demographics targeting

AdWords recently introduced demographics for search ads (DFSA), making it easier for advertisers to reach their market. This new AdWords functionality should prove to be a huge asset to advertisers looking to improve their ad campaigns, especially those who are working to improve their conversion rate and want to take a more focused approach to audience targeting. Here’s what advertisers need to know to leverage AdWords’ new demographics for search ads targeting to connect with their audience more effectively.

What is AdWords Demographics for Search Ads?

Demographic targeting allows advertisers to hone in on specific audience segments that are the best fit for their business. Demographic targeting can be a powerful tool for advertisers. Leveraging DFSA will allow AdWords users to get the most out of their ad spend by preventing ad impressions from being “wasted” on the wrong audience. For instance, the buying intent of a woman in her 20s searching for “leather belt” is likely to be somewhat different than that of a man in his 60s. For a company that specializes in trendy women’s clothing, the latter buyer isn’t a great match for their products, but they may still end up serving ads to this user when they search the generic term “leather belt.” Properly executed demographic targeting will ensure that their advertising audience matches their buyer’s profile.

The demographics that Google uses for DFSA are derived from their account information, some of which can be edited at will by Google users. Additionally, Google sometimes receives or infers demographic information shared by social media or other websites, or from cookies that track their browsing history. As an example, Google may infer that a user is may be male in the 25-34 age range because he frequently visits sites that have a predominantly male user base in that age range.

What Advertisers Can Do with AdWords DFSA

In short, demographic targeting in AdWords can be used to set specific criteria for your audience to a given AdWords campaign. With DFSA, AdWords can automatically adjust your bids for specific audiences to ensure that your ads have a better chance of being displayed when your target audience makes a relevant search. It can also let you omit your ads from irrelevant searches to help you spend your budget more efficiently.

There are two major categories of targeting that advertisers can select using DFSA: age and gender. Advertisers may know that “parental status” is another category available for Google Display and Video ads, but this is not currently available for search ads.

Target by Age

AdWords offers the following categories for age targeting: “18-24,” “25-34,” “35-44,” “45-54,” “55-64,” “65 or more,” and “Unknown.”

Target by Gender

AdWords allows advertisers to select between “male,” “female” and “unknown” when targeting for specific audience genders.

For both Age and Gender, “Unknown” represents users for whom Google does not have specific demographic information. But before you rule these users out of your targeted ad campaigns, know that advertising “Unknown” users can be to your benefit!

Best Practices for Demographics for Search Ads

Use Data to Make Your Targeting Decisions

Because demographic targeting can block people from seeing your ads, which is generally what advertisers want to do with DFSA. However, this makes it especially important to choose your targets carefully when first starting out. Don’t make guesses or assumptions about who your audience should be. Instead, rely on the data you have about your current customers and from Google Analytics and AdWords as much as possible. When making your targeting decisions, consider conversion rates, not just your traffic demographics, to make sure that you’re not just bringing in a larger audience, but a more accurate one.

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Embrace “Unknown” Audiences

While targeting users who fit known demographic profiles is the goal of DFSA, the “Unknown” audiences can include potential business for you as well. Some percentage of any given set of “Unknown” users may very well fit your target demographics as well. If you omit this subset of users from your campaigns, there is a chance that you’re losing out on reaching potential buyers. You may want to experiment with including “Unknown” audiences in your targeting as well, to capitalize on individuals who may have slipped through the cracks.

Tailor Your Content to Your Audience

Use the fact that targeted ads have a more specific audience to your advantage by tailoring the content of your ads to your audience. Since you know that targeted campaigns will reach a smaller subset of your audience, you can write copy that will resonate best with the kinds of people you want to reach the most.

For example, an outdoor goods store can run ads specifically for women’s hiking boots when they target a female audience with demographics-focused ads while serving ads for men’s hiking boots to a male audience. If they were to run a more generic ad to a general audience (or a gender-specific ad to a general audience), they wouldn’t be able to take full advantage of the “personalized” touch that demographic targeting can allow for each audience segment.

Leverage Negative Targeting

Keep in mind that in some cases, choosing who you do not want to see your ads is as important as seeing who does see them. Make sure that low-performing keywords are included on your negative keywords list when you build out targeted campaigns, to prevent users who aren’t a good fit from seeing your ads.

Refining Your Target Audience with Webrageous

Using demographics targeting for search ads can be a great way to focus your PPC advertising efforts. When executed strategically, DFSA hones in on the search advertising audience that you want to connect with and helps you get the best returns possible from your ad spend.

Webrageous’ team of PPC specialists has extensive experience developing targeted campaigns that yield excellent results for our clients. To ensure that you are targeting your audience effectively, contact Webrageous today to learn more about our PPC management program.

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