Did you know it’s possible to advertise in Google AdWords and show your ads ONLY to people who have displayed an interest in your product or service?

For example, if you sell high end bicycles, then you might want to target finance websites because this demographic skews to high income households, but limit your ads so they only show for people interested in bicycles and accessories.

Sure, you could try to just target finance websites, but chances are good you would lose money on those ads because not everyone reading finance websites is interested in bicycles. Plus, you could obviously target websites related to bicycles, but there’s only so many of those websites and EVERY other bicycle related advertiser is targeting them.

But there’s a way you can get the best of both worlds… you can expand your ad reach AND continue to target your ideal prospects.

So how is this possible?

If you have heard of behavioral targeting, then you may have already guessed the answer.  Google AdWords provides an option to use “Interest-Based” advertising on the Display network and I strongly recommend you test this out.


What is Interest-Based Advertising?

Interest-Based Advertising is a form of Behavioral advertising, which has become very popular recently.  Rather than select websites or web pages to display ads on, you select website visitors who have certain characteristics based on online browsing behavior.

So with Behavioral or Interest-Based advertising you’re targeting individual visitors of websites.  This is like buying a billboard ad that only displays your ad when your ideal prospect is walking or driving by.

Pretty cool right?

The crux of behavioral advertising is the categorization.  Google has compiled a TON of anonymous data based on individual visitor behavior and categorized it to allow advertisers to pick and choose whom to target.

For example, if you frequently visit VictoriasSecret.com, Sephora.com, and WorkingMomsOnly.com, then there’s a good chance you’re a female interested in beauty products.  Therefore, Google assigns your computer browser to the Make-up and Cosmetics category so advertisers can display relevant ads to you.


How to use Interest-Based Advertising

To get started using Interest-Based advertising, here are several approaches:

  1. Target a particular category across ALL websites
  2. Target a category only on certain websites/placements
  3. Target a category only on certain web pages/placements related to keywords


In the first approach, you’ll get the most ad reach, but you have no control over what type of website your ad will be displayed on.  Therefore, it’s impossible to match your message and offer to what the user is doing on the website.  For this reason, I do not recommend you start with this strategy.

In the second approach, you have full control over the type of websites your ad will be displayed on.  My previous example was for a high end bicycle store that wants to target finance related websites, but show the ads only to people interested in bicycles. I highly recommend this strategy when you’re first getting started with behavioral targeting.

In the third approach, you’ll have even more control, but the least amount of ad reach.  I recommend this strategy as a way to fine tune your campaign to generate more ROI by matching the ads more closely to the content on different pages of the websites.


Want More AdWords Help?

Interest-Based advertising is a fairly advanced strategy for Google AdWords.  If you’re just getting started and would like a complete step-by-step tutorial to create and manage profitable AdWords campaigns, then check out AdWords Success Formula.