What Are Internet Demographics?

Alex Newth

Internet demographics, much like business demographics, measure the type of users visiting a person’s website or the Internet, in general. Demographics are important for any website looking to make money, because it allows the website to market to a particular audience. For example, marketing a website to a 40-year-old in Peru is much different from marketing to a 15-year-old in America. Business and content websites often use this information to lean their websites toward the largest audience. There are websites that measure the demographics of all Internet users, and there are programs from Web hosts that display the website’s specific Internet demographics.

An ADSL modem, one of the ways to connect to the Internet.
An ADSL modem, one of the ways to connect to the Internet.

Personal website Internet demographics are typically developed through technology provided by the Web host or through other types of software. This demographic software is able to display basic data such as the user’s possible age and gender and the country from which he or she is browsing. This information is most often obtained from users who have profiles that specify such data.

There are websites that measure the demographics of all Internet users.
There are websites that measure the demographics of all Internet users.

Internet demographics for a website are not as thorough as demographic information obtained by businesses. The overall demographic information of Internet users also usually does not coincide with a website’s personal demographic. For an established website, it is usually better to market toward the personal demographic, whereas newer websites may get more use out of the overall demographic.

Businesses that obtain Internet demographics get more thorough information about Internet users and usually get information from online surveys. Information that businesses can obtain that most website owners cannot is a user's political leanings, race and ethnicity, household income, occupation and education level. This allows new websites to know where marketing efforts should be allocated and allows established websites to change marketing efforts to reach new demographics.

Along with who browses the Internet, Internet demographics also measure where these users are going. For example, the demographics might show that a certain age group visits social media websites more than blogs or business websites. This information allows website owners to expand existing websites or efforts to appeal to the demographic.

Having Internet demographics doesn't mean a business can rest, because demographics change all the time. The business will create more surveys to measure the amount of users and will show website owners the percentage of Internet users. Different surveys and different people responding to those surveys mean the demographic reported by each website might be slightly different.

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Discussion Comments


@Logicfest -- it doesn't come across as an exact science, but you can get a fairly good idea of who is visiting and why with a few provisos. First of all, the age can be hard to guess because you don't know who, exactly, is browsing. For example, if you have a family computer shared by four people, which one of them paid a visit to your site and which person was that? That can be hard to track.

Second, location can be a bit misleading. If you are located in Mississippi and have a site dedicated to catching bass, does it make sense that you'd have a lot of traffic from California? When you consider how many major Internet service providers are set up in that state, it makes sense that some visitors are routed through servers there rather than in the states where they live.

Demographics aren't perfect, but they can tell you a lot and the methods used to collect and present reliable information about visitors seems to be improving.


One has to wonder how accurate these demographics truly are. Sure, it is easy to calculate things like which search terms are bringing in traffic and how long people stay on pages, but I can't help but wonder about whether demographics are correct when it comes to the ages of people visiting, education and where they are located.

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