Google have introduced demographic bidding on the AdWords advertising platform. The new feature will be available to a selected group of advertisers in the U.S. and U.K. that advertise on the content network.
Demographic targeting will be enabled primarily via social networks using Google AdSense. These publisher sites collect user demographic data as part of the sign-up process. They will anonymise the personal data and make it available to Google in aggregate form, allowing AdWords to adjust which ads get shown to members of specific demographic groups.
Advertisers will now be able to specifically target certain demographic groups, e.g. females aged 18-24, by bidding higher for ads shown to that demographic or even preventing ads from being shown to certain groups altogether. For example, a cosmetics vendor might choose to deliver ads only to women, since most men are unlikely to buy their products.
Executives at Google are aware of privacy concerns raised by advertising initiatives recently launched by rivals Facebook, and are therefore being careful with this program. For starters, the data they use is supposed to be devoid of personal details that allow them to pinpoint individuals rather than broad demographic groups. They also prevent advertisers from targeting minors under 18 and individuals who have not consented to sharing their data with third-parties when signing on to the publisher sites.
A new demographic report will also be launched in the AdWords reporting center to help advertisers decide which demographic groups they should target. The service will be available for keyword targeted as well as placement targeted campaigns, with the added facility of demographic site selection.
Demographic bidding will be available on the following sites during the beta test: