MSN has a feature for incremental keyword bidding on gender and age targeting that I think has potential for positive results.

The idea is to allow MSN to automatically raise your bids to rank higher if and only when a person of your selected age and gender is searching for your keywords. This person should, in theory should be more likely to make a purchase. I don’t mind paying a higher bid for someone who is more likely to make a purchase than non-purchasing types.

Be careful though, as it is ‘incremental bidding’, which means you’re increasing your bid for when your target age or gender clicks on your keyword. For example, if I increase my original bid by 20% for ONLY when women, ages 25-35 who enter my search term, my ad will rank higher because my bid was increased by 20% for that search.

MSN over time collects data from users’ previous search queries, various market research, customer service inquires, msn messenger and previously visited websites to estimate their gender and age. No, it’s not an exact science, but according to a study in Beijing, their new algorithms correctly guessed the gender of a web surfer 80% of the time, and his or her age 60% of the time.

How to set incremental bids for gender and age: In the keyword performance tab of an ad group, there’s an option at the bottom of the page that says, ‘Set additional bids for location, day, time, age and gender’. Once you click that, you’ll be able to select a percentage of increase for gender and age.

I’m beginning to test this feature, and I will post my results at a later date. If anyone else has used this before and has any insight, please feel free to let me know!