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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Google AdWords With Demographic Bidding

The Google AdWords service is testing a feature for advertisers to use “demographic bidding.” This means that you can specify that your ads will only be shown to, say, women over the age of 55. Or perhaps you have an online store for men’s clothing, then you can target only men. You can also specifically exclude a certain group.

A typical MySpace AdWords ad of today (without Google’s demographic bidding feature).

Google say they know how to target these ads because certain social networks ask their users for details such as age and gender, which are then apparently shared with Google “on a non-personally identifiable basis.” Sites like MySpace, Friendster, HotOrNot and Flirtbox are part of the Beta test. Google in their announcement post adds that “AdWords receives this data only from publishers that have permission from users to share their data according to the site’s terms and conditions,” and disclaims that “to protect the privacy of minors, users under 18 can’t be targeted demographically.”

Right now, the big green Sign-up button for demographic bidding doesn’t work yet and leads to the URL cfernando:8222/ads_inquiry/demographicbidding instead (Champika Fernando is the name of a Google employee who may have used this URL for internal tests).

[Thanks Tech for Novices and Beussery!]

Update: Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz notes that a similar (?) feature had been announced in 2006.

Update 2: The (US-only) sign-up link is fixed now. [Thanks Sue!]

Update 3: Search Engine Land has an update after hearing back from Google: “This demographic bidding test is different from the one done in 2006, in that here they are not using comScore’s metrics. Instead, they are using data directly from a specific site to target, demographically, ads to that user.” [Thanks Beussery!]


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