You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule, right?

Also known as the Pareto Principle, it’s a basic mathematical law that states roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

It’s very useful in business and economics; 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers (conversely, 80% of your complaints will come from 20% of your customers).

We can also see it in everyday life; 20% of drivers cause 80% of accidents, only 20% of your carpet will be walked on, and 80% of your calorie intake comes from 20% of the food you eat… the law seems to be everywhere.

Using the 80/20 rule online

The 80/20 rule is useful when it comes to online marketing, especially Google AdWords.

There’s no point spending good money trying to appeal to everyone when only 20% will be interested in what you’re selling.

It’s more productive to focus on that 20%, concentrating your time and budget on your customers, not the general public.

Remember, not every clicker is the right clicker – there’s no point selling chocolate to a diabetic. Narrow your ad campaign and select the consumers who are right for you.

How to target the right people

When setting up an AdWords campaign, there are many ways you can specify who can see your ad.

Google knows more about you than you think, and all that data is being stored and correlated for marketing purposes.

You may want to target your ads based on the following attributes of the person:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Household Income
  • Prior behaviour

Even using one of these four attributes can change the success of your AdWords campaign, but mixing and matching different traits and behaviours can completely transform your online marketing approach – and the results.

Of course it depends on what you’re selling. If you sell baby clothes online, you might want to target women between 25 and 45. If you restore classic cars, then men over 50 with a high household income would be your audience.

Prior behaviour is also a great way to select potential customers. Obviously, you don’t know what people have bought in the past… but Google does.

Google also knows how much they spend, how often, what time of day, and how long they shop online for.

Those algorithms know whether they complete transactions or continue to browse, if they have visited your site before, and which items they looked at the most often.

Showing your ads to the people who matter is essential for a successful AdWords campaign. By being a little more picky about who you want to sell to, Google can focus on the 20% of your customers who will actually buy something, and forget about the 80% who won’t.