FAQs related to the update to the Personalized advertising policy on housing, employment, and credit

Can you share more examples of what is considered a housing, employment, or credit ad under this new policy?

Housing

  • 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. 

The following are examples of housing products or services which will have targeting restricted

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

The following are examples of housing products or services which may not have targeting restricted:

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

Employment

  • Promotion of jobs or employment opportunities, hiring people for a job. 

The following are examples of employment products or services which will have targeting restricted

  • Job search databases
  • Freelance or “gig job” listings
  • Job listings for any business 
  • Job recruitment services
  • Services for job seekers 

The following are examples of employment products or services which may not have targeting restricted:

  • Career advice
  • Employment training
  • Networking services
  • Services for applicant management 

Credit

  • Offers of credit or products or services related to credit lending.

The following are examples of products or services which will have targeting restricted:

  • Credit card application promotions
  • Home loans, business-to-business loans
  • Car rentals, phone rentals
  • Offers of credit

The following are examples of products or services which may not have targeting restricted:

  • Financial guidance
  • Gift cards
  • Checking accounts

If promoting ads for Housing, Employment, or Credit, which targeting types will be restricted

Demographics

These must all be set to “Enable” (i.e., For gender: Male and Female must both be set to ‘Enable’. You can not have one set to Exclude and the other set to Enable.):  

  • Age 
  • Gender
  • Parental Status 

Note: For clarity, you can exclude or target only the “Unknown” category for each of these settings. (i.e., For gender: To target only the “Unknown” category, Male and Female must both be set to ‘Exclude’.).

Bid adjustments on demographics - Must be reverted to 0% or removed. 

Detailed demographics

The following (Found in the Audiences tab > Who they are?) must be removed:  

  • Marital status (including Single, In a relationship, and Married) 
  • Parental status (including all ‘Parent Stages’ (i.e., Parents of Infants (0-1 years)

Life events:

The following (Found in the Audiences tab > What they are actively researching or planning) must be removed: 

  • Marriage (including Getting Married Soon and Recently Married) 

Zip code (postal code)

In Google Ads you will often see three characters labeled as a Postal Code for Canada. While targeting the full postal code is restricted (i.e. M5J 2X2) under this policy, targeting the FSA (i.e. M5J) is not restricted.

Targeting must be removed and/or replaced with another form of targeting (i.e., City, State, Radius)

Customer Match and Remarketing targeting will only be restricted if they use demographics, Marriage/Marital Status, Parental status, or ZIP Code signals to build users lists.

If promoting ads for Housing, Employment, or Credit, which targeting types will not be restricted?

  • 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

I’m getting an alert in my account that seems related to this policy. What will happen if I do not acknowledge this policy change by clicking to accept it?

You will have 60 days to accept the policy, at which point if you haven’t had your ads labeled for the policy, they will stop serving if they are using the targeting types mentioned above also in scope of the policy. You will also not be able to create new campaigns in the account until you have accepted the policy (even beyond the 60 days).  

If you manage multiple Google Ads accounts, you can accept this new policy for all of your accounts at once by using this request form. Please note that this policy alert will still need to be accepted if you create a new account in the future. 

What happens if my account has no ads in scope of the policy today, but a year from now I create one that is in scope. What will happen?

Upon the ad being reviewed and labeled as in scope, you will get an account level notification asking you to click to accept the terms of this policy. You will have 60 days to click that and accept. Until you click to accept the policy, the newly created ads will continue to serve but you will not be able to create new campaigns in the account. After 60 days if you have still not clicked to accept the policy, the ads that are labeled will stop serving. You will only have to click to accept the policy once per account (If you add more ads in scope of the policy later, you don’t have to click to accept again).

How can my advertisers make the necessary changes to their campaigns at scale?

In addition to the Google Ads UI, advertisers will be able to make changes to their campaigns using Google Ads Editor, and Google Ads API. Some changes will be supported by Google Ads Bulk Sheets. See here for more guidance.

Is there a way I’ll be able to tell I’m using targeting that is in scope in my Google Ads account?

