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Microsoft Advertising In-market Audiences and Custom Audiences features can help you to increase conversions and reach curated audiences. When you use one of these targeting features, your overall campaign performance boosts, and as a result, your bids can improve as well.

You can now set up your ad group to be exclusive to an audience with an In-market Audience or available to everyone, but with a bid adjustment for your targeted audience. In-market Audiences are powered by Artificial Intelligence to help curate well-performing segments.

After reading this Study guide on In-market Audiences and Custom Audiences, you will understand how to:

  • Create richer audience segments using more of your customer data.
  • Reach more customers with the In-market Audiences feature.
  • Associate ad groups as target and bid, bid only, or as an exclusion.

In-market audiences

In-market Audiences are curated lists of people who are ready to buy. These are potential customers who have shown purchase intent signals in searches and clicks on Bing and page views on Microsoft services.

The performance lift metrics for In-market Audiences are proof they work. For example, Ads shown to In-market Audiences have seen a 5% greater click-through rate (CTR) than the same ads shown to non-audience targeted users. The same is true for an increased conversion rate (CVR), only the number is even greater, at an estimated 17%.

How does it work? Microsoft Advertising supplies the curated list of potential customers, unlike Remarketing, where the advertiser creates the list, Microsoft Advertising does all the work for you and builds the list – simply associate it to your campaign and you’re ready to go!

In-market Audiences are simple to set up and don’t require UET tags. You can set up your ad group to be exclusive to an audience with an in-market audience or available to everyone, but with a bid adjustment for your targeted audience.

To select In-market Audiences, click on the Ads groups tab from the Campaigns page.  Then Select the ad groups you want to associate with audiences from the grid. Click Edit and then Associate with audiences.

Update the Ad group targeting and Ad group exclusions details for the selected ad groups. Click Save. To manage your In-market Audience list, select the existing audience associations you want to edit from the grid. Click Edit to Pause, Delete, Exclude, or Change the bid adjustment.

You can set up bulk associations of in-market audience by selecting the ad groups you want to associate with audiences from the grid. Click Edit and then Associate with audiences. Update the Ad group targeting and Ad group exclusions details for the selected ad groups. Click Save.

Learn more about the over-500 (and growing) different in-market segments currently available, as well as how to associate to your In-market Audiences to any combination of ad groups. For starters, this chart shows the scale limitations:

Number of associations Limits

Number of associations

20,000,000 per account

Number of associations that can be created in bulk

Refer to limits in bulk upload

Number of associations that can be viewed,
edited, or deleted by Microsoft Advertising

Refer to limits in bulk upload

 

Tip: To evaluate in-market audience performance, run one campaign with no audience targeting and run the same campaign with in-market audiences associated. This will help you understand how audience targeting can help to Remember, in-market audiences can be associated to ad groups for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. You can associate in-market audiences to shopping campaigns’ ad groups and monitor performances, and Exclusions can be used for in-market audiences and all audience-targeting offerings. Enhanced CPC works with in-market audiences.

In-market Audience best practices

Getting started

Choose the In-market Audiences category that best aligns to your business goals. It’s important to start with the right set of customers, to help you focus your budget on people who matter to you.

By Associating “In-market Audiences” to existing top-performing ad groups
with “bid only” targeting, you won’t duplicate your campaigns.

This approach will help you:

  • Compare performance.
    Compare the same ads running with In-market Audiences and no audiences associated. (Note, the report should consider the date range when the association was added, as sometimes new campaigns or ad groups are added without adding the In-market Audience association.)
  • Manage your campaigns more easily.
    Duplicating your campaigns so you can isolate audience targeting performance takes more time to manage — the same result can be achieved more efficiently without duplicating. Consider duplicating your highest volume campaigns after testing if your return on time spent is justified.
You can either start with a 20%+ bid-boost - Recommended based on analysis of In-market Audience performance across the Microsoft Advertising Network – or if you know you’ll need to take a more cautious approach to prove it out first, you can start with a 0% bid modifier. As time goes on, increase it to increase to 20% or more.
 

Using targeting options

To begin, Microsoft Advertising recommends bid only targeting. Bid only targeting is quick and easy to bid up (or down). It can help you show (or not show) your existing ads to the In-market Audience(s) you choose.

Target and bid targeting requires a significant time investment in customizing your keywords, ads and website landing pages, which many people don’t have time to do with initial setup before evaluating performance.

Also, you cannot use a target and bid setting for some audience lists and a bid only setting for other audience lists in the same ad group – i.e., bid only for In-market Audiences and target and bid for Remarketing.

You can only select one targeting setting per ad group that will apply to all your audience lists in that ad group (either target and bid or bid only). Whichever setting you've selected most recently (target and bid or bid only) overrides any previous settings — the best practice is to double check you are clear on which targeting setting you’re using.

