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Demographic targeting -- the next big thing in PPC!

Copyright 2006 John Navata I want to take a few minutes to talk about a recent development in paid search -- and its implications as a new Internet marketing tool. I'm talking about "demographic targeting," something that both MSN AdCenter (in beta) and Google AdWords have just started offering. So let's take a look at what it is and why you might want to add it to your Internet marketing strategies. What is "demographic targeting? Simply put, demographic targeting lets you zero in on an audience that shares a specific trait or characteristic, such as men aged 35 to 44 or people who earn over $50,000 per year. Why use it? Demographic targeting lets you zero in on the people who are most likely to be looking for what you're selling. If, for example, you sell health products geared toward menopausal women, then demographic targeting gives you a way to put your ads in front of only women in the menopausal age group.

You'll pay more money for each click on your ad, but your overall return on investment (ROI) should still be much higher when you consider that your traffic is more qualified. Who can you target? Who you can target -- and the exact costs -- vary depending on the search engine. Let's take a quick look at the differences between AdCenter and AdWords: MSN Ad Center (still in beta): AdCenterís targeting features let you display your ads to key audiences who are performing searches using your keywords. You can target searchers by geographic location, gender, age, and the time of day or week, and you can even apply a combination of targets. With targeted search, you may be able to achieve a higher position for competitive keywords than your competitors -- that is, if your competition doesn't apply the same targets.

MSN will even provide you with data to help you determine whether your keywords are appropriate for your demographic. Google AdWords: Unlike AdCenter, AdWords does not provide demographic data that will allow you to better target your keywords. Instead, you can target specific AdSense publisher sites -- sites that fit a particular demographic -- to display your ads on. Besides being able to target audiences by geography, gender, age group, and annual household income, you can also target sites based on ethnicity and whether or not households have children. Like AdCenter, you can select a combination of characteristics to really drill down to the most qualified people possible. There's no doubt that demographic targeting has real potential as a great new Internet marketing strategy. And I definitely think you'll be seeing a lot more of it in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled.


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