How to Enable Demographic Data in Google Analytics

Ever wondered the average age of people on your website? Or what their interests are?

With Google Analytics you can now find out, by making a small change to your tracking code.

By enabling this feature in Google Analytics you will see:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests

Example reports shown below.

Demographic report in Google Analytics

Making the change

To enable demographic and interest reports in Universal Analytics, you have to make one small change to your tracking code.

[code] ga(‘create’, ‘UA-XXXXXX-XX’, ‘example.com’);
ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’); // this is the new line
ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);
[/code]

You should then go to the Google Analytics interface and navigate to the Demographics Overview report. Once there, follow the instruction to verify your tracking code.

Within 24 hours you will start to see data in the reports.

Building demographic segments

Once you’ve got the data coming in, what can you do with it?

You can create segments to see how different groups act on your site! Maybe a younger audience buys different products to an older audience.

Demographic segmentation

You could also push these segments to a remarketing list, and retarget people via DoubleClick or AdWords.

How are demographics calculated?

Not 100% sure, but I assume it’s a combination of DoubleClick data, plus other partner data.

Due to Google’s fingers in all pies, they are able to match Google Analytics cookie IDs with other service cookies IDs. If they’ve seen the person on a third party site, and that person has provided information, then they can use associate this information with your web analytics data.

As the number of people they have demographic information on is going to be smaller than the number of people who visit your site, they ‘scale up’ these numbers proportionally.

For example, of the 100 people who visited your site, they have seen 10 of them on other sites, and know that 2 are male and 8 are female.

Therefore, it is assumed that 20 of the 100 people who visited your site are male, and 80 are female.

If you need any further Google Analytics assistance, it is well worth investing in a Google Analytics consultant, please contact me for details.

Ed Brocklebank (aka Metric Mogul) is an analytics and digital marketing consultant. He helps business of all sizes become more data-driven through measurement, strategy and activation. He works as a Strategic Analytics Director at Jellyfish in London, as well as delivering training on behalf of Google and formerly General Assembly.