Dipping your toe into the New User Pool with Audiences

by Anna Bermel on Tuesday 12 February 2019

In the current UK economic and political climate, a lack of consumer confidence and tightening of the purse strings is having a negative impact on retail, especially on the high street. This in turn, is putting more pressure on digital to drive growth at a competitive ROAS.

To say that previous site visitors have a higher conversion rate is a no brainer. They have already engaged with your brand and know what you are about. However, even with a wealth of cash-rich loyal customers, you are unlikely to drive YoY growth unless you turn your focus to acquiring new customers. With budgets that are often restricted, we must turn to more sophisticated audience signals to inform strategy.

Using Data to Acquire New Users

When remarketing lists for search ads (RLSAs) were first launched by Google back in 2013, they were a game changer, turning underperforming campaigns into ROAS success stories in a couple of bid adjustments and targeting tweaks.

6 years on, Google has become an even bigger part of our lives, processing over 40,000 search queries/second, and has developed more advanced algorithms to study users’ search behaviour. So much so, that Google can pretty accurately determine your age, gender, parental status and even your level of education. All of this data allows us to dip our toes into larger pools of users, and it is the interplay of these lists when collectively applied that enables us to go after new users in the most informed way possible.

Arguably one of the most exciting audience features of 2018 was the introduction of In-Market audiences on paid search. A feature previously found only on the GDN, In-Market audiences allow marketers to target new users based on their purchase intent behaviour. For example if someone has been to a number of fashion websites, added a handbag or two to their basket and then moved on, then they will enter the ‘Handbags’ In-Market audience. This adds a level of qualification to a user segment that was intimidatingly broad in the face of tight budget and efficiency controls.

Whilst many brands have a clear idea of who constitutes their target audience, Google gives us a helping hand via the Audience Insights tab, highlighting what users in your remarketing lists are also in the market for. As with all targeting options, the idea is to add everything to your campaigns on ‘observation only’, sit back, wait for the data to roll in. Next steps are to refine your audience exposure to align with your KPIs.

Future of Targeting

Further developments at Google HQ are encouraging us to use automated bidding more and more, and are quick to feed new signals into their algorithm. As products such as Responsive Search Ads develop, they will also be using machine learning to serve the best copy to each specific user, making the addition of In-Market audiences to campaigns even more valuable.

But of course, it’s not just about Google, Bing have been quick off the bat to launch their own version of In-Market audiences. Whilst they might not have as much data at their disposal, these audiences are still a great way to increase scope via an informed approach.


With new customer acquisition at the forefront of many brand strategies and automation becoming ever-more dominant, leveraging increasingly sophisticated audience segments has never been so valuable or important in ensuring you are choosing the most relevant people to increase your campaign reach.