Affinity Segments such as “TV lovers”, “movie lovers” etc. which everyone seems to fall into, facilitating more targeted advertising. This could be specific to a product type if you so wish, opening up a myriad of opportunities to help improve the relevance of your ad content.

Fruit basket

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If I was running a GDN campaign for my health food store using the current food Affinity Segment, these would be my targeting options:

Cooking Enthusiasts > Foodies / Do It Yourselfers / Family Focused / Fashionistas / Fast Food Cravers

Affinity Segments really offers minimal granularity within the category of food. My health food shop is aimed at the health conscious eater and if I used any of the options above my ads would not be reaching a very well targeted audience as the categories are too broad.

Here Custom Affinity Segments could really work in my favour by allowing me to remove some people who are not likely to be interested in healthy food products. Below is an example of the type of Custom Affinity Segment you could create and the content involved in building them.

custom affinity segment creation

You will notice the Custom Affinity Segment is built from a number of keywords (interests) and website URLs from which Google will then determine the theme of the segment. I have included buzz words in the health foods industry such as “super foods", "organic produce", "green smoothies” etc… and URLs such as and

Google have then provided a rough idea of the types of website topic it deems relevant. These are still reasonably generic, however the inclusion of organic & natural food would suggest my segment is now more tailored than the standard predefined Affinity Segments.

Are Custom Affinity Segments right for you?

Periscopix as an agency are all about testing. The best way to find out whether a particular type of targeting method works is to provide it with a fair opportunity to do so. Naturally some targeting methods lend themselves towards a particular type of result so the first port of call would be to consider your advertising goals and your particular measure of success. The display network acts predominantly as a brand awareness tool helping to fill the top of the purchase funnel and feed in new potential customers. I would suggest Custom Affinity Segments are trying to make their way down this funnel. If you see clear niche audiences within your overall target audience Custom Affinity Segments could really work in your favour. If these smaller niche audiences aren't so clear then other targeting methods may be a better choice in order to generate more general brand awareness.

How to set up Custom Affinity Segments

Thinking of giving Custom Affinity Segments a whirl? The set-up couldn’t be simpler.

1. Create a new ad group in an existing or new display campaign.

2. When choosing your targeting method go to Interest and Remarketing and Affinity Audiences.

3. You will notice at the bottom of the list of predetermined Google segments the +Create Custom Affinity button. This is where you build your custom segment as shown above.

4. Check the demographic of your Custom Affinity Segment and when you are satisfied save the segment and apply to your display ad group.


Easy to set up, offering another degree of control to your display audience targeting. If your product/service lends itself to a niche audience or you feel as though you would like more refinement in your GDN targeting then Custom Affinity Segments are at hand to help.

If you would like to explore the opportunities that the display network & PPC have to offer then give us a call. We can help leverage these powerful platforms and get them working in your favour.

To view the article as written by Alex Hill on Periscopix's website, please click here.

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