Want to know more about your reader’s demographics and interests? There’s a bevy of information hiding in the wings of Google Analytics. Once enabled, Google provides useful information about your site visitors, including age, gender, and travel and purchase interests.
How does Google Analytics Demographics work?
Analytics collects Demographics and Interests data from a reader using a third-party DoubleClick cookie, Android Advertising ID, or iOS Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). If the DoubleClick cookie or the Device Advertising ID isn’t available, Analytics cannot collect data.
Collected data elements are known as “dimensions.” Google Analytics collects the following dimensions:
Use these dimensions to create “segments” to split your data into customized rows for easier analysis.
How to enable audience and interests reports
To enable the reports from the Admin tab:
- Navigate to the account and property where you want to use Demographic and Interests data
- In the PROPERTY column, click Property Settings
- Under Advertising Features, set Enable Demographics and Interests Reports to ON
- Click “Save”
To enable the reports from the Reporting tab:
- Navigate to the account, property, and view where you want to use Demographic and Interests data
- Select Audience -> Demographics -> Overview
- If Demographics and Interests are off, click “Enable”
Once enabled, you’ll see data in your reports within 24 hours.
What about GDPR compliance?
The great news for our publishers is that our Consent Management Platform (CMP) handles cookies for both your ads and your Google Analytics script, so you can collect Demographics and Interests data and comply with GDPR. As long as your site uses our CMP, you are already GDPR compliant with Google Analytics enabled!
Demographic audience data in action
The demographic section contains several reporting features useful for getting feedback and insight on your readers and their interests. Google Analytics offers a variety of standard reports, but you can also build completely custom reports.
You get seven standard reports:
- Demographics Overview report: show your site’s sessions by age group and gender. Other options include % New Sessions, Avg. Session Duration, Bounce Rate, or Pages per Session.
- Age report: Drilling down into an age group shows a breakdown by gender, then interest. Does not include data about ages below 18.
- Gender report: Drilling down into a gender shows a breakdown by age group, then interest.
- Interests Overview report: shows the top-10 interests in Affinity Categories, In-Market Segments, and Other Categories.
- Affinity Categories report (reach): show metrics broken down by Affinity Categories.
- In-Market Segments report: shows metrics broken down by In-Market Segments.
- Other Categories: shows metrics broken down by Other Categories.
Use demographics and interests dimensions to generate custom reports! Use the Gender or Age dimensions to set the context for evaluating purchases and interests.
Enabling Advertising Features
Before you can see data in custom reports, you must enable Advertising Features for your property.
To update your property settings:
- In the Admin panel, select the property where you want to enable Advertising Features
- In the Property column, select Tracking Info -> Data Collection
- To enable only the Advertising Reporting Features, set only Advertising Reporting Features to ON
How accurate is Google Analytics about website demographics and audience interests?
In general, data provided by Google Analytics is highly reliable, but the demographic report that Google provides is an estimate based on a sample of your visitors.
Take care when interpreting the demographics and interests reports to understand the limitations of the information. Ad blockers, applied thresholds, and limited data sampling all have a small impact on the accuracy of the reported data.
How are the thresholds set in Google analytics demographics?
Thresholds prevent anyone viewing a report from access to the demographics or interests of individual users. When a report contains Age, Gender, or Interest Category, Google Analytics may withhold some data from the report due to an applied threshold. When Google Analytics applies a threshold, you’ll see a notice below the report title. Google defines thresholds and you can’t adjust them.
What to do with this information?
Google Analytics is a wonderful source for seeing how people interact with your content. It’s also a way to see your audience demographics.
Any information about your readers is helpful in catering content to them. Analyze which articles resonate with readers of different demographics. This allows you to refresh and promote content that will be the most impactful to your audience. Insight into reader interests and purchases allows you to build audience personas and tailor your content to get the most pageviews and engage your readers.
Enabling demographics and interests in Google Analytics is easy and gives you better insight into your blog’s readers. Focus your time on the stories and content that have the most impact on your audience!