Get Started With Google’s In-Market Audiences for Search

About a year ago, the buzz began around Google rolling out In-Market audience targeting for Search campaigns. Based on Google’s presentation at the 2017 Google Marketing Next event, advertisers who were part of the initial Beta test saw an average of a 10% increase in conversion rate with In-Market audiences for Search. Bing beat Google to the punch with rolling out this feature, but as of this month, it’s now also available to all Google advertisers.

What are In-Market Audiences?

According to Google: “In-market audiences uses the power of machine learning to better understand purchase intent. It analyzes trillions of search queries and activity across millions of websites to help figure out when people are close to buying and surface ads that will be more relevant and interesting to them.”

These audiences have been available for the GDN for awhile, but just recently became available for Search. A big reason these audiences could be highly valuable for Search campaigns is that these users are closer to purchasing, or further down the funnel than those who are just beginning initial research.

Where are In-Market Audiences in the New UI?

There are two ways you can find In-Market audiences in the new UI.

Audience Manager

The first place is in Audience Manager. This page will show you just the audiences with the highest indexes. Click on the wrench in the upper righthand corner and go to Audience Manager:

Then choose Audience Insights in the upper lefthand corner, and choose the audience you want to see information for in the drop-down next to Insights:

After that, you can scroll down to the bottom box which shows the In-Market audiences for the audience you chose in your account. The following are for a client in the luxury travel vertical:

You’ll see the audience category, size, how many campaigns/ad groups it’s added to as well as the Index – for example, people in our All converters audience are 16.3x more likely than the general population to be in the market for Vacation Packages.

You are supposed to be able to add these audiences to your campaigns from this page, but we had no success doing so; it seems the Google team is still working out some bugs with this new targeting feature.  You should be able to just click the checkbox, then choose to Add to ad groups:

Once you choose the campaigns and ad groups you want, you’d choose the targeting type, then Add Audiences:

Campaign Level Settings

Even though you can’t yet successfully add In-Market audiences to your Search campaigns from Audience Manager, you can utilize that list to know which In-Market groups your specified audience is most often associated with and then you can search for and add these audiences at the campaign level. Just click through a campaign and choose the Audiences tab:

Click on the pencil icon, select the Targeting type you want (Targeting or Observation), then choose In-Market audiences:

Once you choose In-Market, a drop-down list will appear with a larger list of options than what Audience Manager shows. There is also a search function where you can look for the high Index audiences from Audience Manager.

Pro Tips for In-Market Audiences

Not all audiences you see in Audience Manager are available for Search campaigns yet. 

In my example above, we discovered that the highly relevant ‘Vacation Packages’ audience wasn’t available for our Search campaigns, even though it’s in our list of audiences in Audience Manager. When we tried to add it at the campaign level, it wasn’t in the list of audiences; I reached out to our rep who said that this means it’s not available yet for Search campaigns.

Check back regularly. 

Based on the response I received about the Vacation Packages audience, it seems that increasingly more audiences will be created or made available for Search campaigns, so check back often in your accounts.

Use Editor for Adding Audiences in bulk.

If you want to add audiences across multiple campaigns, you can add them to one and then copy/paste in Editor, at least until the bugs are fixed in Audience Manager if you prefer to work in the UI.

Add audiences as Observation layers first.

In-Market audiences for Search seems like a promising new feature, but as with all new targeting features, it’s usually best to roll out cautiously and methodically. Once you see which audiences work well in which campaigns you can start adding bid modifiers accordingly.

Add relevant audiences to all campaigns.

We added all relevant audiences to all of our Search campaigns as Observation layers. Adding them as Observation layers doesn’t hurt anything and you might be surprised at performance.

Add poor performing audiences as exclusions. 

Yes, this is possible and yes it’s probably a good idea if you find over time that an audience is performing very poorly in a campaign.


Ultimately, In-Market audiences for Search are just another step toward audience targeting and away from keyword targeting. It will be interesting to see performance shifts as audience targeting features expand and get more advanced.

If you’re interested in learning about more audience targeting features, you might like our posts about Custom Intent Audiences and Life Event targeting.