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New update on Google Ads: A big win for B2B demand generation 

By Chris Murphy

VP, Paid Media

Google’s latest update is a game-changer for B2B marketers, offering enhanced capability to utilize popular platforms like YouTube and Gmail, and boost B2B brand awareness! 

On the 21st of May 2024, Google announced that they are reducing their required list for building lookalike audiences from 1,000 to only 100. This lower threshold provides easier access to richer audience targeting, which is great for smaller businesses and B2B brands with niche audience pools.

What are lookalike audiences?

Lookalike audiences help you target new people who are likely to be interested in your business. They work by analyzing the common traits, behaviors, and demographics of your current customers. This strategy is effective for expanding your reach effortlessly and efficiently to an audience based on real data, not just assumptions. 

Time to get technical: Why lower lookalike list thresholds are better 

Before this exciting update, we faced multiple challenges when using lookalikes for B2B and tech brands. Compliance regulations often prevented businesses from supplying high-quality first-party data to use as a source list. Consequently, we had to rely on pixel data from site visitors who took action. Given the long conversion windows and journeys, it took a significant amount of time to build a list of 1,000 people to utilize the Lookalike function.

Additionally, Google's previous targeting options made it difficult to tailor campaigns to a B2B audience outside of keyword searches. This posed challenges for building awareness campaigns to reach niche audiences, whereas rival ad platforms like LinkedIn offered B2B-friendly targeting. LinkedIn allows a laser focus on specific industries, job titles, companies, etc., but now, Google’s update brings it closer to achieving this level of demographic specificity for raising brand awareness.

Despite these challenges, higher thresholds for lookalike audience lists did not hold us back. By overlaying demographic, behavioral, and career data whenever possible, we've successfully created effective target personas.

This new update allows us to target and expand our reach even more effectively within our key demographics. With easier access to lookalike audiences, we can now rely on fact-based data rather than assumptions. As a result, Google has become a much more significant player in our strategy for building awareness among B2B audiences.

What’s the catch? 

Currently, this new capability is only available in demand-generation campaigns on Google Ads, specifically for driving awareness across Gmail, YouTube, and Discover placements. We anticipate that the lookalike audience threshold will be lowered for lead generation campaigns in the future, so stay tuned for more updates on utilizing Google Ads for B2B marketing!

In summary, Google's reduction of the required list size for building lookalike audiences from 1,000 to 100 is a significant win, especially for smaller businesses and B2B campaigns. 

This update, available in demand-generation campaigns across Gmail, YouTube, and Discover, makes it easier to target new potential clients based on real data. Despite past challenges with compliance regulations and limited audience sizes, this change allows for quicker, fact-based targeting and makes Google a crucial platform for B2B marketing strategies. Now, Google supports effective funnel engagement from awareness to conversion through targeted campaigns.

If you’re interested in learning more about how PPC can enhance your B2B brand, check out our services here.

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