Google Ads and Google Ads Editor bulk tools to help with migration for the Housing, Employment and Credit (HEC) policy

To provide a comprehensive and consolidated view of your Audiences and make audience management and optimisation simpler, you’ll see the following improvements in Google Ads:

  • New audience reporting
    Detailed reporting about audience demographics, segments and exclusions is now consolidated in one place, the 'Audiences' tab within the left page navigation menu. You can also easily manage your audiences from this report page. Learn more about audience reporting
  • New terms
    We’re using new terms on your Audience report and throughout Google Ads. For example, 'audience types' (these include similar, custom, in-market and affinity) are now referred to as audience segments and 'remarketing' is now referred to as 'your data'. Learn more about the updates to audience terms and phrases

This article outlines the steps that you need to take to update your targeting in bulk using Google Ads and Google Ads Editor to make your targeting compliant with the new Housing, Employment and Credit policy.

Google will begin enforcing this policy on 19 October 2020.

The below topics will be covered in this article:

Requesting Google Support

Most targeting updates that need to be made can be done using the instructions below. If you have a dedicated Google sales representative, you can also reach out to them to request implementation support on your behalf. It’s recommended that you reach out to them as early as possible if you would like to request implementation support. We are unable to help with implementation support for Google Ads accounts that don’t have a dedicated sales representative.

Google Support can help you bulk update:

  • Bid modifications
  • Audience segments (including Detailed Demographics segments)
  • Converting Post Codes to Cities

Google support can't help you bulk update:

  • Demographics – Age, Gender, Parental Status

Creative Updates

Enforcement for this policy will be based on creative review and restricted targeting within the same ad group. Some advertisers, including those whose business model is not Housing, Employment or Credit, might have their ad labelled as in scope for this policy. If this is the case, the advertisers who are labelled will only have to update their creative and will not need to follow the instructions below. Editing the ad will cause the ad to be re-reviewed automatically, with no further action needed.

*There’s no guarantee updates to creatives will place the ads outside of the scope of the Housing, Employment and Credit policy. If the ad creative of an advertiser is questionable for the policy, their site will be reviewed with the possibility that even if the ‘Housing, Employment or Credit’ language is removed from the ads they’ll still be in scope of the policy.

The creative bulk notes below are not exhaustive for ad types or use cases. The amount of time that it will take for you to update your creatives is entirely dependent on 1) How many actually fall in scope and 2) How much variance you have in ad text/formats across your campaigns.

Google Ads Editor

To only edit ads related to housing, employment or credit in your account, use advanced filter functions in Google Ads to locate these ads. Copy and paste this filter into the filter field:

FILTER FOR CONTAINER(EXIST(ads, disapproval reasons : ('Restricted Verticals – Credit', 'Restricted Verticals – Employment', 'Restricted Verticals – Housing')))

Text ads

Scroll through your texts ads and look for common phrases that might be related to housing, employment or credit, then filter for those phrases.

Example

An auto dealership advertises car loans with '4% interest on car loans'. Since the auto dealership is advertising car loans and those would fall under our policy, the auto dealership would need to filter their ads for anything related to 'interest' or 'loans'.

Then, edit your text ads using the 'Replace text' option in Google Ads Editor. When you edit your text ads, be aware of character limits and make sure that the ad is grammatically correct to avoid ad approval issues.

Image ads

You can add multiple image ads at once. However, bulk edits to image ads are only recommended if the image size or template is similar. You can’t edit the actual image assets in bulk.

Video ads

  • For the skippable in-stream and non-skippable in-stream ad formats, you can bulk edit the video ID and URL. If you have multiple different videos, or the video contains visuals or information related to our Housing, Employment and Credit policy, it may take time fixing (or even re-producing) video assets.
  • For the in-feed video ad format, you can bulk edit the text portion of the ad. See the 'Text ads' section to learn more.
Google Ads

Bulk changes can only be done to the following:

  • Responsive Search ads
  • Text ads
  • Dynamic Search Ads
  • Call ads

Learn more on how to edit your ad text in bulk.

