Using Google Analytics Audience Data & Why Affinity is the Future of Search

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By Lauren

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Have you checked Google Analytics lately? If it’s been awhile since you’ve delved into your data (at least on that platform), you may be surprised at how Google has grown. Now Google Analytics can tell you much more about your audience than how many unique views you’ve gained in a month. They’ve expanded into more detailed demographic information with their Audience data.

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If you’ve been on Cubeyou Plus, then some of this may seem familiar. Under Interests, for example, you’ll find Age, Gender and Interest Categories reports. They don’t go into much depth, but do give you a rough breakdown of male versus female site visitors, age range and a sampling of interests.

 

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Google uses these “Affinity Categories” to direct advertisements to populations likely to be interested in your product: audiences that fit the basic criteria for “sports fans” would see Nike advertisements, or consumer electronics audiences might see an ad for the latest app. Essentially, Google is lifting the hood and showing you how they’ve been using demographics and interest categories to target ads all along.

How to Strategize Based Off of Google Analytics Affinity Data

When you set up conversion goals in Google Analytics, you can look at data specific to your conversion rates and find out exactly which age groups and genders are most likely to perform your goal actions. That data alone can tell you who you’re bringing in from social media advertising, and whether you need to change your tactics to increase conversions. For example, if you haven’t been specifically targeting 25-34 year olds in your Facebook ads, but they’re arriving at your site through those ads anyway, you may be able to increase conversions further by designing your ads more specifically for that audience.

You can also look under Interests Overview to see the breakdown of your visitors’ interests in Affinity Category. Like Cubeyou Plus, Google has categories like “Technophiles,” “Movie Lovers,” “Shutterbugs,” “TV Lovers,” “Travel Buffs,” and “Music Lovers.” These Affinity Categories are ideal for informing and directing brand awareness campaigns for prospects farther out in the sales funnel.

In-Market Segments is another category that identifies users by which products they’re interested in purchasing. Again, the categories are a bit vague, but better than nothing: “Financial Services/Investment Services,” “Consumer Electronics/Mobile Phones,” “Real Estate/Residential Properties,” “Home & Garden/Home Furnishings,” etc. These prospects may be a little farther along the sales funnel, since they already know what kind of product they want to buy, and marketers can create ads that are even more specific to attract these groups.

But Google Analytics data isn’t just for ads (though it may be primarily for ads at the moment). Content marketers can also use these insights to determine the interests of audiences coming to their website, instead of relying solely on individual post popularity data.

 

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Where Google Leaves Off, Cubeyou Plus Picks Up

Although you can find gender, age, and interest categories, along with geographic information, on your site visitors, there are limits to what Google can offer. Google may be prepared to tell you your current website audience is 25-34 years old, lives in the U.S., speaks English, and loves travel, but as of now, it can’t tell you that your demographic’s favorite destination is Cancun, its median income is under $40,000, and is “single looking to mingle.”

When it comes to effective marketing, success lies in the details, and your ability to market effectively relies on knowing as many facts about your ideal customer as possible. Not only do you want to know your audience likes to travel, you should know where their dream vacation would be. Music Lovers? What style? Which artists? U.S. citizens? Which states are most interested in your product or service? Which cities?

Digging deeper into user data allows you to build out more specific Customer Personas and tailor every advertisement, blog post and CTA to your audience, increasing conversions and serving your audience better in the process.

Customer Data and Beyond

Another major limitation of Google Analytics data is that it only tells you demographic and psychographic information for your website’s audience. But, we’ve found that demographic and psychographic data for competitors, similar or complementary products and services, or even major brands, public figures, and celebrities can be just as helpful (if not more) for marketers to know.

Why Affinity Data is the Future of Marketing

Online advertisements have come far in the last decade. Just a few years ago, if you came to a website, you’d see the same ad on the sidebar everyone else would see. Today, you’ll see an ad that speaks to your interests or recent search queries. This is Affinity data at work, finding out what you like and might like, and using it to bring ideal customers to their ideal solutions that much faster.

That’s what Affinity data means for consumers, but for marketers, it opens up an entire new world of opportunities. Backed by data, you have the ability to find out what your ideal customers like, and use that knowledge to improve your business.

Topics: Knowledge