At the Google Analytics Summit earlier this month, Google announced the availability of 14 new features, including a new user segmentation feature which reports your website visitor’s age, gender and interests. In the past, a visitor’s demographics data could be reported in Google Analytics by:
- Soliciting visitors for this data via a web form or a website satisfaction survey (via UserReport).
- Determining a visitor’s gender when they provide their name (via DOTS Name Validation API).
- Capturing and aggregating age, gender, and interests data via a social login/social graph (see Facebook Connect and a Google Analytics custom variable).
All of the these options would require you to execute multiple steps and/or work with an experienced developer to implement the code into your website. Once the data flowed into Google Analytics, it was available only for a fraction of visitors (aka, only those who completed a web form or created an account). Thus, the effort required to obtain this demographics data was far too great. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case!
This new feature is powered by the DoubleClick third-party cookie. According to the Google Help Section, the data is assembled from visitors’ interaction with sites on the Google Display Network. Google has essentially exposed interest information which previously was only available to AdWords users (see Google announcement of “Interest Categories” circa mid 2011 and Google announcement of audience demographics circa late 2012; thanks to Sayf Sharif of LunaMetrics blog for the assist).
How do I implement this feature?
You must complete the following 3 steps to access this data:
1. Enable Display Advertiser Support. Go to Admin > Account (select your account) > Property (select your property) and then turn on the Display Advertiser Support feature (see red box/arrow below).
2. Update your GA Tracking Code. In the section above, copy the new tracking code and paste it into your site. The new code replaces the following Google Analytics JS file:
ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘.google-analytics.com/ga.js’;
With the Doubleclick JS file:
ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://’ : ‘http://’) + ‘stats.g.doubleclick.net/dc.js’;
The only hurdle that I ran across was that my site was using more than one Google Analytics script on a page. Unfortunately, my CloudFlare DNS service was injecting a Google Analytics tracking code into each page on the website. However, I was able to easily turn off this feature, update the Google Analytics script in the AllInOneSEO plugin, and begin collecting the new age/gender/interest data. I am now looking forward to analyzing what visitors like/dislike in order to produce my relevant content in the future.
Have you implemented the new Display Advertising tag? What issues or insights have you identified so far?