Grow Your Audience, Business Intelligence Database with Google AdWords


Businesses all over the world are in a continuous search for data that explains who their website visitors, audiences, and customers are. Whether you characterize this as “personas” or “business intelligence,” the fact is, this data comes from many places, not all of which are simple or actionable.

Enter Google AdWords, your business intelligence goldmine.

Within AdWords, there is a multitude of targeting features for search, display, and retargeting campaigns, such as demographics, geography, ad schedules, as well as a myriad of audience and display targets. What makes these targeting features so special is that they can be used in three distinct ways:

  1. An actual target for your campaigns. For instance, I can run my search campaigns to target only my retargeting audience in the state of Kentucky from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  2. A target and opportunity to modify bids by target. In the case of my Kentucky example, I have the option to run display campaigns targeting the state of Kentucky and then target the city of Louisville with a -20 percent bid modifier to only males and people in the “SEO and SEM services” in-market audience.
  3. A data filter by target feature, with the ability to modify bids. Using Kentucky as an example once more, I can run my search campaigns for the state of Kentucky, but also set Louisville, Lexington, and Frankfurt as “bid only” targets.

This last point is the most important. Setting a target as “bid only” lets you filter your performance data to learn exactly how a particular segment is doing in comparison to everything else. If you are interested in collecting data, you have it at your fingertips. Additionally, this data is actionable. 

What Data Can You Glean From AdWords?

Both Google Search and Display Network let you analyze and obtain data for location or geography, and retargeting audiences. Google Display Network also provides insight on data as it pertains to age and gender, affinity or in-market audiences, and interests, topics, and placements. 

Here are a few visual examples:

Age and Gender



Ad Schedule 

ad-schedule-adwordsHow Do You Set Up Data-Collecting Targets?

To start, apply the desired targeting as you would at the campaign or ad group level. Location and Ad Schedule do not have a “bid only” option that you can toggle. Instead, apply all of the segments you want to pull data from, and simply leave the bid modifier at zero.

Other audience and demographic targets have distinct options that let you turn this on and off. While in the Web interface, choose “target and bid” or “bid only” at the time you wish to create the new target.

AdWords Editor lets you manage everything in bulk and simultaneously across multiple ad groups.


Take Action

Once you’ve set up your targets and allowed data to accumulate with these filters, you can either analyze the data or take action. Using bid modifiers in AdWords makes taking action painfully. Increase or decrease bid modifier percentages to influence the performance of a particular target.

If you find that one of your data collecting “bid only” targets is doing exceptionally well, your options extend beyond merely influencing a bid. You can take this a step further by creating a new campaign or ad group. Then, apply the “target and bid” function to isolate impressions for only that target.

Happy data collecting!


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