You can add categories of interests to your ad groups to reach users interested in products or services similar to those that you offer, even when browsing websites or using applications not directly related to these products or services. This may allow you to improve the performance of your AdWords campaigns.

Adding categories of interests to your ad groups allows you to reach users based on their interests when browsing the pages of the Google Display Network. You can select from an extensive list, ranging from automotive to sports, to travel and fashion. Then AdWords will post your ads to users who may be interested in these categories.


Categories of interests are divided into two groups:

  • Affinity categories: these categories are useful for reaching potential customers and let them discover your business.

They were designed for advertisers who wish to advertise on local television or for those who already do and would like to expand the scope of their campaign at a good price.

  • Other Categories: these more detailed categories that allow you to reach customers likely to visit your site. They also allow you to show your ads to users with specific interests or seeking specific products.

These categories are more suitable for companies who seek primarily to increase traffic to their website and generate leads and sales.


Say you’re car dealer and you want to advertise on AdWords. How to use the categories of interests to achieve your goals:

  • Use of “affinity groups”: your goal is to reach as many people and to publicize your dealership so that its name comes to mind to customers wishing to buy or repair a vehicle. You probably run ads on local television, you want to complete that campaign by using an online campaign to expand your audience. Affinity groups allow you to reach a broader audience of car enthusiasts. For example, you can choose to target “ecology” and advertise hybrid cars, announce a special promotion to “bargain hunters” or attract “buyers of luxury goods” with ads about high-end vehicles.
  • Using “other categories”: your goal is to drive traffic to your website and bring potential customers to fill out a request for additional information about your vehicles. “Other categories” allow you to reach people who might be interested in certain types of vehicles or even some brands.

How do the Interest categories work?

When a user accesses a Google partner site, AdWords may use the content of the page and site to show relevant contextual ads. AdWords also uses the theme of the page and data from third-party companies to associate interests with an anonymous cookie, taking into account the frequency with which the user consults sites of these interest categories.

AdWords may use information that users provide on Google partner websites on their gender, age or other demographics. AdWords may also use Web sites visited by users and third-party data in order to derive such information. For example, if a person browses sites in which visitors are mostly women (information based on surveys) AdWords are able to associate the cookie with the Women demographic category.

Learn more about how AdWords associate users to categories of interests

Benefits and Best Practices

With categories of interests, you can show your ads to users associated with target groups, even when visiting websites without content related to the category you selected.

Affinity Categories

  • Advantages: These categories allow you to increase your brand awareness and your products reach to potential customers.
  • Auction: when targeting affinity groups, you can use the CPM bidding option. It allows you to set a bid on your ad based on its broadcast frequency on the Google Display Network
  • Exclusions: to protect your brand, you can exclude topics, keywords or locations that are not in line with what you want to communicate.
  • Ads: You can use the AdWords image ads gallery to create banners tailored to affinity categories.
  • Performance evaluation: the reach and frequency report may be useful for evaluating the performance of a campaign targeting affinity groups. It tells you how many users actually saw your ad and how many times in a specific period. The reach is the number of unique customers who have seen a particular advertisement for a given period and the frequency is the minimum number of times a unique user saw your ad in a given time.

Other Categories

  • Advantages: “other categories” can be added to your ad group to encourage people interested in your products or services to visit your website.
  • Auction: to improve the results of your campaign, you can use the automatic optimization auction system. This feature optimizes your bids in real time depending on the area visited by a user.


Targeting interest categories can also help you develop your remarketing lists . When a user visits your site after clicking on an ad, for example, he can be added to your remarketing lists in order for you to retarget him with remarketing ads when he browses sites in the Display Network.

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