Interest category marketing has been in beta for over a year, but Google announced today that this feature is now available to all AdWords advertisers. These categories allow advertisers to better target audiences across the display network based on their interests and demographics. You can choose from a list of categories that match the type of user you want to target, and Google will show ads to the people it thinks are interested in those categories.

How Interest Categories Work

When a user visits a website, Google analyzes the content of the site and uses data from third-party companies to associate interests with a user’s cookie. Google takes into account how often users visit sites within those categories, among other factors, to assign interests to that user. Your ads will then show to users in the categories you’ve selected while they are surfing the web. If you are interested in what categories Google has assigned to you, you can find out by logging into your gmail account and going to

Where To Find Interest Categories

Interest categories are located under the Audiences tab. Click the “+ Add audiences” button and you will see the list of interest categories you can choose from as well as the estimated amount of users in each category.

Interest Categories Marketing

Clicking on the “+” sign will expand each category, allowing you to target more specific audience segments. Simply click add and your ads will now show to people in that category.

If you think this sounds a lot like Topics targeting, the features work in slightly different ways. Topics targeting allows you to place ads on pages directly related to the topic you’ve selected. Interest categories allow you to reach users across the Google Display Network who have demonstrated specific interests, no matter what website they are browsing.

If you want to try out interest categories for your PPC account, be sure to check out Jessica’s blog post on her initial observations of this feature. AdWords help also has a great article on best practices to follow when setting up Interest Category campaigns.

Let us know what you think of Interest Category Marketing and if it helps improve PPC performance.