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By Gabriela and Peter on 2 Jul 2018

Paid search strategies come in all shapes and sizes. We'd all love to have an unlimited budget and the ability to prospect for huge remarketing campaigns, but that's just not possible for most AdWords accounts. We're always on the lookout for a cost-efficient way to provide similar insights and targeting for our clients and believe we've found it in one of Google's latest BETA tests: In-Marketing Audiences for search.

What Are In-Market Audiences?

You might very well be thinking to yourself than In-Market Audiences are nothing new and technically you are right. Google first introduced this targeting option back in 2014 on the Google Display Network. Now they are introducing this targeting for Google Search and this is a much more exciting prospect.

How In-Market Audiences Work

In-Market Audiences are Google-built segments of internet users who have shown signals of intent to make an action across a wide range of categories. When people click ads, submit certain search queries or visit certain websites, Google will consider them to be in certain markets.
 Here's a rudimentary example:

  • John carries out these activities over the course of a month online
    • Clicks a display ad for used cars
    • Watches a video review of a 2015 Kia Ceed on YouTube
    • Visits a car comparison website
  • Google concludes John is signalling an intent to buy a used car
  • Google adds John to the In-Market Audience - Autos and Vehicles/Motor Vehicles/Motor Vehicles (Used)

Even though John never visited your site or interacted with your brand, you can now target the In-Market Audience - Autos and Vehicles/Motor Vehicles/Motor Vehicles (Used) audience. This audience is full of people who have displayed signals of intent to purchasing used a car. If you sell car insurance, car history checks or are a mechanic offering to give cars an inspection before someone buys it, this audience is well worth targeting.

In-Market Audiences provide you with a similar power to remarketing, as you can target based on prior behaviour. One massive benefit is the money you save as remarketing requires two touch points while In-Market Audiences will work for people who've never visited your site before. If your budget is tight, these audiences are a great way of qualifying your targeting and reducing the risk of wasted budget.

Do In-Market Audiences for Search Work?

While In-Market Audiences are currently in BETA, we've got two of our clients whitelisted in order to test out this latest Google innovation.

Camino Ways - Gabriela

Camino Ways is a team of travel experts who help people looking to plan a Camino de Santiago adventure. I was delighted to get the Camino Ways account whitelisted for In-Market Audiences for Search and started testing them in the last week of May. After implementing this innovation, 42% of all conversions generated by search campaigns were driven by In-Market Audiences.
These intent-based audiences for search have delivered the best results, audience-wise, in the Camino Ways account since I implemented them, outperforming the other remarketing lists being targeted in the same campaigns.

We were then able to take the previous conversion information from within Google Analytics using the Audience Interest report and expand targeting to In-Market Audiences which might not seem so obvious at first glance. 

The only negative I've seen so far is they are a little bit more expensive than other audiences in the account. However, I do expect with further optimisation we'll be able to reduce this cost and bring it in line with the rest of the account.

American Holidays - Peter

I've used In-Market Audiences a few times over the past few years and was never overly impressed by them. Up until now though, they have only been available on the Google Display Network. This is a really important distinction. 

While the mechanics of how the targeting works and when the ads are shown is pretty much the same, the placement is completely different. Display ads are passive and easily ignored by people. Search ads appear as a direct result of a user action, like a Google search for example. This completely changes the impact of In-Market Audiences, combining user intent with user intent-based targeting, turning them into one of the most powerful targeting options I've seen in a long time.

I first tried out this intent-based search targeting for American Holidays. One campaign which was massively improved by using In-Market Segments was built around cruises. In-Market Audience targeting reduced the Cost Per Lead for this campaign by 45% but increased lead volume by conversion volume by over 275%.

While this is one of the most notable improvements I saw, generally across the account, adopting In-Market Audiences have a positive impact on performance.

The Wolfgang Essential Takeaway

We've all seen how effective remarketing can be in recent years, but that costs money in order to prospect and find high-potential leads and customers as part of a dual-touchpoint acquisition strategy.

If you're limited by budget and want to understand where best to spend it, identifying your In-Marketing Audiences are a great place to start. They are currently still in BETA so watch this space for them rolling out across more accounts.

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