Google Analytics Demographics: Hit or Miss?

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In Q4 2013, Google announced that Analytics would now be able to integrate demographic information, including age, gender, and interest/affinity categories.

Where does Google get the inside scoop? We’ve found it to be a several factors: your Google+ account, your previous searches on Google, and the websites you’ve visited (which is based on cookies from sites within the Google Display Network).

You can actually check what Google thinks of you here in your ad settings. When I checked, they certainly got my gender and age right, but those interest categories are a bit off (Banking, East Asian music, and Hair Care are the standout NOPES).

So this begs the question: How do Google’s “inferences” about page viewers affect advertisers?

google-analytics-demographics-Jeromes-Furniture-logoScott Perry, Director of Ecommerce at Jerome’s Furniture, weighs in:

“For our business and product category, ladies typically have the most influence over purchase decisions, and Google Analytics substantiates this trend with data. According to our Analytics, women convert 30% better than men, spend almost twice as much, and have a per visit value that almost doubles the norm.

What this tells me is that I should pay special attention to and target women with my display advertising campaigns since the Google Display Network is one of the better programs for narrowing in on specific demographics.

google-analytics-demographics-Scott-Perry-jeromesAnother insight I found in Google Analytics (“Demographic Interests”) was that we convert 50% better for people surfing real estate sites. This is pretty intuitive given that people looking to buy homes also need furniture. Using this data, I can target this qualified segment of my audience more aggressively.

Overall, Google Analytics demographics data may not be 100% accurate all the time, but it paints a good picture about my target market and helps me make educated decisions about how I target specific audience segments.”

Google Analytics Demographics and Your Advertising Campaigns

Syncing Google Analytics data with your advertising campaigns (PLAs, AdWords, Display ads, etc.) is a no-brainer when you’re looking to optimize results. In this study, Google Analytics demographics data was fairly accurate at predicting gender but not age.

However, the real benefit to advertisers from this new integration are the affinity categories, which at the very least can provide an actionable snapshot of your target market.

To validate Demographics and Interest Reports for Analytics, head here.

About the AuthorJon Gregoire is the Director of Demand Generation at CPC Strategy. Jon heads up the agency's inbound marketing program. A UC San Diego grad, Jon is a Chicago native and full-time San Diego tourist. He enjoys Bear Grylls-like backpacking trips, archery, weekend getaways in Southern California, watching his beloved Chicago Bears, and bidaily coffee consumption. See all posts by this author here.