DevelopmentHow to Build a Better SEM Audience Profile – for Free!

How to Build a Better SEM Audience Profile – for Free!

Resources like Google AdWords Display Network and Facebook Custom Audience Profiles gives marketers many low-to-no-budget options for acquiring demographic data for SEM campaigns.

Successful marketing campaigns hinge on communicating the best message to the right audience. There are some powerful platforms that provide tons of insights into your website audience but they can get costly somewhat quickly. However, if you’re savvy (or cheap, whatever), you can conduct audience profile research for free.

You can use the resources below to construct a pretty good idea of your core website audience. This can lead to better ad copy, improved website verbiage, accelerated conversion rate optimization, and enhanced SEM performance as you adjust campaigns utilizing the acquired demographic data.

Google AdWords Display Network Demographics

We’ll start with the “lightest” of the three suggestions. Google Display Network (GDN) provides some elementary audience data right within the AdWords platform. Within your remarketing lists, you can get a quick demographic preview of each audience. If you click on the name of each audience, you can see age and gender information. The information here isn’t robust, but if you haven’t done much audience research, it’s a start.


Google has recently revamped the GDN campaign interface with some cool new features. One of my favorites is audience insights. Google now provides the demographic data for the users who were targeted by a specific campaign on the display network. Just hop into any of your GDN campaigns and check it out.

The demographic data presented in GDN campaigns is even better than what you’ll find in the remarketing lists. You get the gender, age, and parental status for the audience of this campaign. Also you can analyze audience volume by impression, clicks, and conversions.


So, really without exerting too much effort, we’ve already acquired some helpful data out of AdWords.

Google Analytics Audience Data

Once you’ve done a bit of research in AdWords, you can move over to Google Analytics to get even more useful audience data. First note that you’ll need to upgrade to the universal analytics pixel to get some of the data I’m going to show you here.

You will find your audience data within the section called “Audience” – they didn’t try to bury it in the navigation so it’s pretty easy to find. In this section, you’ll find all kinds of interesting insights. In the first section is for demographics, where you will find age and gender information.

The information below was taken from the same account as the AdWords example above. If you pay close attention, the age and gender information are a close match.


The next section in Google Analytics is Interests. Here you’ll find affinity and in-market segments for your website visitors. This data can be applied directly to your GDN targeting, and can also allow you to learn a little more about your audience’s general interests and shopping habits.

You can peruse the rest of the Google Analytics Audience section to gain further insights such as geographic location, technology preferences, and website usage behavior.

With just AdWords and Google Analytics, you’re getting a better understanding of your website audience.

Facebook Custom Audience Profile

Now we’re ready to put some gasoline on our audience research fire. If that metaphor didn’t lose you, keep reading.

We all know and love Custom Audiences within Facebook. This means that you can export a list of emails from your CRM and upload them into your Facebook ad campaigns. Super powerful.

One of the best things about Custom Audiences is that you can get a wealth of audience data without paying for a single click! After uploading your email list into the Facebook Ads platform, you can then access the Audience Insights tool and see loads of demographic data – again without launching any campaigns yet.

As I mentioned, this takes a couple more steps to get the data – creating a Facebook Ads account and uploading email addresses exported from your CRM. Here is are few screenshots from the audience data you can pull from Facebook Audience Insights.

Age, Gender and Lifestyle Info:


Relationship Status, Education Level, and Job Title Info:


Household Income, Home Ownership, and Household Size Info:



If after all of this (free) data, you still don’t have a good idea of who your website audience is- then I can’t help you. But seriously, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be mining these data sources to craft your audience profile.


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