There are a number of changes we will be making in Google Ads to help with this identification: 

  • In the alerts (Bell Icon in the upper right of your account) you will get notifications that there are Ad Groups containing ads labeled for this policy which use restricted targeting. 
  • Impacted ads will be included in Policy Manager ("Tools & settings" > "Policy manager") 
  • We will be surfacing ‘Restricted Targeting’ call outs within the Demographics and Audience sections 
  • We will introduce new policy labels for Housing, Employment, and Credit that allow you to filter for ads that have this label in the account. These labels will also be visible in Google Ads Editor (Version 1.4 or later) to help make changes at scale:
  • "Restricted Verticals - Credit"
  •  "Restricted Verticals - Employment"
  • "Restricted Verticals - Housing" 

In Google Ads Editor these can be found under the ‘Disapproval Reasons’ filter. Note that these statuses don’t mean an ad is ‘Disapproved’ per se, it’s just the filter in Editor that policy labels live under. 

Will I still be able to see reporting on age, gender, marital status, parental status or Zip Code?

You will be able to see reporting for the criterion reported in the Demographics tab of the UI. 

  • All advertisers will be able to see Zip Code reporting in the User location report. 
  • For Search and Display campaigns, if your Audience tab is set to Observation, you will be able to see reporting for Parental Status, Marital Status and Recently Married. 
  • Video campaign audiences do not support Observation, so you will not be able to see reporting on Parental Status, Marital Status and Recently Married.

I can’t comply with the new policy in time (before October 19, 2020). Will there be a grace period?

There will be no exceptions to this policy change once enforcement begins in mid-October. We recommend you make any necessary changes to your account prior to the enforcement date.

What happens if my campaign or ad group is targeting multiple countries including US and CA? Will ads labeled for this policy still be able to target age, gender, marital status, parental status or Zip Code for other countries outside of the US and CA within the same campaign / ad group?

In general, the ads labeled for this policy using restricted targeting will be blocked from serving in the US and CA. However, they can still serve in the other regions.

Does this new restriction only apply to the US/CA? What if the advertiser is not based in US/CA, do these policies still apply? 

This update applies to all housing, employment, and credit ads serving in the United States and Canada. The focus of the enforcement will be on ad target geo location and not based on advertiser’s billing or physical location.

I have an ad group where some ads are labeled for the policy but others not. If I’m using problematic targeting, will the whole ad group not serve or just the ones labeled for the policy? 

Just the ones labeled for the policy. 

I have an ad group where some of my targeting is in scope and some of it is not? I have one ad in the ad group and it is in scope of the policy. Will the whole ad group not serve, or just the problematic targeting types? 

The ad (and ad group in this example because it only has one ad) will not serve because it is using restricted targeting. The ad will not serve on the “non restricted” targeting.

What gets considered as part of approving my ad?

We review both the ad text and landing page (for ads with image or video components, such as Display and YouTube ads, we also consider the visual elements of the ad). If a significant portion of the landing page is in scope, the ad could be flagged for the policy despite the ad itself not containing elements related to housing, employment, or credit.

Am I able to alter my ad copy to place my ad outside of this policy?

There may be scenarios where this is possible, but we can never guarantee edits will or will not place you out of scope of the policy as we review both the ad and the landing page the ad drives to as part of the creative labeling. If the landing page contains content related to housing, employment, or credit the ad could remain in scope of the policy despite nothing in the ad being related.

How do I ensure my client is not targeting restricted targeting categories in customer match lists?

It is the advertiser’s responsibility to follow all policies when using our products, including policies regarding restricted targeting.

Does this impact publishers?

This change is limited to advertisers targeting the US or CA who have housing, employment or credit ads in Google Ads, SA360, DV360 as well as reservation products. This includes all ad formats (text, display, video) and all channels (Search, Display, Video).

 

What if my client is using Campaign Manager geo targeting and DV360 demo targeting?

The creative will be in-scope if the advertiser has ZIP Code targeting applied in Campaign Manager AND is a HEC creative.

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