The Google suite continues to expand with various tools available to help you with your business, your website, and your marketing – pretty much anything. One such tool is Google’s Ad Planner, which can help you target specific websites which your potential customers visit so you can know where to put your advertising dollars.
In today’s marketplace, advertising online is a must. With the huge amount of online traffic happening every day for any given topic or niche, it’s vital for a business to capitalize on that through online advertising. However, this can be a difficult venture since it’s hard to know what sites to consider advertising with, let alone what kind of traffic a site gets and the demographics of that traffic.
Ad Planner helps you know where to start when considering advertising options by allowing you to set the specific demographic criteria you’re looking for – age, gender, location, income, etc. – and see recommendations for related sites you should consider advertising with. The service is free with any Google account, and will not only list recommendations but will give in-depth analysis of each site – including demographic, keyword, and advertising information.
Alternatively, if you’ve found a site – perhaps by chance – that you’d like to consider advertising with, you can also search based on that website. So you can input Wikipedia.org, for instance, and see a huge amount of demographic information about the visitors to that site. It also gives related sites, which can help you on your pursuit to develop an appropriate advertising plan.
This plan – called a “Media Plan” in the Ad Planner – can all be managed through the same software. These media plans allow you to group information together for your various keywords and/or target demographics.
So how do you actually use all of this information?
Well, if you’re starting from scratch, there’s going to be a lot of initial experimentation. If you don’t really know who your target demographic is, you’ll want to start out small (especially if you have a small budget) and test a few different sites. You’ll want to base your initial strategy on similar sites to yours or on specific keywords.
If, however, you already have a target demographic for your product (or, after a few months, you’ve figured out who your target is) you can be a little more certain as to which sites will be the best places for your advertising money. You may still want to start small, but as you find success with specific advertisers you’ll want to expand your efforts in order to generate more revenue.
But even if you’re not interested in starting an advertising campaign, Ad Planner is a great resource just for research. Some companies pay good money for tools that generate this type of data, and Google is giving it away for free. The data is an estimation, but is still extremely helpful. Ad Planner gives you information about unique visitors, page views, total visits, and average time on the website. It will give estimation on users’ age, education, income, gender, and more. It will show related sites and related user interests.
This data will then help you tailor your own site to your users’ needs. If you’re getting a lot of young visitors, you’re going to present your product in a different way than if most of your site’s visitors were over 55 years old. You can check out competitor’s websites and see what kind of traffic they’re getting, and try to piece together what they’re doing to get that traffic. You may want to imitate them in order to pull away a portion of that demographic, or you may want to focus on the demographic your competitors are missing.
Simply put, information is what will allow you to make educated decisions – not only about your advertising strategies, but also about your own website, products, and services. So take some time to explore Google’s Ad Planner and see what you can learn.
Scott Spjut is a writer and editor who has been featured in various magazines, newspapers and websites, including Newsweek, the Washington Post, CBS News and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. With a B.A. in Communications, he continues to write on a wealth of topics – politics, health and fitness, business, marketing and more. Scott currently works with PMI Coaching helping people change their lives.