Reach people of specific age and gender

Looking for information about demographics targeting for Google Analytics? Read about it in the Google Analytics Help Centre.

If your business caters to a specific set of customers within a particular age range or gender, you may want to target your ads to this audience because they’re more likely to be interested in your products or services. With demographic targeting in AdWords, you can reach customers who are likely to be within the demographic groups that you choose. Note that only people in your targeted groups will see your ad.

Bear in mind

To start using demographic targeting, you'll need to have one of these campaign types selected:

  • "Search & Display Networks – All features"
  • "Display Network only – All features"

If you have a different campaign type, you won't be able to target your ads based on age and gender. Learn about the different campaign types available.

Demographic targeting on the Display Network can help you achieve the following goals:

  • Reach the right audience
    If your products are made specifically for one gender, or your typical customer skews heavily towards a specific age group, you can use demographic targeting to reach the people who are most likely to buy your products.

    Example

    Alberta runs a website with content that’s primarily for women between the ages of 25 and 34. She targets this audience in AdWords so that she can attract people who are most likely to be interested in her website.

  • Customise your ads and bids
    You might want to market your business differently to people who are in different age groups and life stages. With demographic targeting, you can bid differently or have ads unique to each group of customers.

    Example

    Marc is advertising a financial institution, and he wants to market different products to college versus university students. He uses demographic targeting to show different ads to each group of customers, as well as higher bids for demographic groups that may be more likely to spend more.

  • Refine your targeting
    Demographic targeting can be combined with any targeting strategy on the Google Display Network to reach your customers. You can also exclude demographic categories if you want to prevent people of specific age ranges or genders from seeing your ads.

    Example

    Stella's online boutique only sells women's clothing, so she uses demographic exclusions to keep her ads from appearing to male customers.

Ready to get started? Find out how to add demographic targeting to an ad group.

How Google determines demographic information

When someone visits a website that is partnered with the Google Display Network, Google stores a number in their browsers (using a "cookie") to remember their visits. This number uniquely identifies a web browser on a specific computer, not a person. Browsers may be associated with a demographic category, such as gender or age range, based on the sites that were visited.

In addition, some sites might provide us with demographic information that people share on certain websites, such as social networking sites. We may also use demographics derived from Google profiles.

Example

Sarah's favourite hobby is gardening. Many of the gardening sites and blogs on the Display Network that she visits have a majority of female readers, according to survey data. Based on this, Sarah's browser could be added to the "female" demographic category.

As a result, Google may show Sarah ads from advertisers who have chosen to show their ads to women.

Customers can edit their inferred (that is, suggested) demographic categories for websites by visiting Ads Settings.

Mobile app demographics (Beta): You can now also try reaching mobile app users. This targeting feature uses an anonymous identifier linked to a customer's phone to remember which apps the person has used. We might associate the anonymous identifier with a demographic category based on the apps used on the device.

Bear in mind that we aren't able to gather or infer demographic information from everyone using the web or mobile apps, so if you limit your targeting to certain demographic groups, your ads may reach a more limited audience.

You can edit your inferred demographics on mobile apps, on the Settings menu of Google Play on Android and the Settings menu of Google Search apps on iOS.

Demographic targeting

Demographic targeting might not be available for certain countries. If you add demographic categories to a campaign that targets a specific country we don't support, you'll see a message that demographic targeting isn't available for that country.

"Unknown" category

You can choose to target or exclude people whose age or gender we haven’t identified by selecting the "Unknown" category.

By default, when you target by age or gender, the "Unknown" demographic category is selected because you can reach a significantly wider audience by showing ads to people whose age or gender we don’t know.

We don't infer demographics for all people and most websites don't provide demographic information for their customers. In addition, some websites on the Display Network opt out of demographic targeting, so if you want to show your ads on those sites, leave the "Unknown" category selected.

Excluding the "Unknown" demographic category might prevent a substantial number of people from seeing your ads. So, we recommend that you exclude this category only if based on your campaign results, it's clear that you should exclude it.