Modifying bids

  • If you see your conversion rate is greater with your In-market Audiences associated, bid up. If your conversation rate is not satisfactory, bid down — the rest of your campaign will be more efficient.
  • Start bid-boosting up with your highest volume campaigns. Time is limited — bid-boost on your highest volume campaigns by spend and conversions first to realize the greatest impact.
  • Consider auto-bidding where you have higher conversions.
  • If you have a negative bid modifier on an audience list, re-invest efficiency gains into the non-audience keyword bid.
Capturing more volume
  • Audience targeting works across all campaign types, including Shopping Campaigns, Bing Intent Ads and Dynamic Search Ads.
  • Capture more volume by extending campaigns across device types or running mobile-only campaigns, which can account for 25% of Microsoft Search Network search volume.
  • Consider broader search terms that tend to be highly competitive and expensive keywords, while keeping your budget on track by using audience targeting.

Using targeting solutions together
Microsoft Advertising recommends you use all the Microsoft Advertising audience targeting solutions in combination to best reach your customers: Remarketing, Custom Audiences, and In-market Audiences.
 
Together, they can help you reach both potential and existing customers by combining your own customer data and Microsoft Advertising data. Microsoft Advertising will only serve the ad to the user on the audience list with the highest bid modifier, meaning you won’t be charged multiple times.

Custom audiences

A custom audience is a type of remarketing list generated by using your own first-party customer data to create richer user segments. You can use custom audiences in conjunction with your remarketing lists, usually through your data management provider (DMP). With Custom Audiences, you can build lists of website behavior and unique customer attributes, based on your CRM system. In bringing your own customer data, the sky is the limit with options for targeting. 

Here are a few examples of Custom Audience segments that can be used as a remarketing list: 

  • Purchase history
  • Lifetime value
  • Tenure
  • Subscriber type
  • Renewal period
  • Time since last purchase
  • Status tier
  • Customer referrals

When your DMP connects to our custom audience feature, you can then import your custom audiences into Microsoft Advertising for search remarketing. You can use custom audiences separately from remarketing, with no Universal Event Tracking required.

Custom audiences can be associated to ad groups as target and bid, bid only, or as an exclusion.

Custom audiences will appear in the Audiences section of the Shared Library in Microsoft Advertising once your software integration is complete. (This might take 48 hours.)

Set up

To get started, your DMP must first Integrate Microsoft Advertising custom audience APIs into their platform. They must also agree to Microsoft Advertising data sharing and privacy policy.

Depending on the provider, they'll have their own enablement steps within their software. Be sure to contact your DMP for details on how to enable this feature.

Once the integration has been completed, your custom audiences will appear in the Audiences section of the Shared Library in Microsoft Advertising.

Note: Only first-party audience data (data that you collected from your own website or apps, for example) is allowed for targeting on the search network.

Associating Custom Audiences

To associate custom audiences, click on the Audiences tab from the Campaigns page, click Create association. Select the ad group(s) you want to associate with one or more audiences.

Under Ad group targeting, select the audience categories you want to target for the ad groups. Select your Targeting setting.

  • Bid only: Shows ads to people searching for my ad, with the option to make bid adjustments for the selected audience.
  • Target and bid: Shows ads only to the selected audience, with the option to make bid adjustments.

Adjust the Default bid adjustment. By default, new targeting associations are set to 15%, however, the bid adjustment can range from -90% to +900%. Under Ad group exclusions, select the audience you want to exclude. Click Save.

Associating Custom Audiences to multiple ad groups

From the Campaigns page, click on the Ad groups tab. Select the ad groups you want to associate with the custom audience. Click Edit and then Associate with audiences.

Under Ad group targeting, select the audience categories you want to target for the ad groups. Select your Targeting setting.

  • Bid only: Shows ads to people searching for my ad, with the option to make bid adjustments for the selected audience.
  • Target and bid: Shows ads only to the selected audience, with the option to make bid adjustments.

Adjust the Default bid adjustment. By default, new targeting associations are set to 15%, however, the bid adjustment can range from -90% to +900%.

Under Ad group exclusions, select the audience you want to exclude. Click Save. Follow the same steps for target and exclude ad group associations.

Custom Audiences can be associated to Shopping Campaigns and can be associated to ad groups that run across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. They are supported across the entire Microsoft Search Network, including syndicated search partners.

Exclusions are allowed with custom audiences, allowing you to exclude a custom audience from a campaign. For example, an advertiser can exclude their list of "Platinum Customers" from their ads targeting new customers. Enhanced CPC works with custom audiences.

Note: Microsoft Advertising won't apply any bid boosts until the associated custom audience has at least 1000 users.

Summary

Microsoft Advertising In-market and Custom audiences can help advertisers improve campaign performance through greater capabilities to target specific users. Both features help curate high-quality audience lists that are quick and easy to set up and manage.

Key takeaways:

  • Custom Audiences works like remarketing and can be associated to ad groups as bid only, target and bid, or as an exclusion.
  • In-market audiences help you increase conversions by reaching an audience more likely to convert in your industry category.
  • Both features allow you to reach potential customers and optimize your campaigns.
  • You can set up In-market and Custom audiences without a Universal Event Tracking (UET).

Thanks for reading this Study guide on In-market and Custom Audiences. Continue studying or take the Microsoft Advertising Certified Professional exam to become certified.

Please note all features in this Study guide may not be available in your market.