Google Chrome icon (September 2014)

When was the last time you randomly searched “carpet cleaner” with spotless floors? Search engines are the most direct indication of product interest. But unfortunately, predicting search patterns can be difficult. Population factors, for example, can rapidly change how people search and what products they seek.  Here are five reasons that demographic data should influence your search engine optimization strategies.

Regional Language Changes 

Regional differences can mean the same product uses distinct names in different geographic places.  In a classic example, a carbonated beverage company located in New Jersey may want to buy Bing or Google search engine ads using the phrase “soda machine.”  If they conducted a regional analysis of click results, they may find the ads only effective in the US coastal areas.

However, the problem is unrelated to the advertising platform, the amount spent, or campaign design. Only the US coastal areas use the word soda for carbonated beverages.  If the beverage company wants to reach the entire US, they need to use different words to describe the product in different communities. The same may be true for your product or service.

The Type Of User Device Matters

According to the Pew Research Center young adults all commonly use smartphones as the dominant method of internet access.  Since many smartphones come with voice-activated and automated searching applications, you should consider how those services may direct a search. You do not want to waste an expensive ad designed for desktop consumers when most of your potential clients are using much smaller screens.

Consider The Internet Speed

This doesn’t necessarily change the consumer’s search habits, but it will change what they find. Many of your customers outside metropolitan areas may not yet have access to broadband high-speed internet. Paying for a high definition multi-media ad may not work if you are targeting more rural customers.  They will immediately end the ad or leave the page because the speed of their connection is insufficient.

Customers with slower connections may also consistently search for written product reviews instead of videos.

Consumer Demographic Mixes Matter

If you regularly use market statistics in order to inform your strategic advertising, you may need to avoid mistakes due to demographic mixes.  A surface examination may show two communities with comparable average salaries and similar age group percentages. However, significantly higher income concentrations within the older generations of one community may mean a lower market for young homebuyers.

Age Matters

People buy different products as we age through life. Younger people are more likely to search for nightlife and entertainment.  Older people are less likely to search for information related to clothing or fast food.   Make sure you keep your eye on the demographics of your target communities.  You might receive a greater response if you target communities with higher percentages of potential customers.