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4 min read

BrightonSEO: Arianne Donoghu – Moving Towards Audiences in a Keyword-Based World

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

Keywords are no longer the driving force behind PPC campaigns, audiences are. This is the key theme of this BrightonSEO talk by Arianne Donoghu, Digital Marketing Manager at

Location, interests, device and age are just a few of the methods paid search marketers can use to target users already. Bus as we enter an era where there are hundreds, or even thousands, of signals about each and every user becoming available to marketers, AI and a behaviour learning approach to PPC is bound to become more and more prevalent.

The world of search is moving beyond the keyword (just look at the recent changes to exact match for example), but search marketing itself is still keyword-focused. What this means for marketers is that we need to become savvier in the way we layer our targeting in search campaigns.

(I should mention at this point that nearly all the takeaways from today’s talked detailed below can be applied to paid social media campaigns. But as we’re in the Paid Search track at BrightonSEO here, Arianne focuses on search in her presentation.)

When PPC is used across the funnel, it becomes so much more than just a tool for acquisition. Arianne goes on to discuss the key tools and how to use them;

Google Analytics

  • Use segments for more details data about your customers. Who did convert and who didn’t?
  • Combine these segments with your conversion goals and split these goals out. For example you may find women aged 25-34 drive the highest amount of revenue whereas women aged 35-44 sign up to your mailing list but rarely actually buy.
  • Use this data to build a really detailed customer persona. You may think your target audience is already quite specific, but when you start digging into this data you may find there’s actually four, five or six segments within your target audience.
  • But don’t get lost in the detail. Pick your more useful insights and focus on those. Remember that when you get to the targeting stage you’re going to need a minimum number of target users, so be careful not to be too specific!


  • Users volunteer this information – how great is that? Most of all, this makes it super reliable.
  • Use Facebook’s Audience Insights feature. There are two ways to do this (you can combine them to get insights from both once you’re in the Audience Insights section of Facebook);
    • Pull together your email mailing lists and upload them to Facebook so they can be matched with user’s Facebook profile.
    • Alternatively, use the Facebook pixel to collect an anonymous list of your website visitors, which will be stored in the Facebook Audience library.
  • When you have these audiences available in Facebook, it means you can exclude them from your marketing campaigns.


  • AdWords also has a great Audience Insights feature;
    • As with Facebook, you can upload your mailing list to Analytics and import to AdWords (or just directly to AdWords!)
    • Or you can use your Analytics tag to build an anonymous list or previous website visits
  • AdWords Insights can give you loads of information about these users. From the basics like gender and age to the advanced affinity and in-market audience data.
  • Affinity audiences seems to be a real trend in paid search and social at the moment. And no wonder; it’s a tried and tested way to reach new customers outside the ‘obvious’.

An important thing to note here, is when building audiences for display or video campaigns, use the ‘Target & Bid’ setting. This ensures your campaign is only shown to those within your audience, as opposed to ‘Bid Only’ setting which just means our adjusting your bid for that audience while showing ads to everyone!

Next Level Hacks

  1. Use a combination of keyword and URL targeting for super targeted campaigns. You can even include your competitors URLs.
  2. Use Remarketing Lists For Search Ads (RLSAs). This allows you to create campaigns solely for past website visitors, or adjust bids on existing campaigns so you’re bidding more competitively when users are looking to return to your website or have moved further along the funnel.
  3. Humanise your audiences and ‘customer pen portraits’. You may already think your audience is specific but they’ll still be four, five, even six or seven different ‘types’ of customer within that.