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Google Analytics (Somewhat) New Demographics Reports

January 7, 2014

As we all mourned the loss of keyword data, Google Analytics decided to throw us a bone with the addition of advanced demographics and interests reports. Although Google freely admits that these reports will only address a subset of your site’s overall data, they still provide a level of insight into the makeup of your audience not previously available. A little bit creepy, a lot of bit awesome. Here is a brief summary of each report:

  • Age (Demographics)
  • Gender (Demographics)
  • Affinity Categories (Interests): Focus on what the visitors are interested in (e.g. Bicycles)
  • Other Categories (Interests): Focus on the content that these visitors consume (e.g. Fitness)

How is Google coming up with this information?

Google Analytics is tapping into the profiles that they have created for their advertising display network. Google’s defined profile categories determine which display ads are relevant for you to receive. Defined categories include: Gender, Age, Languages and Interests. Before this data was only visible to paying advertisers; now it is open to Google Analytics users.

  • Are you curious what Google thinks of you? While logged into your Google account, visit Ad Settings. Google has me as a 25-34 year old female, which is spot on. However, my listed interests of Rap & Hip-Hop and Shooter Games are a bit questionable...

How do you set-up new Demographics reporting?

Like most big technical changes that Google makes, they didn't completely flip the switch on this. They progressively rolled the change out, and it now appears to be active for everyone. The best way to check if your account is ready for the upgrade is to click the “Demographics” tab on the left and see if the new reports appear.

How to Enable Google Analytics Demographics and Interests Reporting

Before you can successfully go ahead and “Enable” the demographics and interests reports, the tracking code installed on your site will need to be adjusted. Unless you are already running a display advertising campaign through Google, your tracking code will need to be modified to support display advertising. This is a pretty simple change for the level of data that will now start flowing in.

How can you use these new Demographics and Interests reports?

Check out what Google has to say about the best way to use this new addition to the Google Analytics reporting family: How to Use the Demographics and Interests reports.

The possibilities are endless! That may be an exaggeration but the introduction of this data into Google Analytics’ reporting capabilities is exciting. The more you know about your website’s audience, the more effective you can make your website. 


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