Back in the “olden days,” say two years ago, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising was really all about keywords that people searched for on search engines. Well, two years is like an eternity in online marketing in terms of the pace of change and the reality of today, and the immediate future is that there’s a lot more to it now.
Demographics are now part of the online marketing equation, and utilizing them as targeting options or in combination with other online advertising tactics like keyword advertising is the key to improving conversion success. There are several ways to combine these still relatively new tactics with your “traditional” online advertising tactics.
Remarketing has been with us for a while now and I feel like it’s been so successful that companies are already overusing it on the Google Display Network. What many online advertisers have still failed to realize, though, is that Google AdWords also has Remarketing Lists for Search Advertising (RLSA) that allows advertisers to bid differently in search advertising on keywords to members of that remarketing audience. Here are some possible uses:
Did your mom tell you that you need to marry someone rich? Believe it or not, Google now offers a way to only pursue higher household incomes with your advertising. These options are possibly the least known targeting tactics in the history of Google AdWords, which is understandable because they are totally hidden in what I think is a pretty un-intuitive spot: the Location Targeting section of Google AdWords Campaigns. Google says you can:
Target locations by demographics to reach groups of people based on their location’s approximate average household income. Based on publicly available data from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), advertisers are able to target ads to certain areas according to their average household income.
You can use this location targeting in combination with both search advertising and display advertising. I don’t recommend immediately bidding differently or excluding a specific household income range. Just like with the demographic options, the important thing is to take the time to set up all of the possible household income targeting ranges in your location targeting and then letting the data roll in over a period of months, so you can evaluate which average household income ranges work and don’t work.
You can set these location targets down to the country (US only), state, city, congressional district and zip code, and you can bid according to performance at all of those levels. Note: the more granular the targeting options, the longer you will have to wait to get actionable data to play with.
The Google Display Network has had demographic targeting options for age and gender for about 2 years, and parental status just recently rolled out. They can be pretty effective targeting options, but I find that they are most effective as a tool to exclude an audience or as data to use to lower your bid percentage. I haven’t had many instances where I’ve found compelling data that indicated I should bid more aggressively on a demographic.
You shouldn’t be surprised to see these targeting options roll out to search advertising in the future. Google is trying to Beta test them right now.
The only barrier to entry of audience building (with the exception for paying for social media clicks to build an audience) is time in set-up. You need to take the time to set up your remarketing audiences. Setting them at a granular level is important. Setting up household income targeting is time consuming (for the first one). You can easily expand those targeting options to your other campaigns with a simple edit in AdWords or AdWords Editor.
There’s also a time investment in waiting for audiences to grow to a scale that allows you to make decisions based on results. You need to think of it like planting seeds and letting them grow to the point where you could harvest them.
Once you get the scale of data needed, improvements are inevitable.