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Demographics for Search Ads: The Future of Profitable PPC?

Written by Darren | 03-Oct-2016 14:34:00

Google have finally fully rolled out demographics for search ads globally. This is great news for us at equimedia – we have been running demographics for search ads (DFSA) in BETA on a number of accounts, for a while now, and have seen strong results.

Google uses the data of their signed in users that have Gmail, YouTube or any other Google product and determines their Gender and/or Age from the profile information. Google then analyse this data to identify trends and patterns in their search behaviour. You can 
learn more about demographics within AdWords here.

For users where the demographic is unknown Google assume their Gender or Age based on the data they see for their signed in users. The data they use is extremely robust and a user is matched to a specific demographic. A user is only assigned a certain demographic if the data is 99% statistically significant, meaning that the confidence in this data is strong.

The demographic options in AdWords are as follows –

  • Gender
    • Male
    • Female
  • Age
    • 18-24
    • 25-34
    • 35-44
    • 45-54
    • 55-64
    • 65+

You can access the demographic targeting in your PPC account under the audiences tab.

This is a powerful tool for PPC account managers, it means that the Search strategy can be refined and become more specific. DFSA offers much greater control of who sees your ads and has lots of potential to reduce wastage.

You have two options with DFSA –

  1. Bid Only

    you can raise/reduce bids based on certain demographics, allowing you to streamline budgets to your most efficient areas.
  2. Target & Bid

    you can target specific demographics that match your target market, in addition to this you can also exclude certain demographics.

If you are targeting or excluding specific demographics you must be mindful of volumes. The user numbers in each demographic is unknown and it can be even harder to estimate how many of these will perform a search that triggers your ad! It’s likely that the second option will perform very efficiently but volumes will be smaller.

The target and bid option allows you to utilise DFSA further and create tailored copy for your demographics. This is something we trialled with one of our clients who operate in the property market.

Through consumer profiling we identified the average age of a first time buyer of a new home, we then set up first time buyer specific copy and targeted the relevant age group specifically. A highly relevant ad will resonate with the user and help to improve click through rate and conversion rate on this pot of users.

First Time Buyer Specific Ad

An Ad for Older Audiences

We also targeted older demographics with tailored copy referencing home exchange and schemes.

Serving relevant ads is the essence of PPC and its all designed to boost CTR and conversion, DFSA give us a fantastic opportunity to do this, we’ve seen very good results from our DFSA tailored ads. We tested these DFSA ads on both Brand and Generic.

The results of our DFSA activity vs. the standard PPC activity can be seen below.

We’ve seen a staggering improvement in generic CTR, which proves the worth of the relevant copy. In a highly competitive market we are able to grow our market share with demographic specific ads, coupled with this we also haven’t seen any increase in CPC or cost per lead which is ideal.

Through Brand we didn’t see a difference in CTR as we would expect, we did however see uplift in conversion rate, so it could be argued that the clicks coming through the demographic ads are driving clicks that are more pre-qualified.

The Future for Profitable PPC Growth?

Now that AdWords gives us the ability to control the demographics that see our ads we have a much more reliable way of growing our PPC accounts in an efficient manner. As well as tailoring our ad copy and structuring our bids per demographic we also have the opportunity to negate certain demographics, which (in theory) should help improve efficiency through reduced wastage and improved conversion rates. For me, I think the demographic targeting lends itself to the ability to carry out linguistic testing in the future as we begin to learn about our audiences and which CTA’s and buzz words resonate with age group or gender.

The future of PPC account structure could well be influenced by demographic strategy, with campaigns and budgets segmented by gender and age. Account expansions could well be created at demographic level first, then built out from there onwards. It’s exciting times for PPC execs as we are able to tap in to our audiences a little more.

If you haven’t heard or utilised this AdWords feature yet and would like to know more or discuss how to progress your PPC activity through DFSA then please give us a call!