If you use Google Analytics you probably by now have noticed their switching to "Universal Analytics". The Universal Analytics is a new way Google collects and measures your website's user data. With UA also has came an option to measure audience demographics and their interests. Because of the way data is collected (with a DoubleClick cookie and device identifiers) and because there are web users who opt-out or otherwise block collecting their information in this way these analytics only give very limited information of the audience. However they do give an insight to what sort of people are visiting your website. In order to get this audience information you must make a little adjustment to your tracking code (or enable the reporting on the GA plugin or module you use) and enable Demographics on your Google Analytics reporting.
Demographics information is about the age and gender of your website visitors. For instance this site, Made In Helmikuu appears to attract adults. The biggest group are 25-34 year olds and on the second place are 35-44 year old ones. That is not much of a surprise considering the subjects I write on this blog (which is of course the most visitor attracting part of my site). Similarly another site which demographic info I can access, Stylebook attracts mainly 25-34 year olds. My site seems to be well balanced between women and men. Male audience members are winning by a margin, about 51% of visitors. For Stylebook these numbers are not surprisingly very different. Stylebook is a beauty related site so it's audience is very female oriented.
Interests data is a bit more complicated. It includes affinity categories, in-market segmentation and other categories. Affinity Category lists broad lifestyle based categorising of your website's audience. It divides the user groups similarly as television audiences. The biggest visitor group on Made In Helmikuu are Technophiles and after them come Shutterbugs. Shoppers/Shopaholics are in the top ten too, the sixth group after TV and Movie Lovers and News Junkies. For Stylebook these groups are in a very different order and there are some of those that don't fit in MIH audience at all. Shoppers/Shopaholics are second largest group and Beauty Mavens are high on the list too. Home Decor Enthusiasts, Travel Buffs and Health & Fitness Buffs have high rankings on both sites.
In-Market Segment shows for what sort of specific product categories your website audience is in the market. It appears that these categories are still under works on Google and therefore they give information about only a fraction of the audience. On Made In Helmikuu the audience is in for employment and career coaching. That does make me think of what I could offer. Any ideas? Additionally real estate and home decor seem to have interest amongst my website's visitors. Stylebook audience wants apparel and accessories, and baby stuff. I guess it's because of the female heavy demographics.
Other Category defines the user groups based on which specific content they consume, also how recently and how frequently they consume it. It's the most focused categorising of these three and gives more information on your audiences behaviour. Made In Helmikuu visitors like to consume art and entertainment, especially entertainment news, online videos and movies. They also are in for cooking recipes and social networks as well as tech stuff. Stylebook audience is also into entertainment, but their interest is more in shopping, beauty and healthcare.
These demographics and interests can be used in custom reports and drilling down the audience information. As example you can find out how the age groups are divided in genders or vice versa. Or you can create reports about which audience categories are most active on your site. The demographics and interests data is highly targeted for advertisement usage, especially for Google's own AdSense. Besides that the interest groups and demographics can give any website owner, blogger or other, a good idea of what sort of content to provide or feature more prominently on their site. As mentioned above this segmentation doesn't give all the answers about what's going on with your audience. It only gives a superficial idea of who are the people visiting your site. Either way I think the demographics and interests are the most interesting feature on my analytics as of late, more interesting than visitors count, bounce rate or other dry and cold metrics. For those who are in love with the word and idea of niche this is it. This is one way to see what is your niche market and perhaps adjust your marketing and content towards it.
Have you dived into Demographic and Interest Reports? Do you have some great dashboard ideas to share? Do tell in the comments section.
I'm Mervi Eskelinen
I'm an artist, nerd and creative business wizard, dedicated to help you build the business of your dreams, market your creativity, and find a meaningful way to support your lifestyle.