Business > Merchant Voice

For PPC ads, filter by demographic data

Driving traffic is at the heart of building a successful ecommerce business. There are so many retailers and so many options for consumers that you must continually find new ways to drive traffic. The most common methods are search engine optimization and pay-per-click search ads.

In this article I will focus on PPC ads. It is much faster to implement than SEO, but, conversely, it typically costs a lot more money. A good PPC strategy is therefore critical. Some keywords drive traffic but they don’t convert and, as a result, waste a lot of money.

There are two key aspects associated with PPC ads.

  • What keywords are driving high-converting traffic?
  • Who is reading and clicking on your ads?

A lot has been written and discussed about the first point. There are also many tools associated with controlling bid per keyword and keyword analysis. But very little is mentioned regarding the second point. Who is clicking on the ads? That is more critical to me than the keywords themselves!

Old-school direct marketers have known this for years. In the old days, marketers would have told you that who you mail or advertise to is more important than the message. If you sell tires, for example, you would likely sell more if you could present your offer only to people with bald tires.

But online retailers often try to market to all consumers that use a certain search term, regardless of whether they are likely to purchase.

Look Beyond Keywords; Include User Demographics

Google Analytics now includes demographic information. You can see which visitors are most likely to make a purchase on your website. Using that data can dramatically improve PPC ad performance, in my experience, as follows.

  • Determine which visitors by age, gender, and points of interest are most likely to buy from you.
  • Tailor your messages to this focused market.
  • Bid higher or lower based on the likelihood of a certain demographic making a purchase.
  • Make changes so that a certain group who is not buying will be more likely to buy.

On my company’s website, for example, visitors between ages 18 and 24 purchase very seldom and, when they do, their average order is very low. On the other hand visitors between 35 and 54 are much more likely to buy and are spending much more per order. The 35-to-54 group spends more than 10 times what the 18-to-24 group spends. So why should we spend the same amount of PPC ad dollars on both groups?

So look into your Google Analytics demographic data. Isolate your broad target demographic and apply these as filters to an AdWords campaigns. We used age, and the results were impressive.

Test this with your own AdWords account. Make a separate campaign with the demographic rules in place and compare the results. This will make your search engine advertising targeted and optimized, as you will match the consumers’ search intent with their likelihood to buy.

As usual, I welcome your comments and questions.

David Sasson
David Sasson
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