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Paid Search (PPC)

Introducing ‘In-Market’ for Search and ‘Life Events’ Targeting

Interests and lifestyle targeting on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn have previously trumped that available on Google AdWords, or as it is now to be called, Google Ads.

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Brandy Melville Instagram

Keywords and basic demographic targeting were the main ways to reach target audiences, making it difficult to narrow your audience down to those with the right intentions, and at the right stage of the funnel for you. However, now the very much desired ‘in-market’ audience targeting for search, and ‘life events’ for video and Gmail only campaigns, have finally been making appearances in UK accounts.
A picture of a raccoon with the quote 'Yes, Finally'
So, what are they and how can you use them?

‘In-Market’ for Search Campaigns

What Are ‘In-Market’ Audiences?

‘In-market’ audiences refer to customers who are actively researching specific purchases. By matching those intentions to your product or service, your targeting becomes more focused on an audience who are not only more likely to convert, but who are also closer to the final stage of your conversion funnel.
Most commonly used for remarketing, this feature was previously only available in display campaigns, but can now be used in search campaigns as part of audience targeting.
If you’d like to familiarise yourself more with the targeting options available for display campaigns, take a read of our guide for Google Display Network Targeting.

How to Use ‘In-Market’ Audiences

Firstly, make sure you are using the new interface. *Groan*. I know it’s not ideal and that many people are struggling to get to grips with it, but this feature is not available in the old AdWords.

  1. In the audience settings for the campaign you would like to amend, click the pencil and select ‘targeting’ option.

Screenshot of the audience settings in the new Google AdWords interface
2. Click on the ‘what they’re actively researching or planning’ (in-market) option.
3. You will be presented with a range of options with further drop-down menus. Currently available in the UK is:

  • Baby & Children’s Products
  • Beauty Products & Services
  • Business Services
  • Cars & Vehicles
  • Clothing & Accessories
  • Computers & Peripherals
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Dating Services
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Event Tickets
  • Financial Services
  • Gifts & Occasions
  • Home & Garden
  • Property
  • Software
  • Sports & Fitness
  • Telecom
  • Travel

4.  You can only filter by term, phrase or URL, which is useful if you are not already familiar with the categories within ‘in-market’ targeting. You may find that a particular topic you are looking for is not available. In these cases, try broadening the range out slightly. So, instead of searching for “swimming clubs”, try “sports & fitness – fitness products and services – gyms and athletic clubs” or “sports & fitness – fitness products & services – fitness classes & personal training services”.
5. Once you have selected and saved your option, it will appear in your audience list where you can assign a relevant bid adjustment.
Screenshot of the in-market search targeting option within the new Google AdWords interface.
Don’t forget that your other bid adjustments will still be applicable. Beware of bid adjustment stacking, which could cause your CPC to increase immensely.

‘Life Events’ for Video and ‘Gmail Only’ Campaigns

What Are ‘Life Events’?

Another feature which AdWords is currently implementing into its audience targeting is ‘life events’. In another move to step away from focusing on keyword targeting and more towards the people behind the keyboard, ‘life events’ allow you to target users who are going through major life events.
Many more events are expected to be released soon, but for now, we have available:

  • Moving soon
  • Recently moved

University Graduation

  • Graduating soon
  • Recently graduated

Dog and engagement couples hand

  • Getting married soon
  • Recently married

Applicable to video and Gmail campaigns only, ‘life events’ have to be set at an ad-group level and can be used as either a target, observation or an exclusion.

How to Use ‘Life Events’

1. In the audience settings for the campaign you would like to amend, click the pencil and select the ‘targeting’ option.
2. If applicable, select which ad group you would like to associate the life event to. Then click on the ‘what they’re actively researching or planning’ (in-market) option.
Screenshot of the Life Event audience targeting feature in thew new Google AdWords interface
3. You will be presented with a range of options with further drop-down menus.
Screenshot of the life event options in the new Google AdWords interface

4. Select the life event/s most relevant for you and click save. The targeting option you selected will now appear in your Audience settings list.


Understanding more about customers, their intent and their online behaviour have all been part of Google’s ‘micro-moments’ initiative, and now we are able to utilise these understandings to improve our own online performance.
Google supporting advertisers to ‘be there’ and get their ads in front of a high-quality audience is welcome news to me, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else they can offer us in the near future.
For help with your PPC campaigns, get in touch with us today.

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