Age is one marketing characteristic that Google is restricting as changes to its personalized advertising policies go into effect on October 19, 2020. Baby boomer marketing campaigns, aiming to reach Americans born between 1946 and 1964, are likely to be affected by this Google Ads age-related policy change that was announced on June 11, 2020. Baby boomers are now aged 56 to 74 and represent a 70-million strong audience of great interest to many marketers.
The Google personalized ad policy, which relates to ads for housing, employment, and credit, appears below.
“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.”
According to the Google policy restrictions, the types of products or services that will be affected include:
- Housing: Housing listing sites, individual houses for sale or rental, real estate services
- Employment: Ads for jobs, job recruitment sites, job listing sites
- Credit: Credit cards, loans including home loans, car loans, appliance loans, short-term loans
Specific products targeting baby boomers and seniors affected by the Google Ads Age restrictions could include:
- Reverse mortgages
- Senior living facilities
- Home healthcare agencies
- Retirement and 55+ residential communities
- Credit cards
Google Ads Age Targeting and Ad Personalization
Under the new policy, the “demographics” characteristics of age, gender and parental status must all be set to “Enable” in a Google campaign.
Advertisers can still run ads, but they will be limited in their ability to target the baby boomer market (or others) by age for the indicated categories. Previously, Google allowed age filtering in the following age ranges: 18-24, 25-34, 34-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+ and unknown.
Another workaround is to simply address the age issue in the body of the ad copy. For example, the advertiser should be able to say something like, “Reverse Mortgages for Homeowners Aged 62+.”
At some point the cost / benefit analysis of a baby boomer ad campaign may no longer sense for certain products. Google ads targeting baby boomers for reverse mortgages, for example, may cease being cost-effective. A homeowner must be 62 or older to qualify for the government’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program, known more commonly as a reverse mortgage. Under Google’s new ad personalization policy, reverse mortgage campaigns can not be targeted by age. This means that many of the ad dollars in a reverse mortgage campaign will be wasted on the wrong audience.
Baby Boomer Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing
If age-based pay-per-clicks ads lose their effectiveness, marketers who are selling to baby boomers may want to shift their focus to digital marketing.
- Content marketing is one alternative, and includes blog posts, white papers, ebooks and other education-based communications.
- Sending a monthly newsletter to current and past clients as well as prospects is a very effective form of client retention. A newsletter can also help with client acquisition.
- Social media marketing on Twitter, Facebook company pages, LinkedIn, and YouTube remain a great way to build relationships over the longer term.
Google Advertiser Notifications
Google will notify affected advertisers through their Google Ads account. Advertisers with questions can contact their account representative or call Google’s support line, available within their account, for further assistance.
Google’s action is based on the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 and is intended to reduce discrimination in online advertising.
Click on the link for a Google FAQ page on the new ad personalization policies.
Facebook Ad Restrictions Imposed in 2019
Facebook made a similar move last year when the social media giant informed advertisers that ads for housing, employment or credit offers could no longer be targeted by age, gender or ZIP code. The Facebook ad restrictions also apply to Facebook’s Instagram and Messenger services.
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