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Google Introduces Major Targeting Restriction Roll-Out for Real Estate, Employment, Lending Industries

Published: August 13, 2020

Author: Sean McEntee

Starting in mid-October, Google is rolling out significant targeting restrictions for the real estate and lending industries. In this post, we’ll break down: what’s changing and when; targeting options that will remain; and recommended strategies to help marketers pivot.
Let’s jump in.

Changes and timeline

  • As of mid-October, lender ads, ads offering employment services, and ads that are selling or leasing real estate will no longer be able to leverage marital status, age, gender, parental status, or zip code targeting 
  • Google is reportedly working on a tool to ease the transition for impacted advertisers; the presumption here is that Google will notify advertisers who are currently using these targeting options and provide suggestions on adjusted targeting that complies with the new rules.

Recommended alternative targeting

  • For realtors, zip code targeting is the biggest change here since advertisers may be marketing specific properties; radius targeting, however, is an excellent alternative. Rather than target specific zip codes, advertisers can target a radius around each specific property. 
  • According to Google, there are no imminent restrictions on Google Affinity or In-Market audiences, and advertisers will retain the ability to upload custom audience lists for retargeting.
    • This makes these restrictions significantly less strict than what is enforced for  financial services and banking advertisers.
    • Advertisers may consider 3rd-party audience tool workarounds to simulate the targeting they’re about to lose, though they’ll need to be mindful to comply with privacy-focused regulations like CCPA.
  • Advertisers will be notified by Google 60 days ahead of the changes if they are likely to be affected by this policy change.
  • Other targeting that won’t be going away includes:
    • Household Income Targeting (based on zip code average)
    • Homeowner HIP status
    • Education level
    • Employment targeting
    • Custom affinity
    • In-Market audiences (this includes In-Market audiences for buy/sell/lease real estate)
    • Custom Intent / Customer Match (email uploads)
  • Target CPA, Target ROAS and all other automated bidding tools will still be available

My overall takeaway is that these changes will make it more critical for advertisers to collect and leverage 1st-party data. Tools like tCPA can force Google’s algorithm to only serve ads to those who would fit in their ideal customer persona and, in theory, automate adjustments on zip code, demographic targeting automatically accordingly.

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