Google AdWords has opened up demographic targeting (or demographic bidding) to all AdWords advertisers according to the Inside AdWords blog.
Demographic bidding lets Google AdWords advertisers target demographic (lifestyle) variables such as age and gender and the targeting can be done on the Google Contextual Network (Microsoft adCenter has offered this since its beginning and Yahoo has offered this for nearly 10 years). This type of targeting is essential for Google to properly monetize their social networking partnerships with MySpace and Friendster.
Currently MySpace AdWords do target profile interests : eg. in my MySpace profile, I have Wu Tang listed as one of my favorite bands. When I visit another MySpace page, the Google ad served is for Wu Tang Ringtones.
Now, if an advertiser knows that primarily males in the age group of 25 to 30 like to wear yellow Puma shoes, then the advertiser can target their ad directly to that group.
Google AdWords going demographic (they’ve been testing it for two years with comScore and other third party data) is because of three primary causes:
- Google has had trouble monetizing MySpace contextual ads and the slow rollout of demographic targeting will help this. Furthermore, Facebook more or less slapped Google ‘innovation’ in the face with a better version of social ad targeting in Facebook Flyers / Ads.
- Google Ads get to slowly dip their toes into the profiling pool, without diving in with the result being a backlash of controversy. Google has depended on their contextual and search targeting for years while others, like Yahoo and AOL, have mastered online profiling.
- Google has now brought DoubleClick into the fold and DoubleClick will give Google the ability to let its advertisers effectively target Google users across the Internet via their online behavioral information. Introducing demographic targeting to its AdWords advertisers is going to give small to medium sized business the time to digest and understand this form of advertising, and get them ready for more options to come.