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The evolution of audiences in search and their importance

As the evolution of paid search continues, it is even more important to stay abreast of the industry to ensure we’re ticking all the necessary boxes to deliver maximum efficiency for our clients. This is particularly the case with the growth of audience targeting and adoption within paid search. Following Google’s H2 Product Kickoff, there are now some additional audience introductions, which will further facilitate the shift from a keyword focus strategy to one that is audience-centric, aligned to the intent of the user. But before we talk about the new updates, what are the main features available now and the tactics deployed to generate growth?

Remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA)

Remarketing for search certainly isn’t a new feature but is undervalued in its effectiveness of driving efficiencies. RLSA allows us to bucket users into ‘lists’ of intent based on where they have been on a site. In doing this, we’re able to manipulate performance through bid adjustments based on site depth. Across some of our clients, on average we have seen a 21% increase in conversion rates, simply by applying bid modifiers against returning users. Via a different tact, for a finance client, we have implemented RLSA as a way to align ourselves with business objectives: this client values new customers more from a commercial perspective. Via RLSA, we are able to implement a strategy that splits the account in half between new and returning customers, thus optimising the account towards their objectives.

In-market audiences

The introduction enables us to overlap Google’s in-market audiences across search campaigns. This allows us to apply Google Display Network (GDN) audience data applicable to the client and up-weight bids against any relevant audiences who index higher. This was deployed on a home improvement client, with good success. We saw users who were in-market for certain products have a 10% higher conversion compared to all users. Again, this is highlighting the point that audience data is beginning to play a bigger role in search, influencing user behaviour and overall performance.

What’s next on the horizon?

Recent updates from Google indicate that a focus on audiences in search is going to continually evolve and to be an integral factor for overall growth. Those who don’t adapt will be left behind. Introductions around ‘detailed demographics’ and ‘remarketing custom combinations’ are going to further facilitate this growth for advertisers. The next level up, and ‘dream’, will be the implementation of household income. For those clients where price sensitivities play a part, this will revolutionise activity, allowing the focus to be on more ‘affluent’ people.

All Response Media viewpoint

In short, the paid search space has seen a visible shift from a sole focus on keyword targeting to a one that encompasses the behaviour of users as a key factor. To further grow accounts and improve efficiency, it is imperative advertisers adopt an audience-centric approach, ensuring both bidding and messaging (including on-site content) is tailored to the intent of the user.