RE: Your Google Personalized Ads – Important Updates!

If you’re part of the homebuilding industry, there are important changes coming to Google’s personalized advertising! A few days ago, Google announced there will be new restrictions to personalized ads.

Here is the official statement:

“On October 19, we are updating our personalized advertising policies to introduce new targeting restrictions. In an effort to improve inclusivity for users disproportionately affected by societal biases; ads for 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.”

We know that changes like these are confusing, so we dug a little deeper to answer any questions you may have about this update.

What exactly does this mean?

In short, ads that fall into these categories will now have limitations on how you can target your audience. For our intents and purposes, we’ll focus on the housing industry restrictions. If you use personalized ads, you will have to go into your settings and accept these policy changes before October 19th. You will not be able to create new campaigns until you do so.

Current ads that have these restrictions in place will no longer be run by Google after the implementation date.

What is considered “Housing”?

According to Google, Housing falls into two sub-categories:

  • Promotion of housing for sale or rental:  Housing includes apartments, mobile homes, and houseboats.
  • Businesses and services whose purpose is to enable sale or rental of homes.

For more information about the definitions of this category, check out this FAQ.

How will these restrictions work?

That being said, not all ads that fall under this category will be restricted under these new policies. Ads that are for the following WILL NOT have targeting restrictions:

  • Hotels or vacation rentals
  • Property inspection or escrow services
  • Office building or office space rentals
  • Home design services
  • Property management services

While these products and services WILL have targeting restrictions:

  • Housing sale or rental databases
  • Promoting a single home for sale
  • Real estate agents or brokers

For ads that fall into this second category, you must enable all demographics for gender, age, and parental status. Fortunately, these restrictions do not include all targeting types on advertisements. The following ad personalization options will not be restricted under these new guidelines:

  • Household Income
  • Homeownership Status
  • Education
  • Detailed Demographics (except those mentioned above)
  • In-Market (including Employment)
  • Affinity
  • Custom Affinity
  • Life Events (except those mentioned above)
  • Custom Intent
  • Similar Audiences
  • Geo – City, County, Country, DMA/TV Region, Local Subdivision, Municipality, National Subdivision, Place of Interest, Province, Region, State, Location by Demographic, Airport, Privacy Safe Radius

How will geographic restrictions be affected?

You probably noticed that there’s an overlap in regards to the geo-targeting restrictions. With this new policy you won’t be able to target specific ZIP codes, but you will be able to target a certain area. For example, let’s say you have a home for sale in Huntington Beach in the 92647 zip code. If you want to do a personalized ad for this home, you won’t be able to directly target that specific location, however you can do a radius surrounding that area.

What does this mean for your marketing strategy?

Even though your targeting restrictions will be limited, it does not necessarily mean that your marketing endeavors will be impacted in the long run. There are ways to restructure your ads to make up for those targeting restrictions (hint: our team can help you do just that!) Until these restrictions go into effect, we won’t see the full impact on marketing efforts. But once they do, the changes can be monitored to help you decide how you should move forward with your marketing decisions and ad retargeting.

What should be your next steps?

First, you need to accept the new terms and conditions for this policy and check what ads you currently have running that may be impacted by these changes! Pause any ads that are not compliant with these new changes. You will have to reset these ads according to the new standards and utilize retargeting audiences and a lookalike audience more in your ads to make up for the new restrictions.

If you have any questions, or need additional help reformatting your Google ads to meet these requirements, our team is here to help! Feel free to contact us at any time, and we will be happy to assist you with these new changes.

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