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Keeping Up With Google: What Are In-Market Audiences

Mike Farrell

Google Ads continues to update audience targeting capabilities with new features like in-market audiences. The targeting method debuted as a display and YouTube ad functionality and has since expanded to search campaigns.In-market audiences empowers retail marketers to target consumers who are actively looking for their products. It promotes efficient spending and reaches consumers who are more likely to make a purchase.

In this installment of Keeping Up With Google, we’ll explore how to implement in-market audiences and what this targeting tool means for retailers’ businesses.

Release Date:

Google first released in-market audiences for display and YouTube ads in 2014. It expanded the targeting functionality to search campaigns in 2018.

What It Does:

In-market audiences is a Google Ads targeting tool. It allows retail marketers to reach consumers who are actively researching or in the market for a specific product. Google uses its machine learning algorithm to identify high-intent search queries and behavior. It uses those insights to deliver ads to more targeted, valuable audiences.

In-market audiences includes consumers who have recently clicked on ads for similar products, are actively searching for a specific product, or have browsed websites related to a certain product. It is available for several verticals, including Apparel, Beauty, and Travel. Marketers can view the full list of verticals on Google Ads when setting up in-market audiences.

Marketers can implement in-market audiences at the campaign or ad group level. To do so, go to the “Audience” tab in Google Ads. Click the edit icon and choose an existing campaign or ad group. Select “Observation” and then select “What they are actively researching or planning (In-Market).” Finally, select all the in-market audiences that apply to this ad group or campaign. For example, marketers can select “Travel” as well as subcategories like “Air Travel,” “Car Rental,” or“Hotels and Accomodations.”

Which Channels:

In-market audiences is available for display, YouTube, and search campaigns.

What It Means for Your Business:

The biggest challenge retailers face on Google Ads is finding new ways to scale in the face of a hyper-competitive environment and rising costs. Retailers place most of their marketing focus on the bottom of the funnel where return is higher. While that will always be important, it is becoming as important to fill the top of the funnel. Successful retailers must invest ad dollars to fill the funnel with the most qualified customers.

In-market audiences is one way retailers can target more qualified customers on Google Ads. Like similar audiences, it helps retailers reach new prospects early in their shopping journey and nurture them toward a purchase. Other targeting tools like remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) let retailers target or remarket to known consumers who are near the bottom of the funnel and closer to purchase.

While the idea behind in-market audiences aligns with retailers’ business goals, the results vary. Marketers’ early tests have shown poor performance and suggest the targeting logic needs further refinement. Google is always updating and improving its tools, so its capabilities will likely evolve. For now, be careful when targeting these audiences.

Retail marketers should align the audiences to the product sets they are targeting in a given campaign or ad group during setup. This will help deliver the most relevant ads with in-market audiences.

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