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March 9, 2006

Google rolls out demographics targeting

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We all knew it would happen sooner or later. Without much fanfare, Google AdWords has added a feature enabling customers to target their ads based on age, gender, income or “some other factor”. Advertisers can select up to three categories to set preferences and the matching is a wide net rather than a laser focus, catching everyone that fits in any of the categories not only those that fit in all the categories.

These ads will be displayed on the Google Network (in other words, AdSense) so those of you who choose only search pages and not content pages are still out of luck. Bidding is on a cost per thousand (CPM) model as are all site targeted campaigns. As it becomes more and more available, demographic targeting will become a popular avenue for advertisers looking not just for more traffic but also better conversions. It only stands to reason that if ads are seen by a very targeted niche audience, that audience will be more likely to buy what you are selling.

According to John Battelle, Google is working with Comscore/Media Matrix to classify domains in the Google network with Comscore’s panel-based demographics. At this time demographic site selection is available only for campaigns which geo-target users in the United States. The deal is non-exclusive so look out for Yahoo to jump on the bandwagon soon enough. MSN of course, has been touting their demographic targeting all along.

Google recommends using several methods to identify which sites are most appropriate to display your ads. To help you out the Help Center entry on demographic site selection links to How do I use the site tool? Some more helpful advice comes from Brent Franson in the comments to MarketingPilgrim’s entry on this topic.

  1. Make sure to check the site before adding it to your site-targeted campaign.
  2. Understand that the predicted impressions per day refers site impressions not ad impressions. It is interesting to note that the estimated number of impressions per day for cnn.com and match.com is 0-10k but bookofmatches.com is at 100-500k and plentyoffish.com at 500k+
  3. Review organic and PPC efforts of prospective sites to better estimate traffic and target audience.

Solid advice even without demographics targeting.

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