Have you noticed a change to your Google Ads? I’m not talking about the recent rebrand the company announced. I’m talking about the all-new in-market audiences feature Google unrolled last month. Available in both Bing Ads and Google Ads, in-market audiences gives search marketers a brand new tool to reach audiences on the search engine results page (SERP) in a more targeted way.
What is it?
Put simply, in-market audiences allows you to find users whose past search behavior and browsing habits indicate they’re more likely to buy your product or services similar to yours. If you’re familiar with Facebook’s in-market targeting or Google Display Network’s in-market features, you’re on the right track.
Although your typical remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) audience knows who you are, in-market audiences are in a similar situation, but don’t know who you are. They are searching for products or services you offer, but may not have heard of you before.
This makes them ideal targets for new campaigns, while giving you the reassurance of a conversion you get in a remarketing campaign. Essentially, you’re targeting people who are ready to buy what you offer, in this case, a shiny new car or truck.
How does it work?
Let’s say you’re a dealership that sells Acuras and want to promote your SUVs. You run a successful pay-per-click (PPC) strategy and you advertise on the keyword “Acura MDX.”
With a keyword like this, your ad will pop up in the results of tens of thousands of people looking for new SUVs in their area. Many of those people are just shopping around, looking for a good price or maybe some inspiration for what they want.
But a few others have done their research already. They’ve researched “best luxury SUVs for 2018” and have already decided they want the MDX Immersive Entertainment Package, as well as other packages and finance options. They may have even searched on “Acura MDX test drives near me.”
Their search for “Acura MDX” looks no different from any of the thousands of other searches out there, but these searchers are much more qualified leads. Thanks to in-market audiences, the search engine knows that they are in the market for a new car in their area, based on their past search history.
Being able to identify these ready-to-buy leads allows you to adjust your budget accordingly and get better quality conversions from your ads. For a dealership, this means you will get even more granular targeting than your local business targeting already allows.
The first wave of in-market audiences includes more than 150 groups that cover popular sectors, including clothing, travel, finance, and education. Bing and Google will be adding to their list of audiences over time.
What kind of conversion rate are we talking about?
The feature is still new, but the latest results are looking very promising. In-market audiences are highly targeted, focusing on a tiny share of your audience. But these people are much more likely to click through and convert.
Early estimates show that with in-market audiences, people being served these ads are 162% more likely to click through. But more importantly, they are more than twice as likely to convert on an ad that appears in a relevant search.
If that isn’t enough, if you refine the targeting of your campaigns, you have the potential to decrease your cost per action (CPA) by more than 50% on average, at no additional cost to reach the same audience.
What’s the best way to implement in-market audiences?
Just as with any new PPC feature, don’t jump in head first. You need to gather data and tread carefully. Otherwise, you could drastically reduce your PPC budget.
Start off small, with “observation” targeting and a small bid adjustment. If you’re a Bing devotee, this is your “bid only” option. This has been tried with a handful of audiences across a few industries, and early results indicate a noticeable improvement in PPC performance.
Our team has learned that different in-market audiences groups have some crossover, so get creative with your thinking. When you sell new cars, the “Motor Vehicles New,” “Motor Vehicles By [Brand],” or the “Luxury Vehicles” audience will probably make up your primary focus. But you might find that people in the “Auto Loans” audience may also be in the market for a new car soon.
What’s the catch?
Even when you use broad keyword terms targeting popular markets, at any given time, only about 5% of searchers qualify as in-market. So you’re looking at tiny numbers compared to your usual PPC campaigns. Bear this in mind when putting your strategy together.
You should also remember that in-market audiences should not be the be all and end all for discovering the nature of your converting audience. Gather more data with demographic targeting options and RLSA remarketing campaigns. The more data you have, the better picture you can assemble.
In-market audiences are just one tool in the Swiss Army Knife that is today’s paid-search landscape. PPC is all about gathering data, refining your campaigns, and gradually improving your conversions over time.
In-market audiences are a great new way to refine your campaigns and target a very specific, ready-to-buy audience. Although it’s still in its early stages, take a look and see how it can improve your paid-search campaigns.
Adam Blackford-Mills is sales and marketing director at MRS Digital, with more than 10 years of experience digital marketing. Adam works tirelessly to develop digital solutions that expand online marketing potential for businesses and delivers results. Using innovative and actionable thinking, Adam crafts a unique digital experience for every business.
Latest posts by Adam Blackford-Mills
- How In-Market Audiences Boost Your Dealership’s Paid-Search Performance - September 27, 2018