The Google Ads Reach Planner is a powerful tool in the Google Ads user interface that can be used to predict the reach, cost and frequency of users based on a range of target groups and budget data. I've personally used the tool for projection presentations a few times, and the media plans that deliver the reach planner's results are well received by customers. In general, the projections are quite accurate – especially if you give the tool more data points. Google recently updated the planner, adding a few more bells and whistles, changing the user flow, and making navigation a little easier. Let's dive into the latest version of this tool as if we had never used it before and created a new media plan.

Choose your destination, channel, location and demographic settings

Google Ads reaches the demographic settings of the planner

At the beginning we have to choose a target for our selected campaign. The current selection is currently limited as the new version of the tool is still being prepared. So our only option for this example is awareness. Then we move down and choose our channel. In this example, we only choose YouTube based on the types of ads I’ll choose later. After your target and channel selection, location settings and demographic filters follow. Since I am a Chicago native, this will be our chosen location and we will limit our minimum age to the youngest age that Google allows (18), set the maximum to 24 and include all genders.

Choose your target group (s)

Google Ads reaches the planner’s audience settingsGoogle Ads reach the example of a planner affinity group

I chose the youngest population group above, as we want to further narrow down the audience for the most precise media plan as the audience grows. In this example, we are ultimately targeting early adopters in the technology market. We choose technophiles who are an affinity audience. After we narrowed down our audience, we have to select dates for the media flight. In this example, we'll run the campaign for a month.

Choose ad types and budget allocation

Google Ads reaches planner ad types and budget settings

Finally, we come to the main options for budget and ad types. Ad types should be based on goals. If we fall back on our choice of an "awareness" goal, we will provide more budget for the cheaper auto ads so that we can maximize reach within our overall budget. Then the smaller part of the budget is used for non-skippable in-stream ads, so our audience needs to see some form of our advertising on YouTube. Once your criteria are set, you can view your media plan.

Check your forecast

Google Ads reaches the planner’s forecast results

Boom, here it is. We entered some basic data points about our audience, ad types, and budget information to get a detailed projection of reach, frequency, and cost per thousand impressions.

So we're done, right?

Not quite.

Within the projection window, we can enter more information to get more clarity as we get more detailed. Starting with frequency, we can change how often an audience sees our ads on a daily or weekly basis. In this example, 3 ad views per day are selected that are really struck with our message. If we don't reach our targets based on the budget, we can then move along the graph to see how many more impressions we can get from budget increases. You can do the same in the two boxes on the far right, where you can either change your reach and show a new budget or change your budget and show the new reach.

Adjust frequency, budget, and reach

After adjustments, Google Ads reaches the forecast results of the planner

Above we see 2 new changes. The first is that our total reach has decreased slightly due to our frequency selection of 3 views per day. The second is the scrolling function along the diagram, which shows us the potential based on budget increases or decreases.

Review demographic and device estimates

Google Ads achieve demographic estimates from the plannerGoogle Ads reaches estimates for planner devices

Finally, I have two final comments on this guide regarding the demographic and device diagrams that the reach planner spits out. The demographic chart shows us the number of users classified by gender within our selected age group and allows further improvements at the campaign level if these numbers were not expected. The device diagram uses the input to predict which devices our ads will appear on. This enables further device changes at the campaign level.

There you are, folks, the PPC Hero guide to dynamically using the Google Ads Reach Planner to meet your goals against your budget. This tool is still being updated and has changed a few times in the past few months.

When Google listens, my main wish list element is to include more creative types in the reach planner, e.g. B. Display ads, RDAs, or other creative types outside the text ad range.


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