PPC Rules

Google recently announced some changes related to its Google Ads targeting parameters. In the past, any company could use Google Ads’ different targeting options to target specific ZIP codes or other traits when advertising their services or products to consumers.

ZIP code targeting was intended to narrow local target ads to specific areas; that way, those ads aren’t being displayed to people who don’t live locally and, therefore, won’t likely be interested in a local product or service. The same goes for targeting based on specific individual traits, such as gender or marital status.

For example, an apartment complex with only one location in a specific ZIP code might only want to target people in that ZIP code or in nearby areas. A cosmetic company might want to target its ads only to women.

While Google is keeping some of its local targeting, such as targeting based on counties, cities, radius, and designated market areas (DMAs), some companies will not be able to target potential customers or consumers using ZIP code as a parameter.

Anyone in the housing, employment, and credit industries will not be able to target based on ZIP code moving forward. These industries are also not able to target audiences based on gender, age, parental status, or marital status.

Can I Target Based on ZIP Code, Gender, Age, Parental Status, or Marital Status?

Other industries are still permitted to target consumers based on these criteria. For instance, a barber shop can still use ZIP code targeting or targeting based on gender.

But Google is of the opinion that the housing, employment, and credit industries should not be allowed to utilize these targeting methods because this could cause an unfair disadvantage to certain communities.

Here is Google’s statement regarding these policy changes:

"On October 19, 2020, Google will update its Personalized advertising policies to introduce new targeting restrictions. In an effort to improve inclusivity for users disproportionately affected by societal biases; housing, employment, and credit products or services can no longer be targeted to audiences based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP code."

Will You Be Impacted by the New Change?

If your company provides any of the services or products described above, your paid search campaigns’ targeting ads will be restricted by Google’s new policy. However, if you do not provide goods or services that fall under the restrictions, you will not likely be affected by these changes.

A few examples of companies that could be impacted by the change:

  • Apartment complexes seeking new tenants.
  • Companies that provide house hunting services.
  • Job sites, job hunting services, or companies that provide recruitment services.
  • Credit card companies, home loan companies, or car dealerships.

What Digital Division Is Doing Following This Change

Digital Division is working through all Google Ads accounts to make the transition as seamless as possible. Your Digital Division Account Manager will be reaching out to you individually to do all of the following:

  1. Discuss whether your ads will be impacted by the new policy. If they will be impacted, we will utilize other geotargeting methods to replace the ZIP code targeting where appropriate. Google is still continuing to use counties, cities, radius, and designated market areas (DMAs). We will keep you updated with information related to campaigns that will be affected by these policy changes.
  2. Ask for a new contract agreement to be signed off on agreeing to Google's new policies, as appropriate.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions. We are taking all possible measures to ensure all accounts are running without disruptions.