Google's New In-Market Audiences for Search Ads + How To Use

By Tinuiti Team

Google first announced in-market audiences for search ads at Google Marketing Next last year in San Francisco.

The much-anticipated feature, which uses machine learning to analyze “trillions of search queries” to determine the purchase intent of users, is now in public beta for advertisers using AdWords.

Here’s how in-market audiences for search ads work, their targeting advantages, and how to set them up for your Search campaigns in AdWords. 


in market audiences search ads


“In-market audiences can be particularly useful if you want to hedge your bets on prospecting audiences that are likely in the process of buying something you sell.

google Responsive ads professional
-Adam Harms, Senior Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy


What Is In-market Audiences?

In-market audiences is a powerful AdWords targeting tool for reaching users that are determined to be researching or in-market for a particular product.

First released back in 2014, in-market audiences was only available for Display and YouTube campaigns. Google has now expanded them to Search campaigns for the first time in 2018.

How does it work?

In-market audiences use Google’s powerful machine learning to analyze a trove of search queries and user website behavior to identify users that are in-market to purchase a product.


in-market audiences for search ads


We covered the feature in last year’s post, Can Google In Market Audiences Improve Conversion Rate?:

“In-market audiences use Google’s massive amounts of search data to analyze behavioral signals. This allows advertisers to target users who are actively searching for products at a time when they are ready and willing to buy them.”


search network with display select


-Lewis Brannon, Senior Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy

Let’s say you are creating a campaign to sell your utility travel backpack.

Now you can select “in-market audiences” when setting up your search campaign to target users who:




These behavioral signals are incredibly important for advertisers, as they can use in-market audiences to refine their targeting toward users who are further down the funnel.


High-intent Targeting Can Improve Conversions, Reduce Wasted Spend

By using targeting audiences that have a higher purchase intent, advertisers can better drive conversions and remarketing performance, which improves campaign ROI.

Lewis says,

“It’s much more than just serving an ad to someone who is browsing the web like Display does. Essentially, In-Market Audiences for Search is adding an extra level of intent targeting, which should help improve conversion rates.”

google search campaigns funnel cpc strategy in market audiences for search ads

Layering in-market audiences can be an important part of supporting your top-mid funnel initiatives when used in tandem with other robust targeting capabilities:


Adam says,

“Check the In-Market Audiences section of Google Analytics to see which ones perform well across your site. Often, you’ll be surprised by which segments perform best.”


How to Use In-market Audiences for Search Ads

You can set up in-market audiences for Search campaigns using the new AdWords interface.

1. Create or navigate to an existing Search campaign.

2. Navigate to the Audiences tab.

3. Select the blue edit icon in the top left.


in-market audiences for search ads


4. Select your campaign / ad group.

5. Select ‘Observation,’ as the targeting method, which was  ‘Bid Only’ in the previous AdWords.

6. Next, select ‘What they’re actively researching or planning.’


in-market audience search ads


7. You can now select a list of in-market audience categories for your Search ad campaign.


in market audiences search ads


Want to learn more about the targeting capabilities of Google AdWords? Check out these posts:

What is Google AdWords’ New Detailed Demographics Feature?

Google Custom Affinity Audiences | Quick Guide + How to Get Started

7 Advanced AdWords RLSA Tactics You Should Be Using



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