AdMob Gender/Age customization

Hey guys.

I used to supply AdMob requests with Age and Gender information based on my expected demographics, so I would set that all my users were 35 yo females. But this obviously is wrong, while the average is indeed around it, each individual user is different, and only a few are actually 35yo and a woman, so recently (1 week ago) I dropped that setting out of my app. Then immediately I noticed a decrease on my eCPM of about 20-30% (while on Amazon it didnt decrease, so this rules out all other variables).

This leads to a few questions:

  • is that gender setting supposed to be used only when you have the demographics data from that specific user (such as by getting from his Facebook)?
  • can I get banned for using it for my general audience? (given that by changing it Im getting a higher eCPM)
  • if it’s allowed to set it, what would be the sweet spot for getting higher paying ads/eCPMs? Did anyone experience with multiple different values already?

Any thoughts/experiences?

Never bothered with doing age etc. I think I might give it a go if you’re seeing that much of an increase!

Thanks for that post. I have often thought about this “provide more info for admob” and “does that help” - in a superficial way.

Your post answered both questions (by providing an empirical example of what works) - which allowed me to do a thought experiment.

Prior to this I too used to think (thinking superficially) about the reliability of age demographics info - and HOW the ad networks could be sure we are supplying the right info. And couldn’t developers FOOL the ad networks and give them incorrect info.

I guess this way of thinking was informed by a presumption that the ad networks need this info somehow - and thus the question of reliability of info we provide them (obviously not thinking too clearly).

The situation becomes clear if you phrase it differently - that the demographics info is PURELY for YOUR OWN advantage. That is it is YOUR choice what “demographics” you provide - as that will affect what types of ads are shown. If your app is a predominantly male-user app - and you incorrectly say your users are all female - then it will be YOU who suffers - as the ads will be for women-specific products - which will not give the same click-through with men.

Thus if you incorrectly specify the demographics - then YOU will suffer. The ad networks are happy to deliver ads for whatever demographics you specify.

So in a way it could be said that this is similar to SEO/ASO/keyword optimization - how best to inform the ad networks what type of ads to delivers so you get the best user-response to your ads.

Phrased this way (and perhaps ad networks should phrase it this way also) - it becomes an optimization strategy (where the correctness of the demographic data you provide is not as relevant as the click-through/results you can get for each demographic setting).

Seen this way it becomes possible to see how for a predominantly male-user app you may say to ad networks that it is 100% male user base (even though there maybe 20% women - it would STILL be advantageous to ask for male-oriented ads to be delivered - since you cannot disambiguate between male/female user on a device-by-device level but just on a coarse level - so the choice is do you want male ads to be delivered or female ads - and if 80% are male, you would say just send me the male-specific ads). If you did something else more complicated like show male-specific ads 80% of the time and 20% female-specific - that would not be any better - as 80% x 20% = 0.8 x 0.2 = 16% of the time you would be showing female ads to male users and 20% x 80% = 16% of the time you would be showing male ads to female users - i.e. 32% of the time you would be showing wrong-demographic ads - and it is still better just to show male-specific ads as there you are wrong only 20% of the time (when the user is female).

Yeah, thats exactly the way I originally thought about it also. And thats the approach that most makes sense economically.

But given the harsh behavior of AdMob that we hear (regarding banning), I thought that it might not be the exact way the envisioned it, so I wanted to double check. Before posting the original post, I searched for the rules of these settings, but I couldnt find any info that would allow me to conclude on either side (that is forbidden to set the audience for the general public, or that it’s the developer choice to put whatever he wants there and get served it, harming the CTR).

Now for a more advanced discussion:

Can I change the demographics for the same user, on the same session? ie, on the first request during gameplay I say that he is a Male 25, then on the second a Female 46, then a Female 32, then a Male 30…

Even tho I agree with your point regarding the 80% x 20% statistical analysis, it’s more likely that a higher CTR will be achieved if you randomize the demographics paremeters within the same session, to get different ads (and eventually get one ad that grabs the user attention/desire). I noticed that most of the time I get many repeated ads and thats annoying, so if I change the demographic on the fly I might get a bigger variety of ads. Of course you should stick a bit to your audience: if your audience is 80% male 40yo, don’t request ads for 13yo females, certainly they won’t be relevant to your audience (maybe randomize between 24yo and 60yo, 70% male 30% female).

I was thinking about this same thing, whether to specify a different demographic in the same session (or even to keep it consistent from the same device). It might set off a red flag if the demographic keeps changing from the same device. I’m not sure if this is something they would check for, though, since I don’t know a lot of apps specifying it.

I think I might just run an experiment on one of my smaller apps and prompt the user for their age/gender to see if users get annoyed.

Doing this randomization might or might not give better results… it would be worth the experiment, but the greatest point is the one brought up by @adforandroidapps : is that setting totally free for the developer to play with? Or will AdMob object? I see no reason to AdMob object, but Im not willing to experiment that far (as randomizing the demographics within the session), since it might be against their idea for that feature.