It goes without saying that as an advertiser, the more you know about your audience, the better. When you know your customers well, you can make informed decisions about your marketing campaigns and create a tailored experience for the user. In today’s world, where that user is more fickle than ever, it’s never been more crucial.
Google’s product stack already provides a wealth of user data for advertisers, but in September 2015, they released the new Audience Insights report. These reports are found within the AdWords interface and provide aggregated data on users in your remarketing lists, to help advertisers gain more insights about their audiences.
What Insights, Exactly?
In order to access these reports, you need to have added AdWords remarketing code to your site and built some remarketing lists. To find the insights for a particular audience, simply go into the Shared Library and select the appropriate remarketing list. Underneath the remarketing list summary, you’ll find a report that looks like the below.
The Top Insights tab provides a handy snapshot of the highlights of the whole report. But you’re also able to go a level deeper and look in more detail at the different types of audiences your users fall into by selecting any of the tabs along the top. So what kind of insights can you gain about your visitors here?
In-Market & Affinity Audiences
These are probably familiar targeting options for anyone running campaigns on the Google Display Network (GDN). In-Market Audiences allow you to target users who’ve recently shown an intent to purchase a particular product or service, while Affinity Audiences target users based on their lifestyle and interests.
Within these tabs, you can see into which audiences your users fall. Also, by clicking onto a particular audience, you can see how your users compare to the general population. In the example below, we can see the 19.7 percent of users in the selected remarketing list are classed as in the market for “Baby & Children’s Products,” compared to just 3.6 percent of everyone in the UK.
While some of the audiences you’ll see here will be obviously related to your brand, you could also find a few surprises. For instance, using audience insights, Sony PlayStation found that classical musical enthusiasts were likely to engage with their brand. Without these reports, they might never have known that lots of users out there were choosing Bach as their background music to Call of Duty.
Demographics, Locations & Devices
Demographic, location and device data are available in both Google Analytics and AdWords, but these tabs enable you to see this data specifically for your remarketing lists.
You might wonder, are most of the visitors to the menswear pages on my site actually men? Or is it women purchasing for their other half? Are more site visitors on mobile than converters?
These tabs are where you’ll find the answers. And, as with the GDN target groups, you can select any particular audience and benchmark your users against the wider population.
What Can I Use These Reports For?
These reports can provide fascinating and surprising findings about your users, which for data-lovers out there can be enough of a reward in itself. But they’re more than just interesting reading. They can also provide actionable insights for advertisers to help optimise and expand their current campaigns.
If you’re running any activity on the GDN, these reports can be a great source of inspiration for new targeting options to trial. You may have noticed looking at the Baby & Children’s Products audience above, the report actually tells you how many of your current ad groups are targeting it.
If, as in this case, it’s none, why not try it out in a new ad group? If your own users are significantly more likely to be in the market for a product, this is a great opportunity to expand your reach and see if the rest of that in-market audience would respond well to your brand.
There are opportunities to use these findings in your search campaigns, as well. If your insights report is telling you that most of your converters are men aged 24–34, then what about tweaking your ad copy to appeal more to that demographic? If your current generic coverage is fairly limited, you could even get some ideas as to where to start expanding your coverage, based on the preferences and interests of your current customer base.
Most advertisers have an idea of who their “typical” customer is, whether it be a 25-year-old health nut, a bargain-hunting clothes addict or an affluent middle-aged parent.
But the truth is never quite so simple. It’s likely your customers are diverse and unpredictable, so the more you can learn about them and the way they behave online, the better position you’re putting yourself in. As the saying goes, knowledge is power. And whatever they say, ignorance isn’t bliss.
These reports are easy to interpret and readily available to anyone with remarketing lists set up. I’d recommend looking at the Audience Insights report in your own accounts. Not only could you learn some surprising things about your users, they could help to improve performance, as well.
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