27 Sep 2012

How to Use Demographics Targeting For Better Results on Google

September 27, 2012PPC Advertising

Your company manufactures baby products and you’ve found that new mothers between the ages of 25 and 33 tend to make up your core audience. Now that you have this information, Google has made it easy for you to use it to your advantage. Targeting your AdWords campaigns by demographic is a great way to ensure that you are reaching the most relevant potential customers. In 2011, Google released a beta that made targeting by gender and age a reality, and it has proved extremely helpful for companies who already have a basic understanding of their customer base.

Google uses cookies to track customers who visit websites that have partnerships with the Google Display Network. Each cookie assigns a unique number to that computer’s browser. Historical information will be used to determine demographics like age or gender based on other sites that have been visited by that browser previously. Other website publishers (often social networking sites like Facebook) sometimes provide additional demographic information provided directly by the person manning the browser. More recently Google has used information obtained from mobile apps to determine demographics like age, gender and location as well.
Demographic targeting is now a widespread AdWords feature available in 39 countries around the globe. It’s likely that you have noticed “Age and Gender” targeting options within the Display Network tab of your AdWords account, making it simple to adjust your settings for maximum visibility. As long as it’s available in your region, you can use demographic targeting in accordance with any other targeting features on the Google Display Network (keyword contextual targeting, interest categories, etc.), which gives you a variety of options to reach your potential customers. Interest categories, for example, give you the ability to display your product or service on groups of websites relevant specifically to your business. This allows you to narrow your targeting even more by organizing your ads to appear only on websites that appeal to customers with a specific interest, in addition to using gender and age as key filters.
After all, if you have an understanding of the people who are most likely to respond to your product, don’t you want to make sure that they are the ones seeing the ads? Relevance is more likely to result in profits for you and your company. If you are in fact targeting new or expectant mothers, it probably won’t be as necessary for you to display your ads to both genders. By skewing to a female audience, you are reaching customers with a direct desire and need for your product. You could also choose to exclude users projecting male demographics entirely if you wanted to ensure that this ad was being shown exclusively to women.
Google also houses lists of browsers with “Unknown” statuses. This means that demographic information is unavailable for these select users for any variety of reasons (they have disabled cookies on their browser, etc.). You can still opt to display your ads to this “Unknown” audience by selecting this category. Note that excluding this category can cause a significant chunk of people to miss your ads entirely, so it’s often recommended to keep this category selected to ensure maximum exposure.
Did you know that it’s possible to make selective bids that correspond with specific age groups? This is a great way to display unique ads to different groups of customers, and you can price your bids accordingly to make sure that your ads are being shown only when the best-targeted matches occur. For example, if you were advertising health insurance options, you may want to show a variety of ads to people in different life stages. Someone who is right out of college would desire a different health insurance plan than a family of five. You can strategically organize your bids to retain the best ROI from customers in different age groups.
Demographic targeting is a great way to learn more about your audience, increase your clicks and maximize your profits. Reaching out to relevant customers can make for cleaner campaigns and increased conversions. Having an understanding of your audience goes a long way – knowing how to reach them gets you even further. Be sure to take advantage of Google’s many demographic targeting features, and try combining them with other key factors to get the most out of your display campaigns.