Setting up Google Analytics Audiences

Posted by Vernon Joyce
February 20, 2020

Getting started

Audiences can be found in the Properties section of your Google Analytics admin section. To get there, click on the gear icon (labelled Admin) in the lower left and in this new pop-over select the Account and then the Property for which you want to add these audiences. Next, select Audiences from the third-to-last section called Audience Definitions.

All Users remarketing audience

When going into the Audiences section you will be prompted to create your first audience (i.e. the default remarketing audience). This is a useful starting point and for most people will be sufficient from a remarketing perspective. Follow the prompts and start the audience setup.

  1. At first glance, you will notice that Google Analytics would have already selected an Audience source for you (i.e. the step is highlighted in green). You can click into this step and modify the source if you perhaps have other reporting views but generally you can leave it where is.
  2. Step 2 of this process is just a brief summary of what Google Analytics will be creating for you: A remarketing audience called “All Users”. Read through this detail if you haven’t before and once done click on “Next step”.
  3. The final step is to select an Audience destination; which is essentially where you will be using this remarketing audience from. The default option from the Add destinations drop down will be Google Analytics. You will also have the option to add your Search Ads account if you have previously connected it to your Google Analytics account.
  4. Once done click on Enabled – you now have a remarketing list for anyone who visits your website!

Advanced audiences and funnels

The All Users audience is great if you are just starting out with remarketing, but the real power of Google Analytics is using its other metrics to define an audience based on their data. Audiences can be defined based on how they interact with the website, the technology they used, whether they abandoned a cart and more.

The best way to approach creating these audiences is to do a short marketing funnel exercise to identify the types of users you want to remarket to.

Creating an Awareness audience

Many new users to your website will be categorised in the Awareness stage of your funnel, as they have likely not engaged with your brand, products, or service offering before. You might initially be tempted to just use All users for this stage of the funnel, but the fundamental issue with this is that it includes all users regardless of how they interacted with your content.

There are a few ways you can categorise these users: Perhaps they interacted with your branded content (such as an “About us” page) or you want to target any user that spent more than a set time on your site.

In this example, we will be adding people into this audience if they spent more than 30 seconds on our website (i.e. session duration), which should exclude the hard bounces (people who immediately exited).

  1. To get started, click on New Audience from the audience summary screen.
  2. Select a view to pull the data from in Step 1. Google will automatically select a view for you if only one view is available.
  3. Click Next step to move on to Audience definition. There are also some pre-built options that we could potentially use but we will be creating a new definition, from scratch, by clicking Create New to open up the Audience Builder.
  4. The Audience Builder is where you will assign the segments that determine your audience definition. Several options are available here, from Demographics to advanced Condtions, but we will be focussing on the Behavior section.
  5. From the Behavior section, move to the last field called Session Duration. We want to target people who spent more than 30 seconds on our website, so set the sign to greater than and enter 30 into the box.
  6. Click on Apply and you will now see summary of your Audience definition. In this summary, you’ll see the segments in the left hand box and a sample size for the last 7 days to the right.
  7. Change the Membership duration based on either your business requirements, your advertising volume or potentially the duration of your funnel stage.
  8. Next, give your audience a name. I prefer to name my audiences in a way that describes what it’s for and in this example named it A01F01 – General – Session Duration > 30. A01 is short for ‘Audience 1’, F01 indicates the funnel level, and General is a descriptor for the audience. Lastly, I also add some info about the segments. All of this information helps you filter your audience lists at scale and will give you an overview of what they do at a glance.
  9. Lastly, click on Next step and select your Audience destination. Once done, click Publish and you’re good to go.

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