Google Category Interest Targeting – A Powerful new tool for SEM

As an extension of online advertising, pay-per-click marketing is invaluable. While there will always be naysayers with regard to very notion of ppc campaigns being useful, the truth is, it’s an effective method for targeting the people whom you wish to see your ads, and it continues to be refined in an effort to deliver ads with exacting precision to intended and targeted traffic. A potentially very powerful update to the Google pay per click arsenal arrived recently in the form of Google Interest Category Targeting.

Interest Category Targeting means you now have the ability to reach beyond the constraints of relying on related content as a means of reaching a target audience. Before, you could rest easy knowing your ads were showing to intended target viewers on sites with content that was related to the user’s interests. But that’s where the relationship ended – when the user moved on to another unrelated page, you would no longer be able to have your ads shown unless the page they went to was somehow related in terms of content. Interest Category Targeting circumvents this issue.

Google posts that they look at the types of pages a user visits and take into account how recently those pages have been visited, as well as how frequently, and then associates that information to their browser with relevant interest categories. Using these categories, you can now show ads to the users most likely to purchase your products or services – only now you can also reach them across all types of sites in the Google Display Network, regardless of content relevance, in addition to contextually relevant sites.

Google continues to refine their profile data in an effort to make AdWords more effective, browsing habits have been researched to this end also and there are now 1700 separate categories into which a user’s relevant interests will fall. You can see for yourself how this works by visiting Google Ad Preferences ( You may be surprised at just how accurate their profiling is in regards to your likes and tastes and interests.

The feature itself is easily accessible in your Ad Words campaign by selecting the Audience tab, once you click the tab you’ll be offered the ability to add audiences – you can search, browse and select categories of interest for your ads. Especially interesting is the added feature of custom combinations, this will allow you to use an and/or/not style functionality to create behavioral opportunities for your targeting on the display network.

There are over 500 million users interested in these categories who visit the Google Display Network every day. Search engine marketers now have a very powerful and advanced tool to reach these users on an almost one to one basis with highly relevant ads. This will undoubtedly have a very noticeable and positive impact on paid search ROI.

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