The #1 Marketing Platform® for Small Business

Access Plans & Pricing Now

Contact Info

What services are you interested in? (Select all that apply) *

(Access code sent via text)

Business Info


No credit card required

Already have an access code?

Marketing 360® Blog

An Introduction to In-Market Audiences

Post By Scott Yoder | Paid Search

Is your audience in the market for your product, almost ready to buy?  Now you can track them to that point in the buying journey and tailor your ads accordingly.

When you walk onto a car lot, the salesperson does an assessment.  They want to know if you’re actually in the market to buy, or if you’re just a tire kicker.

Obviously, their interest peaks if they realize you’re further into your buying journey and actually ready to buy.  That moment is the climax of the sales process, where money is made.

Traditionally, identifying people who were actually in the market was difficult, at least as far as targeting advertising was concerned.  An outbound TV commercial, for example, is the opposite of in-marketing targeting. It’s delivered to the widest possible audience with virtually no criteria to guide delivery.

Salespeople had to wait until a shopper “walked onto the lot” to target leads in the market or hope they were in the right place at the right time.

But now, in a world dominated by digital mediums, we can track people right to the moment they’re in the market, and create ads that connect to that vital point in the buying cycle.


How In-Market Advertising Works

Essentially, in-market audiences track user behavior, recognizing key points in their buying journey based on the content they consume.  Here is Google’s overview:

Much of this has to do with tracking people who visit review and product comparison sites.  For many products, one of the most common searches is “product name/type + reviews”.

When a shopper does these searches and visits these types of sites, it signals buying intent.  Google takes into account:

  1. Clicks on related ads related to the targeted product and subsequent conversions.
  2. Content of the websites and pages visited.
  3. The recency and frequency of the visits.

Say, for example, I’m interested in buying a Subaru Legacy.  My browser history reflects visits to and  My search history shows searches on “Subaru Legacy reviews”, “best prices on Subaru Legacy” and “Subaru Legacy vs Honda CR-V”.  Last, I’ve searched on Google Maps for “Subaru dealerships near me.”

It’s looking like a pretty good time to put an ad for a Subaru Legacy in front of me.


Set-Up and Keywords

In Adwords, you’ll create a campaign based on the in-market interest you want to target.  This has expanded to cover a large variety of interests:

google in market ads

Right now you can only use in-market audiences in Display and YouTube video campaigns.  However, in Spring 2017 Google announced they plan to expand in-market audience targeting to search campaigns.

In-market and other audience targeting indicates a shift in the way we use keyword targeting in search.

For example, in the past it would have been expensive for an eCommerce business selling baby products to do a broad match search on a phrase like “baby strollers”.  The search alone didn’t reveal enough buying intent, so we’d do phrase or exact match for keywords like “best deals on baby strollers”.

However, algorithmic machine learning structures campaigns based on an understanding of intention, which narrows the audience.

When a person shows through their search and browsing behavior that they are in the market for a baby stroller, the keyword targeting can be much broader.  Overall, this should simplify the keyword targeting for many search-based advertising campaigns.


A Move Towards Machine Learning

Google has changed its tune with regard to using search data and other user metrics.

Early on, Google was inclined to protect user privacy.  Their general belief was that users would shy away from using search if they felt their behavior was being tracked and used to target them with advertising.

However, other digital mediums – in particular, Facebook – have changed both advertiser and consumer expectations.

Today, most consumers are aware that their online activities leave a trail that reveals information about their interests, lifestyles, and buying habits.  Likewise, advertisers see an unprecedented treasure trove of data that allows for remarkably precise targeting.  Google has moved with trends to allow advertisers to take advantage of searcher data.

A trade-off takes place.  Online users get to search on Google and connect with their networks on social media for free, but in exchange they let advertisers use data to target them with specific content.

And there is another advantage.  As you see more ads for things you’re in the market for, you see fewer ads for things you’re not interested in.

A new generation of consumers is growing up in a world where advertisers will know what interests them and even when they are in the market to make a purchase.  So long as advertisers keep the content relevant and don’t bombard people, it will become accepted.

What are you in the market for?  Google knows it and wants to tailor your content.  What was a futuristic scene like this one from Minority Report is fast becoming a reality.