What are Demographics?

Demographics help marketers better understand their audiences by organizing and categorizing the characteristics of people. Identifying the key demographics of a target audience is an important part of consumer research because marketers can learn how different groups of people may interact with the brand. Because marketers want quantifiable data about a population, demographics can form a solid foundation on which to base marketing decisions. Demographics bring context to understanding an audience. Using this information, marketers can construct user profiles. A company may use several data points to specify information about their target audience. For example, a marketer may want to target millennial married homeowners residing in U.S. cities with populations exceeding one million people. These couples should have a combined household income of at least $100,000. Each characteristic forms a data point.

How Demographics Work

  1. They can be measured in different ways

    Demographics can be measured differently depending on the category of information. One way to measure is with a counted number. For example, the number of people who live in Los Angeles forms a demographic. Another way to measure a demographic is by calculating the rate of change over the course of a set time period. An example of this would be finding out how fast the population of Los Angeles has grown over the past decade. A final way to measure demographics is by percentage. A prime example might be specifying the percentage of Los Angeles population that is female.

  2. There are multiple sources of demographics

    When researching demographics of a target audience, marketers can turn to a number of sources. Government agencies can provide a variety of demographics on the general U.S. population. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is available free to the public and can provide a snapshot of a particular geographic area or of an industry. Another source of demographic data is from industry associations or companies that conduct bench marking reports on their members or clients. For example, most social media companies provide some level of demographic information about their users. A company may work in-house compiling consumer information used to create important demographic profiles. For example, this might include collecting data on the locations where users make their purchases or asking on which devices do consumers browse the company's website.

  3. They help predict trends

    Depending on the data source and the size of the sample, demographic information can help marketers make predictions about larger groups of populations and how they will interact with a brand. Analyzing demographics can reveal target audience trends that can drive strategy, create new products and change the course of business.

Why Demographics Matter

  1. They highlight your audience

    The key to successful marketing campaigns is reaching your target audience. Demographics help you identify your audience and understand how it interacts with your brand. This information can help you create more meaningful messages. Demographics are like a window into your audience.

  2. They are objective

    Although different people may make varying assumptions or inferences from a set of demographic data, the demographics themselves remain the same. They consist of metrics revealing characteristics about your audience that you can refer to when you need specific information. With the results of the data, you can dive deeper into understanding who you’re trying to reach.

  3. They are adaptable

    Not every company can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in consumer research. Luckily, there are a variety of sources from which companies can find demographic data to add to the company toolbox. Companies can use demographics multiple times during strategic marketing campaign planning. As the company’s needs change, it can adapt the data appropriately.