2015 was an exciting year in PPC. We saw many new audience targeting trends that helped the PPC and Digital Marketing fields see continued year over year growth. From AdWords Customer Match to Bing remarketing for search and many other new features, Search Marketing continues to hold the lion’s share of digital spend.

As we kick off 2016, audience targeting continues to be all the buzz. While the keyword is not dead yet, PPC advertisers are realizing more than ever the importance of audience and persona-based targeting. Below we will touch on PPC audience targeting trends to watch in 2016.

Customer Match

The bell of the PPC ball in 2015 was the release of AdWords Customer Match, which allows you to target CRM lists using email addresses directly in Google. Email marketing has been one of the leading forms of digital marketing for years and now we are able to use email list targeting in PPC efforts. Email and phone list targeting have been available in Facebook and Twitter for some time now but advertisers are excited for the opportunity to target CRM lists directly in AdWords with high matching rates.

One thing to remember when it comes to Customer Match is that your campaign will only be as successful as your CRM lists, so be sure you have a solid list to start. Segmenting your lists into targeted audiences is highly beneficial. For example, segmenting high-value customers, or low funnel leads. This will allow you more control for creating specific ad copy targeted to that particular audience.


Combining Customer Match with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) campaigns is one strategy Hanapin has seen tremendous success. Fellow PPC Hero Blogger Jacob “Juice” Brown breaks down how to create a successful RLSA strategy using customer match.

AdWords Audience Targeting

In 2015, AdWords rolled out audience insights to help advertisers learn about important aspects of the audiences that make up remarketing lists, such as demographics, interests, locations, and devices.

Audience insights can be found under:

Shared Library > Audience > Select List

The demographic, interests, location and device information available can help drive strategy for other areas of your account.

For example, you may find that most of the users on your list are using mobile devices and have specific interests. From this data, you may want to create an In-Market or affinity audiences with mobile specific ad copy and implement mobile bid modifiers. PPC Hero blogger Rachael Law outlines several other ways to incorporate AdWords Audience Insights into you PPC campaigns.


Bing Remarketing For Search Ads

Bing Universal Event Tracking was probably the most important new feature launched in Bing in 2015. One of the reasons for this was because it opened the door for Bing/Yahoo Remarketing directly within the Bing Ads interface.

Remarketing has been extremely successful for many other channels like AdWords, Facebook, and Twitter. With Bing holding 20% of the search market share in the United States, it’s definitely a tactic to include in your PPC strategy for 2016.

In order to use Bing Remarketing, follow the steps below:

  • Place a Universal Event Tracking (UET) tag across your website.
  • Create remarketing lists based upon user activity or pages users have visited.
  • Associate remarketing lists to ad groups and optimize your bids, ads and keywords to those who search on Bing.

Bing Remarketing

RLSA For Shopping

In Q4 2015, both Bing and AdWords released Remarketing Lists (RLSA) for Shopping campaigns. Bing released RLSA for Shopping and Search campaigns with the launch of the new Bing Universal Event Tracking. Remarketing lists for search campaigns are not new to AdWords. Advertisers have been basking in the beauty and profitability of RLSA campaigns for some time, however, it was never available for shopping campaigns until recently.

For many ecommerce advertisers, Shopping campaigns are one of the most profitable campaign types. Advertisers will now be able to serve shopping ads to users that have visited their site but not converted, helping close the funnel. The merging of two of the most lucrative PPC strategies for ecommerce is definitely a trend to watch for PPC advertisers in 2016.

Closing Thoughts

In the ever-changing world of PPC, it’s hard to predict what will actually be the next big trend, however, audience targeting is one trend that we are seeing across all PPC channels that is thriving. For more trends you can’t miss, download our 2016 PPC Trends Every CMO Should Be Watching whitepaper.