3 Demographic Reports for Jedi Masters

As an analytics nerd people often assume I’m a Star Wars geek. And they’re absolutely right! While learning about Demographic Reporting in Google Analytics, I found plenty of data analysis aspects similar to one Star Wars character: Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is beloved, powerful, and he is wise. But during the latter stages of his Jedi career he’s also a bit of a creep.

Watching after a kid for over a decade, walking around in a hooded robe and using the alias “Old Ben”? You have to admit that is a little creepy.

But when all was said and done, Obi-Wan was incredibly helpful and never crossed the line with his creepiness, which is the similar to Google Analytics Demographic Reports (GADR). With GADR, you can retrieve fantastic data on who’s responding to your current pages and campaigns. These reports can glean age, gender, or even visitors’ general interests. Remember: Obi-Wan creepy, not NSA creepy.

To receive the data all you need to do is:

  • Change the GA tracking code on your pages from ga.js to dc.js
  • Enable this tracking in your account settings (more instructions on this entire process can be found at Google’s Help Center).

Demographic data comes from DoubleClick third-party cookies, so if a user does not have that cookie then their demographics and interests will not be reported. There are also thresholds built in to make sure the information does not make an individual visitor identifiable; again, Obi-Wan creepy, not NSA creepy.

Here are 3 simple combinations in GADR that you can use to find your target audience. These are general combinations so I encourage you to experiment with them as you see fit. Playing around with data can be more rewarding than you may think. Trust your instincts!

NOTE: All the data in this post reflects portent.com’s reports. Your results may (and will) vary.

Conversions with Gender and Age

Questions answered with this report:

  • Which gender completes the most site conversions?
  • Which age group completes the most site conversions?
  • Which demographic has the highest or lowest conversion rate?

We want to see how successful your campaigns are in terms of conversions. To do that, we’ll need to download the GADR data and visualize it in Excel. Simply go into Audience > Demographics > Age, and then add Gender as the secondary dimension:


Export the data to Excel and create a chart like this:


For this site, it’s clear that male visitors between 25-34 years old complete the most goals. While this is useful, it’s better to add context. Adding Conversion Rate to the chart creates a better insight into the top demographics for your site:


35 – 54 year old males (and females to a lesser extent) complete goals at a higher rate than any other demographic. Why? These tech-savvy mid-lifers are arriving at c-suite marketing jobs and needing real insights to guide their teams. We can use these insights to guide future pieces of content.

Now a new question may arise; where did these visitors come from? To find the origins of your visitors you can use GADR once again! For Obi-Wan’s origin story, you have to watch poorly acted prequel movies.


Traffic Sources

Questions answered with this report:

  • Which traffic source yields the most traffic for my target age/gender demographic?
  • Where should I look to improve my traffic sources?

Here we use the segments Search Traffic, Social Media Referrals, and Referral Traffic:


At first glance when multiple segments are used in GA with demographics your charts may look too chaotic for proper analysis:


Yikes. Again, exporting this data to Excel and utilizing pivot tables makes things much more digestible:


We see similar visit ratios across all three sources, with a few exceptions:

  • The search audience tends to skew younger – with a much higher chunk of visits from 18-24 year old males than any other traffic source.
  • At the same time, the 35+ age-ranges taper off evenly, with nice pockets of users at each point using Search.
  • After the age 45 age mark, there are virtually no social visitors. It could be that we’re just not very active on LinkedIn, where older professionals socialize.

Using this report to guide your marketing mix is really critical.

We have seen how to view demographics data for goal conversions as well as which source those visitors come from. But what can we learn about their geographical locations? This is where GADR reaches its creepiest level. Obi-Wan knew the geographic location of Luke and ended up saving his life.


Luckily, GA can’t get quite that personal with your data.

New Visits with Location and Age

Questions answered with this report:

  • What general locations do my new visitors come from?
  • Is my new campaign being promoted to the proper location and age group?

Let’s say you launched a web campaign and need to know what regions are getting the most new attention. You also want to make sure you are hitting a target age demographic. Using GADR, we can find out which city and state they are from to make sure this campaign is advertised in the proper locations.

The first step is to go into the Location report by clicking on Audience > Geo > Location. After that, segment the data to only show New Users:


Take a look at the map to identify which regions yield the most new visitors (for this example I have singled out the U.S.A.):


But what if your new site is targeting specific locations and one target age range? You’ll need to be pickier with which data you receive. Otherwise you will receive lots of useless data on demographics outside of your target area.


To get your specific geographic data, click on the target location (which can be from state level all the way down to a metropolitan area). Then use Age as a secondary dimension to retrieve a map as well as data in your table (this example covers California):


Going a step further, let’s say your site targets young adults aged 25-34 in the largest California cities. Click on advanced to place a filter on the data to only show that age group:


Now you see how well that city in ranks in terms of new visitors. The map is easier to read and the data table gives you your results:


Congratulations! Your campaign is targeted well to three of the most populated areas in California for your desired age group.

Since some of these examples are fairly specific, be sure to play around with all sorts of demographic data in GA. Combine segments, filters, date comparisons – you name it, GA can make it happen. Sometimes you may feel creepy retrieving this data on your visitors. Just remember, it cannot be traced to individual users and is very beneficial to your internet campaigns. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi, these reports have their creepy aspects but in the end are there to help us learn.

May the (analysis) force be with you!

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