Who Knew Dog Lovers Loved Utility Tools So Much?

. 2 min read

Written by: Ben Sporn | Managing Director, Google

“When you assume, you make an ass out of you & me”

Any good marketer will tell you to focus on audiences buckets that your target market will likely fall into. Do you sell shoes? Target people in-market for shoes. Do you sell staples? Target people in-market for staples. For most people, that’s enough to get you started building up your account data for remarketing and lookalike audiences.

But what happens when you are marketing something that no one is ever in market for? Or if Google doesn’t have a nice and neat category that matches your audience persona?

This exact situation happened to me when I was marketing a desktop utility extension. Beyond a few high utility tools, like Grammarly, the browser extension market is littered with parasitic apps looking to leech ad impressions to maximize their RPMs.

Unfortunately, there was no Google in-market or affinity audience for browser extensions with limited usability at best. There are audiences for software and business productivity apps though. So we started there. Targeting these audiences yielded sub-par conversion rates with horrendous CTRs – it just wasn’t working.

This is when I decided to throw out the playbook!

Instead of finding an audience or keyword set that fit my target like a glove, I decided to go in a different direction. I started to investigate my converters using Google Audience Insights reports in the Audience Manager. It was then that I found something interesting…

My converters were 50X more likely to also fall in the affinity audience DOG LOVERS as compared to the rest of the US. Hmm, I thought, how could this make any sense? I thought of my target as PC using, calculator crunching, pencil sharpening baby boomer.

Instead of questioning it further, I decided to test Dog Lovers affinity as an audience. WHATAYAKNOW? It worked! Dog Lovers had a 50% higher conversion rate as compared to my previous targets. It saved the account and helped us scale even further.

What I learned through this is that if you always go after the exact audience you think your target fits, you’ll inevitably miss out on a much greater pool of people.

I also learned the importance of always questioning your assumptions.