Google today announced the launch of Affinity Segments in AdWords and YouTube, a new way for brand advertisers to reach TV-style audiences via 80 unique “lifestyle segments.” In other words, brands can now more easily push ads to their target audience based on their interests online, just like they do offline.

Google says its system ranks someone’s affinity by taking into account the types of pages he or she visits, how often and how long they spend there, as well as by associating interest categories with their browser. Furthermore, the company says Affinity Segments are specifically optimized for reach and frequency, helping advertisers reach those “most likely to enjoy their brand.”

In short, Google is trying to bridge the gap between TV and Web advertising by making it easier for advertisers who are used to buying audiences offline for televisions. Affinity Segments are thus defined the same way TV audiences are, so advertisers don’t have to worry about trying to pick out corresponding categories anymore.

Google’s pitch is that the new feature lets advertisers “connect with the people who care”:

Affinity Segments offer broader reach by encompassing the broad passions that reflect a user’s lifestyle rather than niche curiosities. Our wide variety of segments let you reach your perfect audience – from hardcore gamers, to foodies, to luxury shoppers, we have a high-reach segment designed to connect you with your ideal customers.

Furthermore, if one of the 80 segments isn’t a perfect fit for your brand’s needs, you can contact your account manager to create a custom segment just for you. For whatever reason, advertisers currently can’t do this themselves.

Google says at least one of its customers already tried Affinity Segments and saw impressive results: Mazda Canada targeted the technophiles segment across the Google Display Network for its Mazda6 line and reached 10X more users than it was able to with previous campaigns. That’s an extreme case of course, and your mileage will undoubtedly vary.

Many people forget that despite all the various industries Google is in, ads are still its bread and butter. The more advertisers it can convince to go online instead of sticking to TV, the more revenue it makes, and the more successful the company can potentially be elsewhere.

Top Image Credit: Adam Berry / Getty Images