What is the difference in targeting vs observation in Google Ads? This is often the question people asked as they are not clear when to use the targeting and observation mode in Google Ads.
In this article, Targeting vs Observation Google Ads, we will be discussing what these two are and how you can properly utilize each for your ads campaign.
Watch the video version of this article below:
Targeting vs Observation Google Ads TIPS
When choosing to use targeting vs observation in Google Ads, there are different options available when it comes to attracting new customers.
I suggest you start first by setting up your ad targeting and choose the criteria available to you, like the audiences that you want to reach or the content you want your ads to appear on.
You need to also understand that it is essential to get more data (or observe) first how your ads perform when a potential customer matches the specific criteria. This is how you avoid restricting your ads.
Let us discuss further what I meant with this by tapping what targeting means and what observation means when you run campaigns.
What is targeting in Google Ads
When you select the “Targeting” option in your campaigns or ad groups (like placements, remarketing, or affinity audiences), you’re letting Google Ads know exactly who you want to reach in your advertising or where to show up.
When to use Targeting
Use the “Targeting” setting in your ad groups or campaigns when you want to be specific> This setting will only show your ads to specific audiences or on the specific content you choose to show.
I recommend using targeting in your display campaigns. Just remember that targeting alone will restrict the reach of your ad group.
What is observation in Google Ads
When you use the “Observation” setting, the reach of your campaign or ad group is not affected.
People often get confused about the difference between targeting and observation in Google Ads.
It is a common misconception that Observation affects who will see your ads.
Observation will not change who can see your ads or where they can show.
“Observation” will let you see how your ads are performing for the specific placement, topic, or audience that you have selected.
You’ll have granular data on how each audience performs inside of your existing targeting. You can then use this data to make intelligent decisions like bidding up on more valuable traffic.
You can also segment your ad groups and create new ad groups with the data from your observations.
When to use Observation
I recommend “Observation” mode for any search campaigns and any campaigns run on Google Display Network (GDN).
Using observation will not narrow your campaign’s or ad group’s targeting any further, but you want to monitor the performance.
Now let us discuss the examples of targeting and observation to better understand these two concepts:
Jane owns a store that sells mountain bikes.
For her ad group “Mountain Bikes,” Jane selects the “Male + Female” genders under demographics and the affinity audience of “cycling enthusiasts”.
This will narrow the reach of her ad group, so her ads are only showing up for people who have shown an interest in cycling.
But Jane is wondering if her customers might also buy activewear.
She needs more data to find out. At the same time, she doesn’t want to restrict the existing reach of her ad group.
She clicks the pencil icon on the Audience page> selects her campaigns> selects audiences based “What they are actively researching or planning”,> selects Apparel & Accessories> and then Activewear for observation criteria.
With this observation setting, Jane can view reports on how many ad impressions appeared to users who were also in-market for activewear. Keep in mind, observations are reported when they overlap with existing targeting (in this case cycling enthusiasts).
So, if ads shown to users are also interested in activewear to perform differently from other ads, Jane can adjust her bids higher or lower for this audience.
Google Ads Pro Tips:
- In GDN, I suggest you use “Targeting” for your topics, placements, and audiences.
- For your search or shopping campaigns, I recommended using “Observation”.
- You can use “Observation” for all of your audiences, even remarketing or remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA).
- For video, I recommended using “Targeting” because “Observation” is not available.
With these options: Observation and Targeting, we have options to target our audience better. I would say these are essential tools as search becomes more and more expensive. So go ahead, run some tests to see what’s working for you!