Google Ads Editor

Set up Google Ads Editor

  1. Download and install Google Ads Editor. You should be using Google Ads Editor 1.4.
  2. Download one or more Google Ads accounts in Google Ads Editor. Follow these steps if you're using export/import functionality.

Tip: As a Google Ads Editor best practice you should always verify changes you have made in Google Ads.

Use filters to find affected ads Filter

To find ads related to housing, employment or credit from the 'Ad group' or 'Campaigns' page, copy and paste this advanced filter into the filter field:

EXIST(ads, disapproval reasons : ('Restricted Verticals – Credit', 'Restricted Verticals – Employment', 'Restricted Verticals – Housing'))

If you need a filter that works from other pages in Google Ads Editor (for example, 'Ages'), copy and paste this advanced filter into the filter field:

CONTAINER(EXIST(ads, disapproval reasons : ('Restricted Verticals – Credit', 'Restricted Verticals – Employment', 'Restricted Verticals – Housing')))

Bid Modification – Age, Gender, Parental Status

Google Ads Editor – change bid adjustments

Use these instructions to change bid adjustments for age, gender and parental status to 0% or remove them entirely from your ads.

  1. In the tree view, click your account ID or account name to make sure that you aren’t clicked into any Campaigns/Ad groups
  2. From the type list, click Keywords and Targeting > Ages or Gender or Parental Status (depending on what you want to edit).
  3. Click Ages.
  4. Click the Filter field Filter
  5. Enter the advanced filter for ad groups that contain ads labelled for the policy: CONTAINER(EXIST(ads, disapproval reasons : ('Restricted Verticals – Credit', 'Restricted Verticals – Employment', 'Restricted Verticals – Housing'))).
  6. Click a row in the data view, then click Edit > Select All (or Ctrl+A / Cmd. + A on your keyboard).
  7. In the 'Bid adjustment' field in the edit panel, delete the current entry of '<varies>' and enter 0%.
  8. Repeat the steps above for positive Gender and Parental Status demographics.

    Note: You don’t need to adjust the bid for the detailed demographics “Marital Status” or “Parental Status” (which is different from the “Parental Status” listed under “Keywords & Targeting”). These detailed demographics are being completely removed. You can leave bid modifiers the same for the “Unknown” age and "Unknown" parental status demographic, as these demographics don't fall under the policy. The gender ‘Unknown’ bid modification must be removed.
  9. When you’re finished, click Post in the top right-hand corner of Google Ads Editor.
Export/Import from Editor

It is recommended that you edit the bid modifications directly in Google Editor first, before completing the export/import instructions below:

  1. Go to 'Account' in the menu bar of your computer and select Full download.
  2. Go back to the menu bar of your computer and select Account > Export > Export whole account.
  3. Highlight the first row in the document and select Filter.
  4. Go to the ‘Bid Modifier’ column and untick (blanks) from the filter so that you only see rows with a bid modifier.
  5. For any cell in this column that has a bid modifier tied to problematic targeting, replace it with [] or 0. This will instruct Editor to clear the field.
  6. Save the spreadsheet.
  7. Go to 'Account' in the menu bar of your computer and select Import > From file.
  8. Select your file.
  9. Click Finish and review changes.
  10. In the Editor application menu click Post to post the changes to the account.
Demographic and detailed demographic – Age, Gender, Parental Status and Marital Status

Use these instructions to:

  • Remove any negative age, gender, parental status or marital status targeting
  • Change all positive age, gender or parental status demographic targeting to 'Enabled'
  • Remove positive marital status and parental status audience targeting
    Note: You can leave demographic targeting the same for the “Unknown” age and “Unknown” parental status demographic, as these demographics don't fall under the policy. The gender ‘Unknown’ must be removed.
  1. In the type list, click Keywords and targeting > Ages, Negative / Ages, Positive or Gender, Negative / Positive or Parental Status, Negative / Positive (depending on what you want to edit).
  2. Click the Filter field.
  3. Enter the advanced filter for ad groups that contain ads labelled for the policy: CONTAINER(EXIST(ads, disapproval reasons : ('Restricted Verticals – Credit', 'Restricted Verticals – Employment', 'Restricted Verticals – Housing')))
  4. Press Ctrl+A or Cmd+A on your keyboard.
  5. Click Remove.
  6. In the type list, click Ages, Gender or Parental Status.
  7. Click a row in the data view, then click Edit > Select All (or Ctrl+A / Cmd. + A on your keyboard).
  8. In the 'Status' dropdown in the edit panel, click Enabled.
  9. Repeat the steps above for both negative and Positive Gender and Parental Status demographics.
  10. In the type list, click Keywords and targeting > Audiences, Negative.
  11. Filter for: Audience: Contains any of:
  • Married
  • Marriage
  • Single
  • Relationship
  • Parents

