Posted to Volacci's blog on October 4th, 2013

New Google Analytics Audience Reporting Will Empower Marketers

One of the biggest announcements to come out of this week’s Google Analytics Summit was the plan to unveil Google Audience Reports, a demographics-based report replacing the current Traffic Source option.

The following excerpt from Web Pro News shows Google’s mindset going into the transition.

“One of the biggest challenges for online marketers is the lack of information about the people visiting their properties and buying their products,” the company says. “Unlike in physical stores where a manager can tell a lot about the sorts of people coming and going — What age are they? What’s their gender? What are they interested in? — online merchandisers and marketers are often flying blind. Audience Reporting solves this problem by providing age, gender, and interest categories as dimensions in Google Analytics. Find out who your site visitors are and gain a better understanding of who your most valuable (highest converting) audiences are so you can effectively reach your best prospects on the Google Display Network. Taking into account demographics and interests, you can efficiently target, bid, and optimize your creative to improve your campaign’s performance.”

The introduction of such offerings through Google Analytics holds tremendous potential for marketers, and promises to further the effectiveness of targeted outreach efforts, advanced segmentation, and comprehensive marketing automation programs.

The biggest challenge for businesses using marketing automation programs is obtaining quality demographic data to flesh out the data enough to make full use of the program’s potential. The most successful strategies for acquiring such information have been providing high quality content like eBooks or webinars, offering contests or prizes in exchange for demographic information, or purchasing expensive lists and cross-referencing with internal data. These strategies will still be extremely important for cultivating personalized data relevant to your business or market, but the addition of broad demographic categorizations by Google Analytics will reduce that burden from marketers while increasing targeting capabilities.


Remarketing, or follow up marketing, strategies will benefit from gaining additional insights into general marketing behavior; remarketing is the strategy of continuing to engage existing customers or site users with promotions and content tied to a specific marketing objective. Breaking down traffic into demographic patterns can help marketers fine tune their presentation to most effectively communicate with the actual audience.

The most potential for new demographic-based analytics comes from the fact that demographic data will be available within Google Analytics for segmenting other report areas. This provides a vast number of possible uses for the demographic information, which crafty marketers should be able to gain great insights from over time.

Marketing Automation

Audience Reporting will not be a substitute for marketing automation, since analytics look at overall patterns, while marketing automation provides the ability to track and filter individuals. However, comparing generalized data and personalized data will give marketers an additional point of quality control as well as a clearer overall picture of their actual audience behavior. If anything, the increased demographic reporting should allow marketing automation users to create new avenues for audience targeting that deliver messages more effectively to the desired demographic or buyer persona.

The coming changes to Google Analytics offer great promise and potential for marketers, as well as a continuation of the importance of data driven marketing. Check back regularly for continued updates as more information becomes available.

What potential do you see in the new Google Audience reports?

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