When Google AdWords began offering demographic targeting, it raised the level of how brands can get in front of the right person at the right time.

Search engines have always been the leading way to reach consumers when they showed intent, with Google ascending to the throne of the search engines kingdom. Social media came along and, led by Facebook, started making it more efficient for marketers to narrow their target audience down with demographic targeting.

Google has now followed suit by adding this feature to search ads for pay-per-click.

Best of Both Worlds

Google’s targeting feature, which launched last fall, is combining the best of both worlds: Being there when the consumers want a product or service, and being able to identify the consumers that are truly interested in their product or service.

To allow you to target specific demographics through age, gender, parental status and household income, Google is gathering information through the settings or activity on Google properties as well as additional sites that provide demographic information shared through social media.

Tailoring ads through demographic targeting is one of the most important steps in ensuring your ads lead to conversions. Why? Well, targeting beyond just the keyword is crucial when you understand that two people in different demographics searching with the same keywords might not be looking for the same thing.

For example, a man searching for boots, might be looking for something different than a woman searching for the same thing. Other key pieces of information, such as household income, could determine which sites best suit each of their needs.

Power to the People

Google is not only making it easier for marketers to target consumers, but is allowing users the ability to change ad settings so they can control what ads they want to see.

When you consider that consumers are bombarded with hundreds of ads every day, allowing them to filter what they want to see is a key option. The basic principle of advertising is the more relevant the content is to the consumer, the more likely the consumer is to convert. In the digital era, this concept is more important than ever.

We are served hundreds of ads every day and are getting good at filtering what we feel is not useful. However, we will pause and look at ads that are relevant to our interests and shopping habits. Demographic targeting allows marketers to spend more money on people who will value their ads.

Start Broad, Not Narrow

One word of caution: Making too many assumptions about your market might cause you to miss out on valuable leads. Google will tell you that intent trumps demographics. For example, deciding to only advertise baby products to households with children could cause you to miss out on 40 percent of the market since it does not account for the grandparents, friends or co-workers searching for baby products.

Start with a broad range and narrow the focus as you go. Once you know your market and want to ensure your ads are shown to them, implementing demographic targeting is a great option.