Demo on Google Maps, AdWords Soon?

I’ve always said that once geotargeting improves it becomes demographic targeting. Right now, absent WiFi or cell triangulation, the primary medium for geotargeting is reverse IP lookups, which are often correct but not geographically precise. Improvements are on their way from a variety of sources including 1020/Placecast, Urban Mapping (geomods) and others.

Recently Google made its AdWords geotargeting interface more map-centric and intuitive:

AdWords interface

Poking around on Google Maps this past weekend, I discovered that someone had enabled the presentation of demographic data on Google Maps (as a Mapplet). Census/demographic data on maps has long been available for enterprises from a number of companies. And beyond the fact that geotargeting remains imprecise, I’ve never understood why this data isn’t available for AdWords and Panama, for example. (MSFT adCenter, Google and Yahoo offer demo targeting in other ways.)

So take a look and you’ll see the immediate possibilities for transforming geotargeting into demographic targeting.

Age (18-21):


Ethnic group (Asian):

Ethnic group

Household size/composition (one woman):


Very interesting in my opinion.

All this assumes that the census data are accurate, but it’s a compelling new wrinkle and step forward for geotargeting if targeting itself can be improved.

12 Responses to “Demo on Google Maps, AdWords Soon?”

  1. ian Says:

    it’s very interesting and makes sense–interactive marketing will follow the path of direct marketing. but there’s one significant point that remains unchanged…if geo-IP is all that is used to determine a user’s location, hyper/granular/demo targeting is completely moot as it is all predicated on the user’s IP, which is chock full of holes:

  2. cohn Says:

    GeoDemographic Targeting?

    I too found the new Adwords “click to target a location” tool much easier to use. Its more intuitive and user friendly than the previous “tool”.

  3. Greg Sterling Says:

    Yes. Ian’s generally correct about limitations of current methodologies in use. But improvements are coming.

  4. ian Says:

    Tim- don’t be fooled by a UI change/enhancement–it doesn’t necessarily translate to better geotargeting since the underlying IP may not be known below the level of a state or city.

  5. cohn Says:

    Thanks Ian… I too have had issues with the accuracy of IP based mapping and targeting.

    I have ran campaigns in 25-50 markets with multiple store locations and trade area restrictions.

    With feet on the street we found ads for Store #1 in Store 2’s area and so on. Smaller maps produced ever larger margins of error.

    After thinking about it for a while, I concluded large blocks of IP addresses at the phone and cable companies (small businesses and residences) aren’t as predictably located and thus targeted as corporate servers.

    The above example doesn’t include satellite based internet services which almost always
    resolve to a handful of their locations.

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