How to Create a Lookalike Audience in Google Adwords

how to create a lookalike audience using Google adwords

A lot of people have heard about the power of lookalike audiences inside of Facebook, but did you know that you create a “lookalike audience” inside of Google Adwords?

In this article, I’m going to show you how to create a lookalike audience inside of Google Adwords, or as Google likes to call it, a Similar Audience.

What’s a Similar Audience & Why Should You Care?

A similar audience looks at your existing data (i.e. customer emails, visitors to your website, etc.) and finds new & qualified customers who have shared interests with that audience.

It’s a powerful — yet simple — way to reach new prospects (usually at a lower cost).

Step 1: Give Google Some Data

To create an effective similar audience, you must first provide Google with data.

First, log into your account, and then on the left hand menu select “Shared Library” and then “Audiences”.

google adwords shared library

Next, press the “Remarketing Lists” button. Here, you can select from website visitors, mobile app users, or customer emails.

Google Adwords Remarketing List

Select “customer emails”. Next, you should be presented with this screen.

Google adwords customer email list

On this screen, you’ll need to:

  • Name your list (i.e. Emails 10–13–15)
  • Upload a CSV of your emails; most email service providers (ESP) can give you an export of emails. That said, may need to remove all of the other columns from the CSV except for the emails.
  • Provide an email email opt-out link; you should be able to get this from your ESP.
  • Provide a Membership Duration; this is how long you want someone to stay on this list.
  • Provide a Description; this is for your purposes only and is completely optional.

Once you’ve completed filling in all of the details, click “Upload and Save List”. Your list now you should appear on your audience screen.


Note: For the purposes of this article, I’m only going to walk you through customer emails. That said, if you have any questions, how to set up a remarketing list for website visitors or mobile app users, feel free to contact me directly.

Step 2: Set up a Display Campaign

In this step, I’m going to show you how to set up a display campaign that uses your Similar Audience.

First, select the “Campaign” tab from the top of the page.


Then, press the “+ Campaign” button and select “Display Network”.

Interest and Remarketing Google Advertising

Then, you’ll need to:

  • Name your campaign
  • Select a marketing objective (i.e. buy on your website)
  • Select your target location (i.e. United States)
  • Languages (i.e. English)
  • Bid type (i.e. per click, per conversion, etc.)
  • Budget per day (i.e. $10 — $20 / day)

Next, you’ll need to create your ad group. This is where we’ll apply the similar audience. But before you do, you’ll need to:

  • Name your ad group
  • Provide your bid
  • Provide your landing page (i.e. product page, pre-sale engagement page, sales page, etc.)

Now, where it says “Choose how to target your ads”, we’ll select “Interest & Remarketing”.

Next, you’ll need to choose a category. Select “Similar to customer email lists”.


Note: if an audience size is too small, Google will not be able to create a similar audience. Currently, Google needs 500 identified cookies in order to build a similar list.

Then, below you’ll see your similar audience list.

Select this list, and move the list over to the “Selected” section on the right.

Once complete, save and continue.

Step 3: Complete Your Campaign Creation

Next, you’ll need to create your ads and confirm your ad campaign.

But once you’re done, you’ll be targeting people who are similar to your existing customers.

Now, It’s Your Turn

Now since you know how to target a “lookalike” audience on Google; it’s your turn to give it a try.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.