It seems like much of the news coming out of Google Ads and Bing is the continued push towards audiences whether they be custom made or created by the platforms themselves. From in-market audiences for search, custom intent audiences, and I’m sure more in the future, we’re being presented some great targeting options and you really need to be testing these out across your own accounts.

Finding that perfect customer

The newest creations have been really focused on top of funnel efforts and enhanced targeting to reach a better consumer. Being able to focus your energy and build impression share in front of users who fit a specific profile, rather than people who simply searched some keywords, is a great shift in finding that next converter.

If you haven’t already, I urge you to begin the process of layering audiences over your search campaigns to start collecting data. See how these users interact with your ads and then you’ll be able to make better decisions down the road.

Where to Find the Best Audiences

Really, the best place to start is by browsing through the in-market options and what similar audiences have been created for you in Google Ads. That will give you a great idea of what is out there and how close you can get to your specific vertical.

If nothing seems to fit squarely, there are two other options that may give you some great starting points for testing. First, you can navigate to the audience tab in Google Analytics and check out the interests of various users. Since layering audiences doesn’t have to include bid modifiers, you can start collecting data on how they compare to your normal traffic.

In the new Google Ads interface, there is also a portion called audience manager that may give some great information on your top performing lists. If your account is generating enough data, Ads will give you a breakdown of relevant audiences you can potentially use on top of funnel efforts; be it search, Display, YouTube. Sometimes you’ll be surprised what is in there and start a snowball of ideas.

Audience Manager

Some Real-World Examples

I’ve been testing out layering similar audiences and in-market audiences across various search campaigns for a while now and have started getting a good amount of data behind many of my accounts. While everyone’s results will likely differ, I strongly urge you to do the same and begin this data collection process.

Car Dealership

Buying a car is generally a long process with a lot of research that goes into finding the right brand, model, year, and price. That gives a lot of intent signals for Google to hone in on and bucket users into specific categories, be it brand or condition (used or new) of a vehicle. Getting in front of users with a high intent of buying can be really valuable so it is definitely worth a test.

Dealership Performance

More data is likely needed here but we’re seeing some positive signs. While not pictured in this data, CTR compares very favorably while we’re seeing slightly lower CNVRs. With these in-market audiences being users who likely haven’t interacted with our site before, it’s no surprise they’re interested but not quite ready to convert yet. That’s why it’s imperative to have a strong remarketing funnel built out.

Healthcare Jobs

This example also takes advantage of a very specific in-market category for healthcare & medical jobs. Here we’re seeing even stronger performance from the in-market audience list. For being users who are much less informed than someone who has visited the website, we’re seeing CTRs 28% lower but CNVR only 12% lower. CPL was only 18% larger for a new audience which is a big win.

Healthcare Jobs Performance

Here is a great example of using these lists to efficiently expand growth opportunities. Rather than putting an ad out in front of everyone searching, maybe focus your reach and boost impression share for these strong performing audiences.

Healthcare Jobs in Bing

Credit where credit is due, Bing launched in-market for search before Google did which makes you wonder how far along their curated lists are compared to Google Ads. For the same brand on Bing (granted much different account structure), we’re seeing incredible performance from these lists.

Bing performance

Leads are being generated 79% cheaper than what we’re seeing from website visitors. It seems like Bing has really nailed the intent behind one searching for this specific list and this allows us to increase bids for these users and show even more prominently to these high-value users.

Bing does really make you work for this data as one can’t bulk add in-market audiences by using the Editor. It is a long process, ad group by ad group, to associate these across your account. It does look like the effort is worth it and potentially a great Friday activity.

Final Thoughts

There is no harm in spending some time and layering these audience types across your account whether they be similar audiences or in-market audiences. Start collecting data now and you’ll be able to make better decisions sooner based off of them. It’s a pretty powerful thing to tell a client that you’re able to focus bids on people that Google & Bing have deemed “in-market” for something already or are similar to users who have already converted with your company in the past.

As we push more towards automation, there is a slow shift away from nitty-gritty, day to day changes we as account managers make and an increasing focus on the bigger picture. Google does factor in audiences within their bidding models which can be one extra step above your competition.

At the end of the day, we need to begin thinking beyond what our customer could potentially be searching and start thinking about who our target customer is.