Google recently announced that Keyword Contextual Targeting (KCT) is being replaced with custom intent audiences for YouTube and display advertising. If you aren’t already familiar, KCT enables advertisers to define a set of keywords that allow your ads to show on websites related to those keywords and to people likely interested in those keywords. Advertisers have until the end of January to get KCT keywords migrated to custom intent, or Google will do it for you. If you are using KCT for your campaigns, don’t panic, Netsertive has already navigated this transition for our customers, and we’ve got some helpful hints to help you get started with custom intent.
What is custom intent targeting?
Custom intent works like this: you create a list of relevant keywords (within your ad group) then Google shows your ads to users who have searched for those keywords recently on Google. You can use this targeting for both display and YouTube campaigns.
This is similar to KCT in that you choose a list of relevant keywords, but it’s different in that you are now targeting only the people who search for those keywords - not based on the context of the website.
Oh no! I haven’t moved my KCT keywords to custom intent. What should I do?
Don’t worry. Google is slowly transitioning all KCT targeting keywords to custom intent keywords through the rest of the month. This has been happening since November 2018, so you may already be using custom intent without knowing it.
In terms of performance changes, this change shouldn’t be a concern. Netsertive transitioned all of our KCT keywords to custom intent keywords by using our 10 years of search experience and found an overall increase in performance:
Three tips to get started with custom intent.
1. Use as many keywords as you can.
Google recommends around 15, but Netsertive has found that the more keywords you include, the more impressions you generate. You want to make sure that you are still only including relevant keywords that fit a common theme. Don’t add keywords just to add keywords, but if there are more keywords to add that make sense, try them out.
2. Include URLs.
You can include both keywords and website URLs to create custom intent audiences. Netsertive found that including URLs improved performance and increased reach. We recommend only including URLs for websites that don’t require login access (like a social media platform), and be sure the URLs still fit your theme of keywords.
3. Conquest your competition.
Unlike search, where it can be extremely expensive to bid on competitive keywords, custom intent does not incur higher costs (or has very minimal) for including keywords related to your competition. This includes adding the website URL(s) of your competition, too. Therefore, custom intent is a great option for a competitive campaign.