Google AdWords: Using In-market Audiences for Search to Reach New Customers

Nikolina Attwood

June 25, 2018

Last month In-market audiences for search rolled out of beta and is now available to all accounts within the new AdWords interface.


This opens up new targeting opportunities, enabling advertisers to bid on search terms that would otherwise be too broad or unprofitable, but when combined with In-market audiences can be a strong new visitor or customer acquisition channel.


What are In-market audiences?


These are groups of people who, as a result of their online behaviour, have been identified by Google as being ready to purchase or nearly ready to purchase a certain product or service.


How to use In-market audiences for search


There are two targeting options you can use for In-market audiences, targeting and observation (recently re-named from ‘target and bid’ for greater clarity).


If you add In-market audiences on observation to existing campaigns you’ll be able to see if these audiences convert at a higher rate than those not in the list and be able to adjust bids accordingly.


With the targeting approach, you’re solely targeting the In-market audiences you’ve applied to the campaign.


Using In-market audiences for search to reach new customers


While In-market audiences are very useful for directly targeting people close to buying your products and services, there are also great gains to be had by looking at associated areas.


For example, if you sell luxury travel wallets, you know that people In-market for a holiday might want to purchase your products. But bidding on “wallet” is likely to be competitive and have low returns, especially if you’re not a major brand with a large budget to dominate the space.


Continuing the example of travel wallets, here’s a step-by-step example of how In-market audiences could work:


  • Test first

When trying any new type of campaign, I always prefer to run a small test to get an idea of CPCs and ROI; this ensures it’s the right option for my client and their KPIs. In-market audience testing is no different, a small test means you can get insight into results before committing too much budget.


  • Select audiences and destinations

Select audiences within the In-market group for travel – you can even select certain destinations.



  • Choose Targeting

Choose Targeting rather than Observation so that only people In-market see your ads.



  • Exclude previous site visitors

This means you can reach solely new visitors.



  • Create and add negative keyword lists

These should be closely related to the term you’re bidding on and featured elsewhere in the account, so you’re not skewing your data. This also means you can mine for new keywords.


Initial Results


We’ve recently launched a campaign bidding on one phrase match term that we wouldn’t usually bid on (it’s too broad and competitive) to test whether utilising In-market audiences generates sales.


As mentioned in the steps above, we selected In-market audiences that go hand in hand with the search term. The In-market audiences are all set to ‘targeting’ rather than ‘observation’ to keep it tight. We have then excluded Google Analytic audiences of previous site visitors in a bid to reach solely new visitors and applied a number of negative keyword lists of terms already in the account.


The campaign has been running for a month with strong initial results when comparing against non-brand search campaign performance:

  • Over 80% are new sessions, compared to just 51% seen on non-brand search campaigns
  • CPA is £1.50 higher than non-brand search campaigns, but 53% less than we were seeing when appearing on this term for Google Shopping.
  • ROI is 27% higher than non-brand search campaigns


We’ve been able to provide a strong ROI whilst reaching predominantly new customers.


We will continue to optimise to bring the CPA down and we’re also expanding the campaign to include other relatable terms.


Will In-market Audience for Searches work for you?


This depends on what you’re selling and if there’s an In-market audience with a connection to what you sell.


If you’re a travel company you could add In-market audiences just relating to travel and the destinations you sell, and we’ve seen some gains with holiday terms targeting In-market for holiday as they’re very near to conversion. However, using the example above means that you’re able to extend your activity into an adjacent and highly relevant audience for whom you’d otherwise struggle to comepete.


Anyone with a basic knowledge of paid advertising can target their own market, but the savvy marketer will look to adjacent ones to add value and extend reach.



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