Demographically targeted advertising is not new. We’ve all been able to target different demographic segments with relevant messaging in display formats for a long time.

But adding the ability to demographically target people when they search is really cool. Enter Google’s DFSA – Demographics For Search Ads.

It goes without saying that being able to modify bids to increase visibility when your key demographics are searching is a no-brainer.  As is excluding demographics that aren’t the right fit.

But the bit we’re most excited about is using demographic data in search to tailor the messaging and the customer experience a user witnesses.

Let’s look at an example scenario:

International students

The market for international students is massive, with organisations like Bellerby’s attracting thousands of students to the UK every year.

But what’s interesting here is that whilst the obvious audience is the students themselves (they select their course of study and the location), one of the key decision makers in the process is the parent, who will often have the power of veto because they are footing the bill!

So, there’s an opportunity for demographically targeted search.

Here’s some example user journeys


  • Conducts course related searches > gets targeted by ‘course’ acquisition campaigns
  • Builds a short list of choices
  • Conducts navigational searches to review choices > gets targeted by brand ad
  • Selects their desired place of study
  • Shares the name of the institute with their parents for the final ‘OK’


  • Gets sent Institution name by email, SMS or in conversation by their child
  • Conducts a brand name search to find website > gets targeted by brand ad

The new ability to change messaging based on demographics in search, means that we can use different ads to appeal to the two different audiences:

The student, targeted on an age demographic of 18-24, sees an advert (and landing page) which emphasises the social elements of the institute.

The parent, targeted on an age demographic of 40+, sees an advert (and landing page) which emphasises the quality of education and the standard of security and care in the institute.

What does it mean for you?

Better planning

Now the options for segmenting are exponentially wider you will need to have much more robust planning when setting out your marketing strategy.

Intent modelling has now got an extra layer of complexity, because in addition to the term, location, activity and device affecting the context of the search, you can now start to think about what type of person is searching too.

More Creative

With more audience segments comes the need for more ad creative, and more landing pages. Your audiences have different intents or needs when they search, and now you can, and need to, cater for this in the messages they see in adverts as well as the content and calls-to-action they are presented on your landing pages.

Detailed Analytics

As you start to develop your search advertising to cater for the varied influencers in your buying process, you’ll need to start to think about how you report on this assisting activity. Simply measuring your influencer focused search campaigns in the same way as you measure last-click acquisition campaigns will likely lead to confusion and a foggy picture of how your channels and campaigns are really working.

Getting Started Now

Demographics for search ads is still in Beta testing with Google, so it’s not available to everyone immediately. But if you’re serious about AdWords and want to start thinking about how you talk to your audiences in a more relevant way, there are still things you can do right now. Give us a call if would like to know more – 01293 265 370.