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Explained: Google’s New Demographic Targeting Options


The purpose of any advertisement is to reach people who might be interested in buying your product and online advertising services are unique in that they allow for incredible customization and targeting.

Google AdWords is the largest platform for marketers and even though Google has always given advertisers excellent control over who sees their ads and when recent developments have taken this a step further.

Age, gender, and location data have been pretty standard but new demographic targets are even more specific. Digital Marketers can now target searchers based on their status in the areas of education, parenthood, homeownership, and marriage. With this level of sophistication, advertisers have even greater control over who sees their ads. Being able to refine your audience in this way not only increases your chances of finding a potential buyer but also ensures that your money is being well spent.

Google gets this information from people when they are logged into their accounts but they may also get information from social networking sites and mobile apps. Google is also able to make estimations based on certain activity.

Advertisers can then use this information to target demographics and create more appropriate bid adjustments. Excluding demographics can be just as beneficial and advertisers can do this as well. The following explores these new targeting options a little further.

Parent or Non-Parent


The parental status isn’t so much a new feature as it is an extended one. Prior to now, advertisers could target parents but only in their display campaigns.

This extension gives advertisers the tools not only to target parents in their search campaigns but to target them specifically based on the age of their children. While Google won’t allow you to target minors with your ads, you can target the minors’ parents, who generally hold all the buying power. If the information is known, you can target parents who have children between age 0 and 17.

Before, if you were trying to target parents in your search campaign, you couldn’t do so directly. Now you will have the option to target both parents and non-parents if the information is available. If not, you are simply left with an “unknown” option.

As you can see, this new demographic targeting for Google is a lot more specific. Rather than just targeting parents, in general, you can take things further in your display campaigns as well as your search campaigns to potentially drive more sales and conversions.

Married, Single, or in a Relationship

A person’s buying habits tend to change once he or she gets married. Couples have different needs and they generally need to consult with one another before making a purchase. With Google’s new demographic targeting, advertisers can target people based specifically on their marital status. Depending on the product or service, this can be extremely handy.

Not only can you target people who are married but you can specifically avoid married people and go solely after single men and women as well. You would also have the option to target those who are “in a relationship” but not yet married.

Student or Graduate

Some advertisers may also wish to target people based on their education status and Google’s new system makes this possible. Targeting options include high school students, college students, and graduates.

This could be somebody selling a product meant specifically for college students or an actual college looking to target recent high school graduates.

People’s education status also says a lot about their personal lives. For example, high school students generally lack disposable income and advertisers may wish to avoid this demographic and aim for a more financially stable group. Alternatively, knowing that somebody is a graduate could lead to information about his or her professional status and advertisers may wish to target individuals based on their career paths.

Homeowner or Renter

Google ads give advertisers the ability to target individuals based on household income but that has existed for a little while now. The new targeting options make it possible to target people based on homeownership or renter status.

A homeowner’s needs differ from those of a renter and both individuals have different needs than somebody who is simply a resident in somebody else’s home. There are many products that are specific to homeowners or renters but there are also many products that neither group would have any interest in.

For example, a renter who has limited control over the appliances in his or her building wouldn’t have much interest in a new refrigerator. A homeowner, on the other hand, would be a prime candidate.

How to Use the New Demographics

With these new targeting options, you better optimize your advertisements and the options include:
  • Targeting specific groups
  • Excluding specific demographic groups
  • Greater bid customization
  • More unique campaigns
If you want to specifically target married men with kids under five who are college graduates, you could potentially do so. Or, if you wanted to target single mothers who are also attending college, you could potentially do this as well. It all depends on the product or service that you are advertising.

Before you commit to any particular demographic, Google allows you to “observe” different options and see their performance. By adding your desired demographic audiences to observation, you can observe how audiences interact with your ads. Once you gather enough information, you can start adjusting your bids based on how well the ads do.

Despite what the name suggests, the detailed demographic options are actually located in the “audience” section of your ads. From there, you can make the necessary selections and set your bid modifiers.

Alternatively, if you wish to exclude one of these demographics, you will have to locate the “exclusions” tab and select the demographic audiences that you wish to exclude.

Obviously, it’s difficult to guarantee that everybody who sees your ad is a potential buyer but by knowing your target audience specifically, you can limit the number of people who aren’t a part of that group from seeing your advertisements. You can do this through demographic targeting. Google’s new targeting options allow you to get even more specific than before; in doing so, you can make your ads more effective.

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