It has been almost a year since Google announced its rollout of in-market audience targeting for search campaigns, allowing us to target and evaluate users by topics in which they have recently shown an interest, based on browsing history.
Many advertisers – including me – routinely add all in-Market audiences to campaigns on ‘observation’ mode, giving us insight into the performance of each audience segment without actually altering the targeting of our ads.
Often we see strong enough performance patterns between the audiences to justify bid adjustments or exclusions, but more interestingly a handful of general trends have emerged in how the different in-market audiences behave.
1) Travel does well
Specifically, the Travel in-Market audience seems to perform much better than average in various high-ticket, non-travel industries, e.g. kitchens, financial services, architectural services…
It could be a simple case of travel buffs having a high level of disposable income and therefore being a better bet for certain markets where that’s a requirement.
2) Employment does badly
I’ve noticed the ‘employment’ audience producing a high CPA in several accounts.
This also makes intuitive sense. Apart from (likely) correlating with spending power in the opposite direction from travel, it will also pick up a higher proportion of searches from users looking at the advertiser as a potential employer.
In the same way that ‘jobs’ is generally applicable as a negative keyword, this in-Market audience could be one that’s worth excluding from most campaigns.
3) The obvious ones aren’t always the best
The effect of the ‘on-topic’ audience varies and is not always favourable (e.g. the ‘financial services’ audience if you’re promoting an Escrow service, or ‘sporting goods’ if you’re promoting sportswear).
To consider why, remember to factor in that conversion rate and cost per conversion are measures of your success from users once they’ve already clicked…
Although you might be more likely to pick up a click from a user that you know has shown an interest in the relevant topic, there are good reasons why your advantage might reduce on the other side of that click.
The fact that they have already shown an interest (that’s been picked up by Google) means that they’re not one-stop shopping. They have already been in some sense ‘browsing’, and may well continue to do so.
They may be more ‘picky’ buyers if they are researching a topic over an extended period of time, or they may have a professional interest in the topic (just as you as the advertiser probably feature in the in-Market audience for whatever you’re advertising…).
Finally remember – while it’s interesting (and sometimes useful) to speculate about why these patterns emerge…. when it comes to day-to-day optimisation it’s the what that matters.
Whenever a pattern comes through with enough strength and consistency, it’s an opportunity to optimise. Use it to your advantage!
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