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Google Rolls Out New Restrictions to Personalized Advertising Policies: What Dealers Need to Know

Sep 25th 2020

On October 19, 2020, Google will release new targeting restrictions to its personalized advertising policies.

In an effort to improve inclusivity and lessen the users disproportionately affected by societal biases, Google is removing some targeting options for advertising campaigns related to housing, employment, and credit products or services. Beginning October 19, 2020, associated businesses can no longer target audiences based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or ZIP code. Examples of impacted products or services include car loans, which means auto dealerships must adhere to new guidelines by the time restrictions go into effect.

What Car Dealerships Need to Know

Google Ads currently allows advertisers to adjust auction bids based on gender, age, parental status, or marital status. Advertisers even have the ability to completely exclude any of these groups. If dealers are adjusting their bidding or fully excluding certain demographics, they will need pivot strategy come October to adhere to the new policy.

Demographic bid adjustments can be a more nuanced tactic and may not be present in most car dealer’s current efforts. On the other hand, geographic targeting plays a large role in most, if not all, dealer strategies. If your dealership heavily leverages ZIP code targeting, now is the time to transition to a different, yet similar geo-targeting type, such as radius targeting.

There are a few automotive brands that currently mandate what ZIP codes dealers can advertise within, including Audi and Mercedes-Benz, but Google allows for a variety of radius sizes that can be used instead of ZIP codes to allow dealers to adhere to both OEM and Google restrictions. If you’re unclear how these changes may impact campaign or ad performance, here are answers to a few questions that may be on your mind:

  • Will this impact campaign performance? With close monitoring and active management, ad performance should not falter. Even with these changes, your campaigns can still be precisely targeted and focused on in-market shoppers. 
  • How do I accomplish the same geo-coverage? With a smart geo-targeting strategy, you should still have the ability to appropriately find in-market shoppers. Radius targeting can be as laser-focused as ZIP code targeting. The key is using a variety of radius sizes to mimic your sales-by-ZIP data and not defaulting to a large, one-size-fits-all radius around your dealership.
  • Where can I find more information? As we’re getting closer and closer to October 19, advertisers will start noticing notifications within the Google Ads web interface, prompting them to “fix” potentially non-compliant targeting tactics. For an FAQ section on this topic, visit Google’s Advertising Policy help center.
  • What do I need to do to stay compliant? For the majority of Adpearance clients, this policy change should require either a fairly minor update or no action at all. If you’re not an active client and have questions about updating your targeting or assessing your account, reach out to [email protected]. We’re happy to assist and can help make sure your targeting adheres to Google’s personalized advertising policies.

As Google continues to put out more resources around this change, we will continue to update this post with new information. If you would like to receive updates and resources like this directly in your inbox, sign up to receive the Adpearance newsletter below. 


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