GA Demographics and Interests Reports

There are two new reports in Google Analytics that allow you to gain a better understanding of your audience and of how your website is performing: Demographics and Interests. These new features add a deeper level of analysis for profiling your website visitors by providing well defined users personas by age, gender and tastes.

The insights you can gain from these new tools can be critical for optimising your campaign landing pages for different audience types, improving user engagement, and conversion in niche and targeted areas. So all this means you can make much more informed decisions by using what you learn from these new reports

Let’s take a closer look at how the reports work and how you can make the most of them.

What data are the reports showing?

Demographics report: shows data about visitor’s gender and age

These reports will show you gender data on a percentage ratio (e.g. % male vs. % female pie charts) and age date in classes of traffic, e.g. how many visitors are in the age range 18-24, 25-34, 35-44 etc.

Interests Report: shows a visitors split by a defined interest category. Specifically, three different types of visitor:

  • Affinity Audiences: Classifies visitors by lifestyle interests, e.g. News readers, TV lovers, music lovers, sports fans. These categories are defined broadly and in a similar way to TV audiences.
  • In Market Audiences: Classifies audiences by users actively considering buying categories of products, similar to the ones your website offers.
  • Other Audiences: Classifies users by the specific content they consume on the internet, e.g. arts and entertainment sites, computer and electronics, travel sites.

How is Google capturing the data?

Google knows everything, we know this, but how can it know everything?

The secret is Google partners’ third party cookies, like Double Click. Targeted ads on the Google Display Network can store information of a targeted campaign (and audience) via cookies. Age/gender targeted information can then be captured this way. The principle is the same for the interest categories too; when a user visits a Google partner website, the specific content of the page serves the user with contextual ads, which can capture the category of interest.

Although this potentiality is huge, Google cannot always define demographics and interests categories. When the third-party cookie is not associated with a user, or in relation with a specific browser, those data cannot be captured. Therefore only a subset of visitors can be considered in these reports. The subset dimension, in terms of percent of total traffic to your site, is shown in the reports.

What can we discover with Demographics and Interests data?

Now it’s time to enjoy it!

One of the best way to exploit the full potential of these data sets is to create different segments that profile different categories of users.

Let’s have a closer look with a couple of examples:

Identify who visits your website and tailor your content and ads

The interest reports can be broken down by any of the Aquisition, Behaviour and Conversion metrics. Your main KPI on your site can be measured against different groups of users, so you can understand who is most likely to convert, as well as discovering unforeseen surprises too. For example, if you have a sport news website, you might find out that users who spend longer on reading your articles are not necessarily only “sport fans”, but they can also be “Automotive fans” or “Technophiles”. You can then adapt your site so it hosts different campaign content targeted to these users, or your content can be optimised to attract and retain more of these profiles.

Optimise your ad spent and conversions

If you see that you are running campaigns for a certain audience, you may discover that the audience is not converting as expected. Before taking drastic decisions, you can now use these reports to investigate a bit more.

You initially targeted your campaign for a younger audience (18-24), visits from this group are huge but they have the lowest conversion rate. At the same time you find out that one category above have the best conversion rate, with just 20% of the total visits. This can tell you that you may want to then retarget your next campaigns for this audience instead, maximising your campaign ROI.

So what does all this mean?

Up until now identifying visitor nature and interests has been a challenge for most analytics tool on the market. The two examples included here illustrate just a few of the potential new insights that Demographics and Interests reports can provide. Identifying user profiles and personas is of great help for you to understand what your next moves are to hit your KPIs more effectively.

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