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Google Restricts Targeting for Housing, Employment and Credit Categories

What this means for senior living and how you can still reach your target audience.

Once again, Google has changed the game for senior living marketing. Similar to the targeting restrictions put in place by Facebook last year, Google has followed suit and removed select targeting options for specific categories of advertisers.

According to Google, “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.”

Who is affected by these changes?

Advertisers in the verticals below will be subject to the new restrictions:

  • Housing: listing sites, individual homes for sale or rental, real estate services including senior living and housing
  • Employment: Ads for jobs, job recruitment sites, job listing sites
  • Credit: Credit cards, home and car loans, other personal loans

What does this mean for the senior living category?

This means all Google Ads campaigns, which could include paid search, online display and/or YouTube won’t be able to use the restricted targeting methods moving forward.

Paid search is primarily driven by keyword and search intent, so we expect the impact to be minimal. While zip code targeting has been taken away, campaigns can still target users by a small geo-radius of just under two miles, allowing us to continue to reach users searching from or about the target market area in a granular way.

Online display and YouTube will likely see a larger impact primarily due to the removal of age targeting, although there are other viable ways to target users including keyword, topics and affinity audiences.

At GlynnDevins, we run online display campaigns through an in-house DSP, which is infused with third party data separate from Google, so our display campaigns will remain unaffected.

Is there a workaround?

Fortunately, yes. While Google has restricted the use of their own data when it comes to gender, age, parental status, marital status and zip code, it allows advertisers to upload advertiser-owned first party data segments.

Make sure your digital marketing partner has an expansive first party data install to continue to target by these methods through their own data and custom audience lists. When Facebook rolled out similar restrictions last year, we learned that this approach can work, and have in fact seen performance improve since switching to targeting by in-house data rather than data available in the Facebook ad platform.

Of course, we’ll continue to monitor Google ad campaign performance closely and pivot when necessary. This isn’t the first major Google update and certainly won’t be the last as they continue to refine and expand their product offering while protecting user data and privacy.

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