This Could Be Killing Your Similar Audiences

by | Nov 29, 2018 | General Marketing Tips

Google AdsGoogle Ad’s Similar Audiences are a powerful tool to create audiences for scale. If you use them, you need to know about a recent, quietly rolled out Google update.

Recently, we noticed that one of our client accounts was suffering a significant drop in leads. It was so dramatic in one case that previously healthy campaigns were showing zero leads.

Lead Drop

There were no major changes to any of those campaigns or landing pages that would usually result in this kind of change. So, we jumped into diagnosis mode.

We quickly identified that the culprits were our display campaigns that utilize Similar Audiences.

Looking deeper at the affected audience – a pixel-based Similar Audience, we noticed that our pixeled Website Audiences had massively dropped from the 16th of October.

Website Audience Drop

Using Google Tag Assistant, we confirmed all necessary pixels were present and firing.

Once we looked more closely at the Website Audiences, specifically the URLs used to generate our audiences we identified the problem.

They all used HTTP versions of the landing and confirmation page URLs.

Keep in mind that this account has been running since 2012 with long-serving audiences that never experienced any issue relating to HTTP URLs. (Google also seamlessly redirects to the HTTPS version of the URL).


The Solution

To be sure that we covered all our bases, we set up a test audience using the HTTPS version of our landing and confirmation pages.

Within 24 hours, our test audience had populated while the original still registered next to 0 audience members.

We have since replaced all HTTP URLs with the HTTPS equivalent and have seen an upswing in leads acquired in the relevant campaigns.

Lead Upswing HTTPS

The big takeaway here is that it is vital that all HTTP URLs in your long-standing audiences should be replaced with the HTTPS equivalent.

While we don’t know the exact cause of the change, switching from HTTP: to HTTPS: fixed the problem. For now, our theory is that the latest Chrome 70 update may have something to do with the dramatic drop in leads, but cannot confirm this for certain.