How to Create Google Analytics Audiences for Google Ads

🚨 Note: All standard Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023. 360 Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on October 1, 2023. That’s why it is recommended to do the GA4 migration.

Did you know that you can use Google Analytics to create custom remarketing audiences for Google Ads?

This technique is powerful. You can use Google Analytics’ segmentation options to define your audiences, then use this audience for remarketing your products. This gives you far better reach for your Google Ads campaigns!

In this guide, we’ll learn how to set up the audiences with the help of Google Analytics and Google Ads accounts. 

An overview of what we’ll cover in this tutorial: 

Let’s dive in!

Prepare Google Analytics for Remarketing

Let’s go to the Google Analytics home page and open Tracking InfoData Collection.

🚨 Note: New to the combined powers of Google Ads and Google Analytics? Make sure that you’ve already linked your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts!

On the Data Collection page, navigate to the Remarketing section and turn this option On. This will enable the data collection for display and search remarketing. 

Additionally, there is also an advanced setting for Ads Personalization. 

Depending upon your origin country, and the countries in which you want to target your audience, you can adjust the geo control settings. Click on the settings icon below the advanced settings option. 

Adjusting the geo control settings to modify countries according to audience reach in Google Analytics

Once the settings are adjusted, click on the Save button. 

Using data collection tools to configure remarketing for the Google Analytics account

With this, Google Analytics will start collecting data that will help you with remarketing. Next, we’ll create audiences to target using this data. 

Let’s see what’s available to import from Google Analytics into the Google Ads account!

Overview of Built-in Segments for Audiences

On the Google Analytics home screen, we’ll navigate to AudiencesOverview. This page gives us an overview of the audiences we have for the website linked to the account. 

On the top left corner of your screen, click on the option All Users. This option enables us to choose our audience set from existing built-in segments. 

These segments can be especially useful for setting up remarketing audiences in Google Analytics.

Using the built-in features for audience segmentation to configure remarketing in Google Analytics account

We can use this built-in audience as a segment for remarketing, or we can customize it further based on our requirements. 

Building a Simple All User Audience

Once you choose the audience set to target, click on Actions → Build Audience

Choosing the target set of audiences for remarketing Google Ads

This will take us to the Audiences page where we can customize the users we want in our remarketing audience.

The Audience source will be All Web Site Data. And since we had selected the All Users audience, it will be imported to the Audience definition. 

Under the Audience definition, you can input the Membership duration as anything between 1 to 540 days. This will be the duration for which you want the user to stay in this audience. 

Additionally, you can also add an Audience name for this particular set. This will help you on the analytics side, especially if you have multiple remarketing campaigns.

Then, click on Next Step.

Defining the chosen audience set for configuring remarketing option in the Google Analytics account

This will take us to the Audience destinations page. Here, we’ll pick the destinations where we want to send the data of the audience. 

Hence, the choice for the destination will depend upon the marketing agenda. For now, we’ve chosen to send the audience to Google Ads as well as Google Analytics account. 

Lastly, click on Publish

Configuring the destinations for installing the marketed audience data in Google Analytics

If you’ve set up all three configurations for building audiences, you’ll see three green checkmarks. 

Google Analytics 4 has one other helpful feature here — it gives us an estimated size of the audience set that we configured based on the active users from the last 7 days.

So while Google Analytics won’t retroactively add users to an audience you’ve created, it will make a guess on how big your audience would be if you applied the same settings to recent visitors on your site.

Summary of Audience definition and estimated display audience size in the audience set

This is really useful if you’re creating a new campaign for something you’re already tracking. But if you only just started tracking with Google Analytics or your website traffic has recently changed dramatically, this won’t be a very useful estimation.

Once the audience set is configured for the Google Analytics account, we’ll import it to the Google Ads account. 

Let’s see how!

Importing Your Google Analytics Audiences to Google Ads

On our Google Ads account, we’ll open Tools and Settings → Audience Manager → Audience Lists

Accessing the audience list from the Google Ads account

You’ll be able to see the name of the audience list that you just created from the Google Analytics account. 

Verifying a new audience list from the Google Ads account

However, it might take 24 to 48 hours for the data to populate in the Google Ads account. Hence, you might not be able to verify your audience size right away. 

For this list, we’ve chosen All Users data to populate this audience set. 

Let’s also see how to populate lists with a more granulated audience size. 

Creating Audiences Using Segments

We’ll create a new segment of the audience, where we can trade with more granular audiences. 

Let’s open our Google Analytics account. From the Audience Overview section, we’ll click New Segment

Creating a new segment of the audience for more source-specific audiences in the Google Analytics account

You can choose and optimize any audience set as per your campaigns. 

However, in this guide, we’ll learn to create an audience with the help of the data pulled into Google Analytics from Facebook. 

You can use UTM parameters to import the data to your Google Analytics account. This way, you can use the audience set for remarketing and other campaigns. 

However, if you don’t have an audience set ready for your campaign, you can always optimize it according to your needs from the New Segment section. 

We’ll choose Traffic Sources as the type. Further, we’ll have multiple options like campaign, medium, source, and keyword to select as a filter. 

When you choose a filter, your corresponding audiences will appear on the screen. For example, if you choose Campaign as your filter, Google Analytics will display all your different campaigns in the search bar.

Choosing from different campaigns for an audience filter in Google Analytics

However, as we have used UTM parameters to import our audience set from Facebook to Google Analytics, we’ll choose the Sources filter. 

From the search bar, we’ll choose facebook as the source for our audience set. 

Once done, you can add a name to the audience set and click on Preview

You’ll now be able to see a summary of the audience set you have for this filter. 

This will show the total count audience you have on your Google Analytics account, and the count of audience you have filtered for the chosen category. 

Upon completion, choose Save to store and use your preferences. 

Configuring different sources and filters used to collect audience set data into the Google Analytics account 

You can come back to the Audience Overview section on the home screen of your Google Analytics account. 

You’ll find the segment of the Facebook Source Traffic (or any other name that you chose for your filter) at the top left corner of your screen.  

We’ll click on Build Audience

Building and optimizing the audience set from a new segment in the Google Analytics account

This will lead us to the same page as earlier, where we can optimize the audience goals. 

We’ll define the audience according to our campaign goals. We’ve put Membership Duration as 60 days. 

Additionally, we’ve changed the Lookback days window to 30 days. This feature enables us to evaluate the behavior of the qualifying target audience. 

Add the Audience name, and click on the Next step

Defining the audience activity for Facebook audience set in Google Analytics

Finally, we’ll choose the Audience destinations. If you want, you can send this information to Google Ads as well as the Google Analytics account. 

However, we’ll just send the information to the Google Ads account for this audience set. 

Finally, click on Publish.

Configuring audience destination as Google Ads for a Facebook audience set in the Google Analytics account

Once done, you’ll see the success message on your screen.  

Successful creation of audience set on Google Analytics account 

Let’s reopen our Google Ads account, and refresh it. 

We’ll see the granulated Facebook audience set that we just created. However, note that it may take some time for the data to populate. 

Verifying the granulated facebook audience set data on the Google Ads account

Moreover, data will repopulate itself when the new audience follows the website and campaigns.  


So that’s how you import the audience set into your Google Ads account and use it for remarketing purposes. 

You’ll need to link the two accounts, import the data from Google Analytics into Google Ads, and then use it for remarketing and campaigns. 

Additionally, once you successfully import the audience data into your Google Ads account, you can also set up dynamic remarketing that can help in boosting your reach among the audience! 

Were you able to import the data correctly into your Google Ads account? What filter did you use to granulate your audience set? Let us know in the comments below!


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