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Demographic Targeting for AdWords Explained

By Snap Agency June 8, 2017

Many SEO strategies involve generating organic traffic, which is when people find your sites using search engines or backlinks. Aside from the costs of hiring an SEO agency, organic traffic is free. That’s why organic traffic is so valuable.

But paid ads often play an important role, too. Recently, Google introduced some changes to AdWords. While your SEO agency will handle the details and provide recommendations, as a business owner you’ll still want to know what’s new with AdWords and how it affects your brand.

Let’s take a look at Google’s new demographic targeting for search ads:

The Importance of Demographics

For the first time ever, Google now allows for advertiser targeting based on demographics. While this has already been a feature available for Facebook and Bing ads, Google is obviously a big market all its own.

Now, AdWords can target users based on:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Parental Status

Identifying the Right Audience

Your target audience might not always be obvious. For instance, Google studies show that:

  • 56% of mobile searchers for sporting equipment are female
  • 45% of searchers for home improvement topics are female
  • 68% of searchers for body and skin care topics are male

Identifying your target customers is a data-driven process. Google Analytics, social media platforms and other sources all provide great info about who is buying from and how they’re discovering your brand.

An audience you understand is an audience you can market to. The data collected about your audience is used to create a customer profile. This is a detailed description of a fictional customer who represents your target audience.

Also called a “buyer profile” or “customer persona,” this imaginary customer is given an age, marital status, income level and more. Your direct all of your ads towards this profile. The language, topic and design of each ad is geared towards the interests of your customer.

Direct Ad Delivery

The combination of a buyer profile and AdWords targeting gives you a lot of control over your message. For instance, suppose your product is very popular among women between the ages of 45 and 60 who live in rural areas. Now you can create ads specifically for that demographic knowing you can reach them directly.

Setting up Demographic Targeting

Demographic targeting options are easy to manage. From within your AdWords profile, go to your audience tab, which is alongside your remarketing lists. To add bid modifiers:

  • Go to the “Audiences” tab
  • Go to the sub-tab “Demographics”
  • Switch between “Age” and “Gender”
  • Modify bids within the “Bid Adjustment” column

Specifics vary based on brand and budget, but there’s a general starting formula for determining your bid modifier. Divide the age conversion rate by the group conversion rate, subtract one and multiply by 100.

Occasionally, Google won’t be able to match a large chunk of traffic. This will display as Unknown data. While you might be tempted to exclude this data, Google strongly encourages you to keep it:

“Exclude the ‘Unknown’ demographic category only if you’re sure you want to restrict your campaign to a narrow audience. Excluding ‘Unknown’ might prevent a substantial number of people from seeing your ads, some of whom you might want to reach.”

Display and Video Campaigns

Demographic targeting for Display and Video campaigns includes additional options. You can sort by the parental status options “parent,” “not a parent” and “unknown.”  Video campaigns are sortable by household income.

The Power of Segments

Internet marketing has a big advantage over offline campaigns. Online allows for a ton of data to be collected about who is visiting your site and what actions they’re taking there.

Google Analytics lets you create up to four Segments. These are groups of customers organized by interests, demographics or other criteria. Segments act like a filter. They can be easily removed or applied while leaving tracking data unaffected.

How Does Demographic Targeting Affect Your Business?

Don’t worry if the details of AdWords are a little confusing. Your SEO agency will be able to determine the best strategies for your business. What you really need to know is that new changes to Google AdWords make paid ads more effective than ever.

As a business owner, you probably already have a good idea of who your customers are. You speak their language and understand their motivations. Working with an SEO agency, you can create an ad campaign your target audience will respond to.

Reach an audience which is highly motivated to buy the products or services you sell. Looking for more information on how demographic targeting on AdWords can help your business? Ask your questions below and we’ll be happy to help!