I haven’t run any advertising in this space for many years, but that doesn’t stop me from receiving information from Google – stripped of any personally identifying data – about who you in the readership are.
Google, being deeply entrenched in every aspect of our web browsing lives, can deduce a lot about who we are; here’s how it describes how it gathers age and gender data:
When someone visits a website that has partnered with the Google Display Network, Google stores a number in their browsers (using a “cookie”) to remember their visits. This number uniquely identifies a web browser on a specific computer, not a specific person. Browsers may be associated with a demographic category, such as gender or age range, based on the sites that were visited. In addition, some sites might provide us with demographic information that people share on certain websites, such as social networking sites. We may also use demographics derived from Google profiles.
Below is data about who you are, as a readership, demographically speaking (with data gathered from November 24, 2013 to December 10, 2013), according to Google Analytics.
If I were to be writing to my majority audience, I’d be writing to 25-34 women who are avid readers and in the market for a used car.
And I’d be ignoring the men, 65 years and older, who are water sports enthusiasts and in the market for a new Buick: you’re way, way down the list.
While I’m not making any use of this data, it’s important to realize that many websites are, showing advertising to you based on Google’s deductions about your age, gender and interests. You can opt out of Google using this information against you by going to google.com/settings/ads.
You can also see how Google has you pegged; I’d opted out previously from Google “interest based ads,” but I hadn’t yet shut of YouTube “interest based ads” – before I did so, here’s what Google thought I might be interested in:
- Adventure Games
- Books & Literature
- Cooking & Recipes
- Fashion & Style
- Hygiene & Toiletries
- Mobile Phones
- Online Video
- Search Engine Optimisation & Marketing
- Shooter Games
- Social Networks
- TV Reality Shows
- Visual Art & Design
That’s me: big into the education and the toilet paper and the shooter games.