Google Analytics Enhanced Audience Demographics and Interest Reports

Senior Digital Analyst
Published 11/12/13
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It seems like it was just yesterday when Google announced it will be encrypting or "hiding" all user organic searches. If you're still trying to wrap your head around what that means for your site's SEO, well, you should just sit down and find a stuffed animal to hold tightly, because Google's not done with you, yet. Google Analytics has been rolling out several new features over the past couple of weeks that will be of interest to those of you who want to know more about the visitors to your site.

Wait, so it's good news? Perhaps this is some sort of gesture of apology for obliterating organic search terms. If so, IT'S NOT ENOUGH, GOOGLE! Put the frustration aside for a bit, and let's go over one of these new analytics reporting features. Google Analytics’ enhanced Demographics and Interests Reports are generating a lot of buzz around here and interest among our clients.

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From Google Analytics’ overview: Analytics now includes data on your users' demographics (age and gender) and interests. Before this, the demographics section in Google Analytics included only language and location. The new reporting options are under Audience in the left rail on your Google Analytics account view page.

Google Analytics will use data from the DoubleClick third-party cookie to funnel this data into your analytics. If your site has DoubleClick tags on it for display media, then you will be able to see this enhanced data in your Google Analytics account.

A breakdown of the new categories:

Demographics: Overview of traffic by age or gender

  • Age: Traffic by age ranges
  • Gender: Traffic by gender

Interests Overview of traffic by affinity and other categories

  • Affinity categories: Behavior by affinity categories
  • Other categories: Behavior by other interest categories More information can be found here.

According to Google Analytics, all you need to do is update one line of your site’s Google Analytics tracking code and … ta-da! Advanced demographics and interests data starts flowing into your GA account.

But ... If any of your site visitors use ad-blocking tools or features to prevent third-party sites from putting cookies on their browser, then that visitor won't be counted at all in your analytics. So, you can implement this “as-is” on your site and then watch your traffic drop off anywhere from 3 to 15 percent. So, you'll be losing traffic, but, you'll get to learn more about the traffic you do keep. Hmmmm...

However, there are crafty analytics types who have figured out how to gather this DoubleClick data AND not lose traffic. This requires a bit more adjusting to your site's tracking code than Google’s solution, but it is what we are recommending to get the full benefit of this new feature. You can find more information about that here and here.