Using Google AdWords Demographics

14th November 2016

The amount of data gathered about customers online now makes it possible for Google AdWords to offer a demographic targeting function for PPC advertisers.

 

How Does Google Determine Demographics?

On mobile devices and on home desktops, Google is able to access information on the location of the device. On mobile, this is usually a function of GPS, or cell tower data. At home, it is typically possible to track down an IP address and located it to within a few hundred feet of a known network location. People opting out of this via Ad Settings do not provide this kind of information.
There is less precision however, when it comes down to some of the other options, though the huge data set that is produced through search results and through tracking on the Google display network can be used to infer the ages and intentions of site visitors.

 

Example: The Luxury Car

There is less precision, however, when it comes down to some of the other options, though the huge data set that is produced through search results and through tracking on the Google display network can be used to infer the ages and intentions of site visitorsPeople searching for luxury cars can fall into the group of buyers or dreamers. How can a search engine PPC specialist separate these groups? Well, it comes down to detective work. They will consider:

  • Assumed Age
  • Location (as a proxy for income levels)
  • Gender

This will split out the less likely buyers. The SEM team will typically choose to target 35+ males in affluent subdivisions of a city.

 

How Google Decides on Age and Gender

Google itself will build profiles to use in its advertising. Whilst the information they can gather is not personally identifiable, it is possible to build up a good impression of someone from the websites they visit. For instance, we could assume that someone visiting makeup sites and a dating site is single and female. If we add on a University website, for instance, we can then assume that they are towards the younger end of the age spectrum. Data on household income is only available in the USA, however, location can be used as a proxy for this information source.

 

Typical Demographic Targeting Options

  • Age: “18-24,” “25-34,” “35-44,” “45-54,” “55-64,” “65 or more,” and
  • Gender: “Female,” “Male,” and “Unknown”
  • Parental status: “Parent,” “Not a parent,” and “Unknown

 

The Unknowns of Demographic Targeting

Not everyone online is known. Of course, Google will know the identity of many people using their search system, whilst logged in (the clear majority of Android mobile device users or those who have a Gmail email address for example), but not all sites or searches provide demographic details. In addition, some websites on the Google Display Network opt out of demographic targeting, so if you want to show your ads on those sites, leave the “Unknown” category selected.

There are also a number of people who share the same profile on one PC, this makes it harder to identify the correct demographic.

 

How a PPC Advertiser Can Use Demographics

We can usually assume that certain search terms will be gender and age specific. There is unlikely to many calls for prom dresses by males or by females who have left school or college. However, what if your chosen terms might be used by both genders and all ages. This is exactly where the ability to target demographics comes in. Imagine that you own a female only gym. Many of the same search terms will apply to both men and women.

For instance, not all women will have considered a female only gym and are unlikely to be using search terms that differentiate their gender.  By setting these ads to appear only to females, the gym can increase the effectiveness of the advertising campaign.

For more advice on demographic targeting and PPC in general visit https://dommarketing.co.uk/ppc-advertising/