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For Those About To Buy

Wouldn’t it be useful to know not only what customers were interested in buying but also when they were interested in buying it? This is the thinking behind a new Google AdWords option, In-Market Buyers.

Like certain other recent Google releases, it has been rolled out quietly and has only started to show up in settings this week. It provides a useful option for businesses preparing for Christmas and it represents an interesting advance in user categorization technology.

In-Market Buyers works by tracking individual users searching on Google and observing which websites they are most interested in. If, for instance, a particular user is visiting a lot of home furnishing sites, that person is probably interested in purchasing furniture in the near future. There is a caveat: if the same item is being looked at repeatedly on the same site, it may in fact indicate that the user already owns the item and is looking for information on usage or maintenance, but this can be taken into account by the In-Market Buyers algorithm.

This approach may even be useful to a site already among those a user is frequently visiting. In this context it can act as a reminder and can help to position that site foremost in the user’s mind when payday comes and it is time to make the purchase. It can also help to secure repeat business, as shoppers still looking for more products are reminded of a site where they have made a purchase before.

The In-Market system will not work on some users, of course, as it remains possible for individuals to opt out of having their searches tracked by Google. It may miss a lot of potential customers when it comes to sites selling tech-related products, as users are more likely to understand and use the opt-out system.

This does not really matter, however, as advertisers should still get what they pay for and, due to the filtering the system applies, they will not be wasting ads on users who have a general interest in their area but are not very likely to make a purchase.

As each business sector is likely to respond differently and as the value of purchases varies, it is probable that this system will make better financial sense for some businesses than others and will need to be used more widely before clear data emerges; however, in the meantime, early adopters may enjoy an advantage at a crucial time of year.

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