Problems with targeting “in-market” audiences

In-market targeting is powerful & risky at the same time

What are in-market audiences?

As the name suggests, “in-market” audience includes users who are in market to buy a product or avail a service. As a customer , you may have often experienced the following scenario : You are researching online about a product (say a phone) & then end up seeing a whole bunch of display & you-tube ads about the phones out there ?

Who leaked you out ? The very search engines that you used for your research ! When you research quite a bit about a product or service , a search engine knows that you are in market to buy that. They then add you to the in-market audience pool for the product. Marketers can then target you as a part of the pool.

Which platforms allow you to target in market audiences ?

Both Google & Bing allow you to target inmarket audiences. They allow you target specific inmarkets for products, solutions & content. In market targeting has been around since 2013. Earlier it was available for Display & YouTube. In recent years you can also target “In-market” audiences through search ads.

Problems with In-market targeting:

In-market targeting is expensive

When it comes to digital advertising, how much you pay depends on the competition that you are up against. In-market targeting is really popular among marketers & thus you can be rest assured that your competitors are all trying to woo the same audience. As a result your in-market campaigns may prove to be expensive.

On the other hand however, this form of targeting allows you to put the money where the chances of winning are higher. Thus the cost per click that you pay , may eventually work out well for you because you can expect a higher Conversion Rate.

In-market audience may stale quickly

When you need to buy a phone – how much time do you spend researching? You may research for a week on various search engines & then end -up making the purchase on Amazon. One you have made a purchase – you are officially out of market ! But the question is – how would search engines know? They may make some guesses ( average time taken to complete research for a product) & update their audience pool accordingly – but there is still a chance that you would show your ads to folks who are already out of market.

In my opinion it makes sense to target “in-markets” when the time to purchase is relatively higher OR when there are repeat buys expected.


It’s definitely possible to put together a successful in-market strategy. We just need to be sure that we are spending wisely. It may make sense to negate folks who have already visited your landing page (you could target them through re-marketing). It also makes sense to put a cautious daily budget in place with a strict upper limit. As and when you start understanding the campaign performance better – you could increase your budget.