Digital Marketing

5 audiences to exclude out of your PPC campaigns

With the fuzziness of Match Type accuracy, PPC has become more than ever the target audience. Advertising platforms offer almost unlimited opportunities to slice and slice the target audience to reach the perfect customers for your brand.

When creating an audience strategy, it's just as important to identify the people you do not want to target, how to find the people you want to reach. Negative audiences help reduce wasted spending, ensure that people see the right news at the right stage of the funnel, and prevent tired buyers from being exposed too often to products.

In this article, I share five audiences that you should consider excluding from some or all of your PPC campaigns.


If applicants come to your outdoor equipment office just to look for vacancies, they probably are not in the market for a new backpack. So you do not want to waste retargeting expenses when you show ads for your last sale.

You can generally identify these people by creating a URL-based audience for the Careers page on your site. If you're linking to a third-party website for job applications, check if you can make this site pixelated or track clicks on that site as a Google Analytics event, and then create a target audience to exclude.

Current Customers

Current customers are in the PPC industry-preferred category of "it all depends". Depending on your business model, you can exclude current customers from all campaigns.

You can create the Exclude audience by uploading a customer match list of emails associated with customers. If your product also offers web-based sign-in, you can create a retargeting target audience based on people who have accessed pages that indicate their status as a paying customer.

In some cases, you might still want to address existing customers. For example, some software customers I work with have the ability to get current customers excited about additional features. You may want to segment customers so that they are not included in product-A campaigns that they are already paying for, but in campaigns related to product B.

Similarly, e-commerce brands often find value in recurring revenue from people who have bought in the past. You can divide your previous buyers into their own target audience to see how those people evolve and bid accordingly.


When users browse support sites, they are most likely looking for help using your product, not shopping for your product. You can create retargeting audiences based on URLs associated with your site's support section and exclude them from campaigns.

Of course, as in other cases, nuances apply where, in some cases, you may want to target existing customers. For example, people looking for support for a product could be resold with an additional add-on. Or if you offer premium support, you can promote this opportunity through remarketing.

Former Converter

Your strategy for targeting or excluding former converters (not necessarily customers, but people who have performed a conversion action, such as sending a contact form) also depends on your business goals. For example, suppose you have a multi-level funnel for workers to the point of sale.

The first contact offers people an asset in exchange for their information. After submitting the form, you can add it to a retargeting list by clicking on the "Thank you" page for that asset.

Next, you'll exclude them from the asset campaign because they already have the asset. However, add the audience to another campaign where you want to schedule a product demo. You can then make sure that you do not duplicate messages for something you've already seen (which annoys them and probably wastes your money), but get them to take the next step to get their hands on the interest in your product rise.

Audience Retargeting in Non-Retargeting Campaigns

If you're running dedicated retargeting campaigns, make sure you do not reach the same people in other campaigns as well. With this setup, both data and advertising messages can be properly segmented by audience.

You may be running a targeted interest promotion campaign on Facebook. People coming to your site from this campaign will be added to a targeted audience and provisioned for separate messages. However, they still fall under the target group of original interests. You want to include the retargeting audience as an exclusion in the interest targeting campaign to avoid duplication.

Refine Your Audience

While this article includes five examples of potentially negative audiences, you can engage others in brainstorming as you think about your marketing approach and the people who want to see your ads (or not). Stop wasting money on the wrong people who do not convert, and focus your expenses on the right audience!

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Employee authors are listed here.

About the Author

Tim Jensen is a campaign manager at Clix Marketing. With over 8 years of experience in the digital marketing industry, Tim has worked with both B2B and B2C accounts in a variety of industries. Although he is familiar with managing ads on all major platforms, he is particularly interested in the transition between Analytics and PPC.