When you’ve got a great product, it can be tempting to want to show the world your pay per click ads. But the reality is not everyone will like your product. (Sorry, truth hurts.) And when you’re a small business with a tight budget, you don’t want to waste valuable digital marketing dollars on consumers who won’t bite.

To maximize your campaigns, you need to use demographic targeting.

What’s Demographic Targeting?

Demographics are common characteristics and qualities that describe a person or group of people. Some examples of demographic categories include:

  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Race/Nationality.
  • Income.
  • Parental Status.
  • Marital Status.
  • Location (e.g. country, state, county, city).
  • Demographic targeting helps advertisers target the right audience. Advertising based on certain demographics reduces unnecessary impressions and saves budget by only showing ads to people who will be interested.

    For example, you don’t want to waste money advertising baby strollers to pre-teen boys. They’re not parents, nor would they be interested in such a product.

    You want to appeal to make sure your ads are relevant to your audience. Here are two ads from my newsfeed. Since I fit in their target demographic, they're relevant to me, raising the likelihood that I’ll purchase their product.

    How to Reach Your Ideal Audience

    To determine your ideal audience, ask yourself these three questions:

    1. Who Do I Want to Reach? Determine your demographics (e.g. age, gender, etc.).
    2. Who Is Looking to Buy This Product? Decide who is most likely to use it.
    3. Who Do I Want to Exclude? Choose who you don’t want to target. Knowing who you don’t want to reach is important, too.
    4. Then compile a list of characteristics for your ideal consumer into a profile or persona, which will look something like this:



      Personas are a great way to know who you’re selling to. Let’s say you’re selling an anti-wrinkle moisturizer. Your target persona is “ Karen.” She represents women ages 30 and older, with concerns about skin aging. While there may be that occasional outlier, these are the women who will be more apt to purchase preventative skincare than say a 20-year-old with flawless skin.

      Here, you can take all of this information from the “Karen” persona and apply it to your demographic targeting.

      Why You Need It

      Demographic targeting is a valuable tool to have in your advertising arsenal. It helps you:

      Customize Your Bids. Even if you choose to show your ads to everyone, you can place higher bids for certain demographic groups. If you want to reach a certain gender or age group, you can bid, for example, 20% more on a given demographic category.

      Avoid Wasted Budget. By delivering ads only to the ones who want to see them, you’re saving precious marketing dollars. If your product is only useful to consumers 50 and older, it only makes sense to exclude those who are younger.

      Improve Customer Satisfaction. When you deliver relevant ads to your target audience, you’re helping them fulfill a need.

      More importantly, demographic targeting when used correctly will help businesses maximize their ROI. And what business doesn’t want that?