Online Advertising

Google AdWords’ new demographic targeting will soon be available

23 October 2016 Eugénie Delhaye

Google AdWords currently allows advertisements targeting based on user’s location (country, city, postal code) on the search network. However, a new demographic targeting system will appear on all AdWords accounts in a few weeks; this update will allow advertisers to refine their targeting even more.

Indeed, it will soon be possible to broadcast advertising to users based on their gender and age on the Google AdWords search network in the same way on platforms like Facebook and Bing.

This new feature is called “Demographics for search ads” (DFSA).

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Implications of the new demographic targeting on Google AdWords

Like most new features on Google AdWords, the new targeting system may not involve any change in your PPC campaign if you decide not to use it.

But this demographic targeting will allow you to manage your Google AdWords campaigns in a different way, as the new data will available for you to use.

Would you rather target men or women with your ad campaign? Would you like to increase your bids for male users? You will thus be able to emphasize female or male clients, by setting higher bids for the women or men, for example.

Demographics appear at your ad groups level, under the "audiences" tab, as we can see from the screenshot below.


Users will be targeted according to the following age groups: 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65 or more. "Unknown” data is also available; this designates users for which Google could determine neither sex nor age.

Why use this new demographic targeting system on the Search Network?

With the use of demographic targeting, Google AdWords will enable you to customize a campaign in different ways on the search network. Even if a man and a woman do the same research on video games, the conversion rate could be completely different between the two sexes.

Thus, if in the end the advertiser discovers that their video game website is particularly visited by men, but that women often end up buying more on the website, a bidding adjustment may be set up to encourage purchases by female users. The cost per conversion on a campaign could thus be reduced through these optimizations.

The company Sylvan Learning has used data from demographic targeting on Search Network by adjusting the auctions for women aged 25 to 44. This bid adjustment has enabled the company to lower their cost per conversion by 25% according to Google.

By targeting users aged over 45 years, the company AARP got a click through rate higher than 65% and a 15% lower cost per conversion rate.

These results thus demonstrate that the use of demographic targeting on the AdWords Search Network can be particularly beneficial for companies.

Use demographic targeting with care

Before using demographic targeting to exclude a particular age group on the Search Network, it is important to analyze your own data. According to an article by Think With Google, we may lose 70% of consumers on mobile if we define our audiences only on the basis of demographic data.

Consumer intentions will lead to unexpected actions that we cannot always predict. According WordStream, 40% of consumers buying baby products live in a home without children. So if you are selling products for young parents and want to target only young mothers, it could cause you to lose potential customers that are clearly looking for gifts.

As previously indicated, unfamiliar demographics will also be available on Google AdWords. It is strongly recommended that you not completely exclude this category because it may include a large number of users. Therefore, the number of clicks and conversions could decline by excluding 'unknown' users in your campaign.


Demographic targeting on Search Network was officially launched on Google AdWords September 28, 2016. However, this new feature will certainly still take several weeks to appear on all advertising accounts. So you still have some time before discovering who your biggest buyers are.

Before adjusting your budget or excluding a certain demographic on your campaigns, we recommend you to analyze your data to avoid errors so as to not negatively affect your AdWords ads.

Do not hesitate to contact us at 514 572 7758 or via our contact form if you would talk to an expert who will answer all your questions.

Eugénie Delhaye
Cofondatrice et Spécialiste Marketing Internet et Référencement Naturel (SEO) Ma maîtrise des techniques de référencement, combinée à une analyse minutieuse des tendances du marché, me permet de créer des stratégies SEO sur mesure, efficaces et durables.
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