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How to Target the Right People?

I’ll be answering this from the perspective of Google Search Ads. 

The most important thing to do to reach the right people is to target good keywords

There are also plenty of other targeting settings to be aware of. 

Keyword Targeting

On one hand, it’s easy to target the right people with our keywords. For example, if I’m a dentist, and I’m targeting a keyword of people looking for dentists in my city, there’s a pretty good chance that I will reach the right people. We don’t need to worry too much about anything else. Most of the time that kind of keyword choice ensures we are targeting the right people. 

On the flip side, we can easily target the wrong people with our keywords. Let’ say I’m still a dentist but now I’m targeting a keyword like “cavities”. Someone searching for “cavities” actually has a low chance of actually being in the market for a dentist. There are lots of other reasons why someone might Google “cavities”, but calling a dentist to set up an appointment is usually not one of them. So if I’m targeting “cavities”, I’m targeting the wrong people.

Keyword targeting is not the only thing to be aware of. We also have many other options. 

Location Targeting

If you’re only trying to reach people in a certain location, you obviously only want to target that specific location. Targeting people outside of that location is going to reach the wrong people.

In line with this topic, I must mention that there is a default setting in the campaign where you might accidentally target the wrong people.  Within the settings and within the locations part of that, there is a default option: “target people who are in or who show interest in your targeted location”. This option will automatically show your ads to people outside of your targeted location, which is usually something that is not ideal for you.

If you want to target more of the right people, you must choose the setting:  “people who are in or regularly in your targeted location”. That’s as specific as we can get, and it will not show your ads to people who have just shown an interest in your targeted location.

Demographic Targeting

You can use different age ranges and genders. If I’m targeting a keyword for people looking for dentists in my city, I don’t need to worry too much about their age and their gender. I don’t want to be too specific with my targeting when it comes to demographics.

Some people might want to set up a customer avatar (bearing a specific age, gender, location, household income). If you go about your targeting and you only target for that specific avatar, you’re going to be ruling too many things out. My recommendation is to not be too specific when it comes to demographic targeting. If you’re targeting a keyword, it’s best to leave the demographic a little more open.

Of course, that may not be the case if your business is a gym and it’s only for women. In that case, go ahead and exclude “men” to be safe from unwanted traffic.


This is another thing that you can tweak when it comes to targeting the right people. You can use different in-market audiences or detailed demographics to try to narrow in on the best people to target with your campaign. You can choose to bid more for the right audiences in order to get more of the right people.  You can also bid less to exclude certain audiences so you’d get less traffic from the wrong people. Please go check the article where I went into detail about AUDIENCES.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Targeting the right people mostly comes down to targeting the right keywords.  If you’re a business that caters to different types of people, put most of the emphasis to your keywords. With the right ones, you won’t have to worry about targeting the other options too heavily.