Google Adds Affinity Audiences for Search

Increasing Targeting Capabilities for Ad Campaigns

As Google Premier Partners, Thruline Marketing was recently whitelisted for one of the search platform's latest Beta products: affinity audiences for search.


These "affinity" audiences were originally built for display campaigns for business running TV ads that wanted to expand reach with online advertising. Google, however, realized there may also be value for these audiences in search and have since rolled them out as an additional layer to our targeted search campaigns.


Affinity audiences are established by understanding who users are and what they are interested in. Whether it's thrill seekers, book lovers, or do-it-yourselfers (all of which are real affinity audience options), Google has taken measures to better identify its audiences.


When it comes to relevancy for the EDU space, we've found several audiences to be relevant to our partners and their programs:

  • Business professionals for graduate/MBA degrees
  • Auto enthusiasts for auto/diesel programs
  • Sports fans for sports management degrees
  • Pet lovers for vet tech programs
  • Green living enthusiasts for alternative/green energy degrees


While data from these beta tests is limited having just rolled out in the last 30 days, the initial data for Thruline partners is promising.

  • For one partner, using "business professionals" audiences, those in the affinity audience are converting at a 19% higher conversion rate compared to other searchers.
  • Another partner, targeting "pet lovers" for its vet tech program has a 40% higher ad CTR for those in the audience compared to the rest of the campaign.
  • Lastly, another Thruline partner has layered in a mix of audiences, such as "avid news readers" and "luxury shoppers" to a variety of programs, with a 22% lower CPI on inquiries from those audiences.


As we continue to build data on these audiences, we will continue testing additional layers to further drive quality inquiry volume for our partners, ahead of competitors not part of this Google beta.


If you have more questions about affinity audiences in your search campaigns or about Google Betas, please reach out!


Caryn Tate, Senior Digital Media Buyer