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Marketing Next Part 4: Unlocking In-Market Audiences for Search

By Sarah Russell

Google continues in their quest to personalize search for every individual user and their circumstances. They have now announced that in-market audiences, currently available only for campaigns on the Display Network or YouTube, will be rolled out to search campaigns in the coming months.

According to Google, in-market audience targeting “uses the power of machine learning to better understand purchase intent. It analyzes trillions of search queries and activity across millions of websites to help figure out when people are close to buying and surface ads that will be more relevant and interesting to them.”

Thanks to Google’s access to vast amounts of data on user behavior, they are able to analyze intent signals, such as recent search queries, website browsing activity, etc., and identify prospective students who are close to taking action on their decision to go back to school. This information can empower advertisers to become more effective at serving the right message, to the right user, at the right time.

For education marketers, however, the big question will be how we can leverage these in-market audiences strategically to make an impact. Many of the keywords that are part of an EDU search campaign already carry a high level of intent, so will layering in an audience that is in-market for education provide a measurable lift in performance?

Where these in-market audiences are likely to be most impactful for EDU advertisers is within generic campaigns, where keywords like “online education” might be too expensive or convert too poorly for advertisers to be able to bid on effectively. In these situations, an advertiser can layer in the education in-market audience, essentially saving their budget on these terms to be used only when a prospective student is expected to be closer to conversion.

This is an exciting time for education advertisers; as prospective students become more sophisticated in how they search for and choose a school, advertisers must also increase the sophistication of how they market to these prospective students. Google is helping us do this by evolving how advertisers think about their audience, beyond the keyword they search, and arming advertisers with the tools to deliver what a user is searching for, when they are ready to convert.

Read other posts in the Marketing Next Announcements series:

Why attribution matters   

Faster is better with AMP for search and search and display

Working smarter with Google Optimize & Google Surveys 360

Google’s next steps in audience targeting