There are many ways to target people when performing Pay-Per-Click Advertising. How we target an audience is always changing and concerns over privacy become more important as time goes on. This means collecting specific data on consumers related to traditional demographics will fade away and will become a nameless, faceless, demographic(less) statistic placed in a bucket based on “affinity audiences.”

What is an Affinity Audience for Pay-Per-Click Advertising?

We can still find people by age, household income, parental status, location, gender, etc. today, but to prepare for the future we are going to discuss affinity audiences – a term used by Google to describe the action of grouping people based on interests, beliefs, life experiences, hobbies and much, much more.

If you think about it in a big picture sense, the old system of demographics assigned to your “ideal client” assumed people in the same demographic were similar across the board. It was a generalization that worked, but we feel that the move to affinity audiences is going to work even better.

If you were to take white males aged 35-44 on a national level, what percentage of them would be interested in archery? Gardening? How about females in the same age group – how many would be interested in archery or gardening? You could assume some things, but how do you know for sure you are targeting the correct demo? If you only grab the age and gender demographic, you are missing out on all the other people who are interested in archery or gardening that fall outside your parameters.

Affinity audiences – well, they find the person interested in archery or gardening regardless of demographic. Affinity audiences are created by watching what a consumer does on their devices and learning who they are as a person. By knowing the consumer on a deeper level – they can then be matched up to advertisers offering goods or services they have shown interest in, or people like them have shown interest in. Google becomes the ultimate matchmaker between the advertiser and the consumer. It’s true love.

How to move forward with Affinity Audiences

How this changes life for the advertiser is going to feel a little strange – we have asked “who is your ideal client?” more times than we can count, and the answer has always been demographic-based, of course. But now, we should be asking “what is your ideal client like?”; and learning about their political beliefs, hobbies, religions, outlooks – everything that makes a person, them. Sometimes it might be uncomfortable, but do the best you can.

It’s going to be a hard shift – decades of the “ideal client” thought process is going need to be unlearned and the observer of the ideal client is going to have to look at them with a new eye.

If you are a business owner, now might be a good time to do some market research. A simple questionnaire to current clients explaining why you need to learn more about them would go a long way toward targeting affinity audiences just like them. You might not need this if you sell boats – you can pull a boat affinity audience in Google – but if you are selling something more vague – a band, a TV show, or art – you will need to really figure out the mind of who might be buying.

Google has created a spreadsheet with all of its current affinity audiences. Right now there are 154. We are certain that number will grow. We would love to sit down with you to review the list and try to find the affinity audience(s) that are right for your business. Contact us today to get started with your Pay-Per-Click Advertising strategy.