After slowly rolling out the beta phase of this feature to sample groups, Google announced today that Interest Categories for the display network are now available to all Adwords advertisers. This could prove to be a pretty major addition to Adwords, as Display network advertisers are now able to target audiences based on their interests/ web-surfing behavior.
How Does It Work??
To make a long story short, Google observes the kind of websites a person visits and uses this data to automatically assign certain interest categories to users. You can see what Google has assigned to you by logging into your Gmail account and going to www.google.com/ads/preferences. Google takes several factors into account when assigning interest categories, such as frequency of visits to sites within a category.
So your ads will show to users who have been assigned to your (selected) categories while they surf the internet. This means that regardless of the type of website a user is currently viewing, they can see your ad based on their general interests. In this way behavioral targeting (Interest Categories) differs from Google’s Topic Targeting. With Topic Targeting, ads are applied to specific websites based on topic/relevancy.
Where to Find it in Adwords
Under the Audiences tab, click “+Add audiences” and you will be given a list of interest categories and the estimated amount of users in each category. You can also expand these categories into more detailed sub categories to choose from.
Check these categories and your ads will begin showing to web surfers within them.
If you’re interested in trying this out, check out the article in Adwords help for best practices to follow when setting up Interest Category campaigns.