Evaluating the performance of demographic targeting using gender in sponsored search

Bernard J. Jansen, Kathleen Moore, Stephen Carman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


In this research, we evaluate the effect of gender targeted advertising on the performance of sponsored search advertising. We analyze nearly 7,000,000 records spanning 33 consecutive months of a keyword advertising campaign from a major US retailer. In order to determine the effect of demographic targeting, we classify the campaign's key phrases by a probability of being targeted for a specific gender, and we then compare the key performance indicators among these groupings using the critical sponsored search metrics of impressions, clicks, cost-per-click, sales revenue, orders, and items, and return on advertising. Findings from our research show that the gender-orientation of the key phrase is a significant determinant in predicting behaviors and performance, with statistically different consumer behaviors for all attributes as the probability of a male or female keyword phrase changes. However, gender neutral phrases perform the best overall, generating 20 times the return of advertising than any gender targeted category. Insight from this research could result in sponsored advertising efforts being more effectively targeted to searchers and potential consumers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-302
Number of pages17
JournalInformation Processing and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Media Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Library and Information Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluating the performance of demographic targeting using gender in sponsored search'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this