Zeroing In On Your Demographics

One of the first questions that I like to ask of client prospects is this: “What is your target demographic?”.  I often tend to receive pretty vague answers, inspector-160143_1280such as “all homeowners”, “everyone” and “not sure”.

This is an important question, though.  The question translates to “Where should we focus our marketing efforts?”, which translates to “How can we get the biggest bang for our buck?” and “Who is this message meant for?”. Knowing your target demographic allows you to maximize your marketing efforts by zeroing in on the people that are most likely to buy.  Some might argue that there’s value in expanding your audience – and there is – but in order to know how to expand, you still have to know who you’ve already done well with and who you haven’t and you still need to make sure that you’re messaging appropriately.

To make matters more complicated, you might find that the demographics of the people that you reach online vs offline are skewed. Sometimes clients launch new accounts hoping to targeting demographics that performed well offline for them but find that they do better with a different demographic, be it age, gender or something else. That’s not always the case – if you consider Hollister or Abercrombie and Fitch – the core demographic is probably going to be the same online and offline. However, if you think about a company with a wider inventory like Walmart, Sears, or Nordstrom, you might start to see some vast differences. The person who orders out of a catalogue (is that even possible anymore?) probably won’t fit into the same demographic as the person that shops in store and the in-store shopper demographic will likely skew from the online shopper.

So How Do We Find this Highly Valuable Information?

While many large companies may have access to consumer intelligence from comScore, Hitwise, or alternate marketing data sources, that’s not usually financially feasible for medium and small businesses. Sometimes it’s hard for even large businesses to justify the price tag attached to the data.  Fortunately, there are ways to garner information about your demographic for free!

For starts, Google Analytics has a handy dandy report around demographics and interests. It is really helpful to visualize performance across different groups and can help you to determine where your marketing has been most effective.  It may also help you to consider the sites that top-performing customer segments are visiting and the things that they may be searching for.

In addition, AdWords has built-in demographic data within their display campaigns, which is super-awesome. Not only can you visualize the impact of your ads across different ages, genders, interests, audiences and parental statuses, you can make optimizations in real-time to take advantage of these insights.  Implement bid modifiers to adjust bids for high and low performing demographics, or flat out exclude demographics that are spending money without converting.

Now What do We Do With it?

So now that you have this information – it’s time to use it to your advantage!  You can now build campaigns targeting the customers that you know are most likely to convert. As you build out your creative, make sure it speaks to the intended recipient. You might even consider building remarketing audiences based on people in those top performing demographic segments that haven’t yet converted. Or create display and social campaigns with those personas in mind. (Read more about building and leveraging personas, here!)

Get more tips on how to maximize display efforts by checking out other posts in our #DigIntoDisplay series!