What do you do when you figure out that a lot of self-reported data you’re using to target ads is inaccurate or just plain sparse? If you’re Microsoft adCenter, you remove that targeting capability — in this case, age and gender.
There are certain inherent problems when you ask someone this information. Some people add the information accurately, most don’t and even more don’t add the information at all. So if you use age and gender, your [sic] limiting yourself to what information was provided by the searchers when signing up for Windows Live.
When we asked about this, a Microsoft spokesperson explained further, “In the past, advertisers who used exclusive targeting limited their overall volume and missed out on relevant users. It’s more valuable for advertisers to increase bids on age and gender groups that they are interested in reaching instead of exclusively targeting.”
So, advertisers can boost their bids on the particular age and gender ranges that they think are more valuable for their product or service, but they can’t make ads go only to those folks — because of data inaccuracy and/or a lack of volume.
Users of the Microsoft Advertising Intelligence (MAI) Excel add-on can still analyze their results to see how well they’re reaching certain age groups and genders, but they can only use that information to boost bids, not to target. Industry leader Google AdWords does allow for demographic targeting, but only on its content network sites that possess such data.