AdWords In-Market Audiences Are Coming to Search

AdWords recently announced new features during their Google Marketing Next event. One such announcement was the plan for in-market audiences for search. This option is currently only available for Display and YouTube campaigns.

On the surface this is a really cool feature. The concept of in-market audiences is that they are people who are “actively researching products.” There are nearly 500 such categories in AdWords from automobiles to sporting goods. You even get a nice little demographic snapshot of audiences:

However, I wondered what exactly led to someone getting put into an in-market audience and learned it’s difficult to pin down.

How Does Google Know Someone Is In-Market?

The first mention of this feature came in November of 2013. You can read the Search Engine Land post here. A more official announcement came in January of 2014 from the Think With Google blog. In this post we get the official definition below:

To qualify someone as being in-market for a specific product or service, Google takes into account clicks on related ads and subsequent conversions, along with the content of the sites and pages they visit and the recency and frequency of the visits. In this way, Google accurately categorizes users so you can target those most interested in your offerings.

I then went to the official AdWords help pages and could only find this one-liner; “customers who are in the market, which means that they are researching products and are actively considering buying a service or product like those you offer.”

I then started asking industry colleagues and it seems that I’m not alone in finding the definition a little fuzzy.

A Best Guess

Based on my research, it seems we can safely say the following is being factored in:

  • Content they’re reading (with recency and frequency factoring highly) – i.e. they’ve been to recently
  • Searches they’re performing – i.e. something like “kia sorrento reviews”
  • Ads they’re clicking on

In short, I’d recommend testing them as an overlay and then adjusting the modifier as results dictate because Google isn’t instilling a lot of confidence with the opaque nature of their explanations.

Share your thoughts on in-market audiences for search in the comments section below!


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