Introducing 5 Custom Affinity Audiences that Will Help Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) Improve Marketing Performance

Introducing 5 Custom Affinity Audiences that Will Help Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) Improve Marketing Performance

AdWords Custom Affinity Audiences is a built-in Google AdWords feature that lets you create custom audiences for your display campaigns. For example, if you’re a local café, you can use Custom Affinity Audiences to create a custom audience by entering website URLs of other cafés. Google AdWords will generate a custom audience whose demographics and psychographics are similar visitors to the sites you’ve entered. You can use the customized audience as the target market of your display campaigns.

Destination marketing organizations (DMO) - organizations that engage in tourism marketing to promote a town, city, region, or country in order to increase the number of visitors - can benefit tremendously from this AdWords feature by developing highly relevant audiences that are likely to be interested in tourist activities.

Before suggesting five Custom Affinity Audiences DMOs should develop, I want to show you how to create a Custom Affinity Audience:

  a. Access your AdWords account, click on +Campaign and click on Display Network Only.
  b. Set up your marketing objectives, targeted geographic location(s), budget, etc.
  c. Select Affinity audiences under Interests & remarketing and select Create custom affinity.


d. Create a new affinity audience by entering URLs of related organizations.

e. After you’ve entered website URLs, Google will generate a custom audience and a chart displaying the breakdown of age groups, genders, and parental status of the audience. 


f. Save the Affinity Audience and use it as the target audience of your display campaign.

Now that you know how to create Custom Affinity Audiences, you can build the following five types of customized audiences for your display campaigns:

  1. Other Destination Marketing Organizations

    Using URLs of other DMOs to create Custom Affinity Audiences helps you focus your display campaigns on a group of qualified prospects; the audience you create with DMO sites are users who have previously shown interest in learning about tourist activities. Targeting such audience will help you focus your display campaign and leverage your ad dollars cost-effectively.
  2. Online-only newspaper websites or blogs

    Creating an audience using online-only news publications or blogs helps you reach a young audience - a group of avid travelers who are expected to make 320 million international trips each year by 2020.

    For example, if you create a Custom Affinity Audience using local Vancouver publications Vancity Buzz, Vancouver is Awesome, Miss604, Vancouver Magazine, and Inside Vancouver, you’ll see that 30% of the audience is between the ages of 18 and 34.

    Compare this to the online audience of traditional newspapers Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, The Province, Vancouver Courier, and The Georgia Straight where only 16% of their audience is between the ages of 18 and 34.

  3. Sports magazines

    Creating a custom audience using sports magazines lets you reach an audience who’s into outdoor activities and open to explore new destinations. For example, you can create an audience using golf magazines, another audience using mountain climbing. 
  4. University/college student clubs

    Similar to creating a custom audience using online-only publications, developing a Custom Affinity Audience using university or college student publications lets you reach a young demographic.

    For example, if you’re Visit Seattle, a Seattle DMO, and you want to reach young adults in Greater Vancouver, you can create an audience using local student clubs such as BCIT Student Association, SFU Student Marketing Association, AIESEC UBC, and Douglas Hip Hop Club. 
  5. Business magazines or business sections of newspapers

    Building a custom audience using local business magazines lets you reach local business professionals who are likely to have disposable income while travelling on business. For instance, if you’re Tourism Vancouver and want to attract residents in Seattle to visit a local event, you can create an audience using,,,, and 

    Custom Affinity Audiences is definitely one of my favorite AdWords features. It offers a simple way for you to customize your audience, just by entering URLs. Doing so helps you focus your display campaign and generate a more profitable return from your ad budget. 

    If you have any questions about Custom Affinity Audiences or AdWords, please do not hesitate to get in touch base with us as we have extensive experience in managing AdWords campaigns for some of BC’s top organizations.

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