Skip navigation

Best Practices of AdWords Demographic Targeting for Ads Campaigns

Google AdWords offers a variety of targeting techniques and other features to help advertisers design unique campaigns. One very effective yet often under-utilized tool is demographic targeting.

Reaching the ideal audience is the goal of PPC advertising, so utilizing the proper strategy is crucial. With Google AdWords demographic targeting, you can give your ads the best chance of being seen by the right people. There are a lot of consumers on the internet but not all of them will take the time to click on your ad. This handy tool allows you to narrow down your audience by demographic, leaving only those who are most likely to be interested in your product.

What is Demographic Targeting?

Demographic targeting provides excellent advantages such as the ability to filter an audience by age, gender, parental status or income. Along with enhanced curation options, this tool also offers the option to adjust bids, ad copy and post-click landing pages for specific selected groups. So not only can brands separate audiences by demographics, they can also determine the content that each group sees.

How It Works

Google has a few ways of finding consumers’ demographics. For instance, when someone is signed into their Google account, information can be collected from their user settings and activity on Google properties. Users can adjust their demographic information in Ad Settings. Demographics can be collected from websites as well, including social network sites where consumers have shared such information.

Demographics can also be inferred from a consumer’s activity on Google properties or the display network, even when they aren’t signed into their Google account. This is done using “cookies.” When a consumer browses a site such as YouTube, Google can assume the user’s demographic information by using cookies to track their activity on the browser.

Mobile App Demographics

The same strategy is used to collect data through consumers’ mobile activity. Using an advertising identifier linked to a mobile device, AdWords can infer a user’s demographic information based on apps that he or she uses. This gives brands even more opportunity to narrow down their audiences.

Demographic Targeting Options

Targeting categories for search, display and video ads include:

Age Range

  • 18-24
  • 25-34
  • 35-44
  • 45-54
  • 55-64
  • 65 or more
  • Unknown


  • Male
  • Female
  • Unknown

Parental status

  • Parent
  • Not a parent
  • Unknown

Household Income

  • Top 10%
  • 11-20%
  • 21-30%
  • 31-40%
  • 41-50%
  • Lower 50%
  • Unknown

Income level targeting actually works more like location based targeting, estimating a user’s income based on the area in which they live.

Unknown Categories

Unknown refers to users whose age, gender, parental status, or household income haven’t been identified. This could refer to users under the age of 18 or those who are gender non-binary. This category may be expanded due to websites on the Display Network that opt out of demographic targeting. Brands can advertise on these sites by leaving the “Unknown” category selected.

What Are Best Practices?

  1. Exclude Certain Demographic Groups — Simply preventing your ads from appearing to uninterested audiences can help your digital campaign a great deal. This method is often referred to as negative targeting.
  2. Customize Your Bids — Brands can place higher or lower bids for certain demographic groups. First, wait for data to accrue with a 0% bid modifier. This will provide more insights, allowing you to make bid adjustments based on your best-performing categories.
  3. Execute Unique Campaigns — You can create a unique “Target and Bid” campaign using the date from your bid adjustments. As opposed to a “Bid Only” approach, this allows you to display your ads only to searchers who meet your demographic criteria. You’ll also have the option to control the settings and ad spend for this campaign separately.
  4. Include The “Unknown” Category — 40% of searchers fall into this category both in age and gender. That’s nearly half of the search population. Needless to say, excluding this group can limit your campaign a great deal.

Steps For Setting Up AdWords Demographic Targeting

  1. Sign into your AdWords account.
  2. Click “Campaigns” on the page menu on the left.
  3. Choose the campaign in which you’d like to add demographic targeting.
  4. Choose the ad group in which you’d like to add demographic targeting.
  5. Click “Demographics” on the page menu on the left.
  6. At the top of the page, select the demographic category you’d like to target.
  7. Check boxes for each demographic group you’d like to target.
  8. Click the drop-down labeled “Edit” in the blue banner at the top of the table, then select “Enable”. Note: To exclude any demographic groups, select “Exclude” from ad group.

Find New Customers Using AdWords Demographic Targeting

Demographic Targeting is seriously underrated and underutilized as a tool. When used with a quality post-click landing page, the possibilities are endless. To ensure your landing page is equally as effective, use a platform like the Instapage post-click automation platform. With AdMap, 1:1 Personalization, built-in collaboration, pixel-perfect designs & more, it will compliment your demographically targeted ads and truly optimize your campaign. Sign up for an Instapage Enterprise demo today.

Get Started

To find out what digital marketing can do for your company, contact us today.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin

Latest Adventures

Digital Marketing 101

Digital Marketing 101

Marketing your company is a necessity. Flyers, tradeshows and chamber memberships used to be the go-to marketing efforts. Bringing your marketing to the digital age is a new world. Here’s what to consider in your digital marketing strategy.  What is Digital Marketing? Digital marketing is any online effort to market

Read More »

7 Benefits of Selling with Shopify

Once you have decided to offer your products for sale online, you think the big decisions are done. Really, choosing an eCommerce provider could make all the difference in your sales, ease of use and more. Platforms will all tout very similar offerings. Picking the right CMS can feel daunting.

Read More »

Page Speed Could be Sabotaging Your Rankings

Mobile Speed Has Become a Landing Page Factor for Google Search and Ads It’s become clear that online consumers don’t tolerate slow mobile experiences. When mobile pages take more than 3 seconds to load, they’re abandoned more than half the time. This, of course, leads to massive missed opportunities for

Read More »

Ready to make something amazing?

Your adventure awaits.