This filter should capture all of the following targeting Audience segments which are in scope of the policy:

  1. 'Who They Are (Detailed Demographics)' / Marital Status
  • Single
  • In a relationship
  • Married
  1. 'What They Are Actively Researching or Planning' / Life Events
  • Marriage
  • Recently married
  • Getting married soon
  1. 'Who They Are (Detailed Demographics)' / Parental Status
  • Parents
  • Parents of Infants (0-1 years)
  • Parents of Toddlers (1-2 years)
  • Parents of Pre-Schoolers (3-4 years)
  • Parents of Primary-Schoolers (5-11 years)
  • Parents of Teens (12-17 years)

Note: Life Event targeting is only available for certain campaign types, so if you don’t see these options in an account, you likely aren’t running any of the eligible campaign types.

  1. Scan through the filtered rows to make sure that they are all ones that you want to be removing.
  2. Press Ctrl+A or Cmd+A on your keyboard and click Remove.
  3. Repeat these steps in the 'Audiences' tab in the type list.
  4. When you’re finished, click Post in the top right-hand corner of Google Ads Editor.
Post Code and Radius

Use these instructions to convert post code targeting to non-post code based location targeting in Google Ads Editor. Examples of non-post code based location targeting are city, DMA, State or a privacy-safe radius.

I use Radius targeting and I want to convert it to a privacy-safe radius
  1. Go to the ‘Type list’ in your Google Ads Editor account and select Keywords and Targeting > Locations
  2. Go to ‘Account’ in the menu bar of your computer and select Export > Export current view.

If during this phase you notice that the menu option is greyed out, you likely have proposed changes. You need to clear these out by accepting or rejecting them.

  1. In the CSV, duplicate the 'Location' column and change the heading of one of the columns to 'Location#Original'. You should now have two columns with identical information, one named 'Location' and the other named 'Location#Original'.
  2. Filter for ‘Contains :’

    All radius rows should contain a colon, as they appear like a longitudinal/latitudinal point (i.e. (15mi:42.365292:-71.064634). If you see any rows not using this formatting, do not update those rows.

  3. In the new 'Location' column, modify the radius while leaving lat:long unchanged, e.g. change (2mi:42.365292:-71.064634) to (5mi:42.365292:-71.064634). Make sure to keep the 'Location#Original' column unchanged. Do not update the 'radius' column. This column only applies to Location Feed Groups and is not needed here.
  4. When you are done, import the CSV into Editor by going to ‘Account’ in the menu bar of your computer and selecting Import > From file.
I use radiuses around location groups and want to expand my radius
  1. Go to the ‘Type list’ in your Google Ads Editor account and select Keywords and Targeting > Locations.
  2. Filter for CONTAINER(EXIST(ads, disapproval reasons : ('Restricted Verticals – Credit', 'Restricted Verticals – Employment', 'Restricted Verticals – Housing')))
  3. Sort the data view by the Location Groups Feed column so that you bring non-blank rows to the top.
  4. In the edit panel you can update the radius.

    Tip: If you’re using the same radius with the same location feed across campaigns, you can select multiple rows at a time.

  5. In the edit panel you can, update the 'Radius around each location' field to be larger
  6. In the Editor application menu click Post to post the changes to the account
I use post code targeting

I want to change my Post Code targeting to privacy-safe radius targeting or the next highest DMA/City/etc.

A note for those who want to change to a privacy-safe radius:

After following the instructions below using Google Ads Editor, the radius targeting will show as (1) in Google Ads. In order to see the exact Post Code, City or Existing geo that the radius is centred around you will have to click into the 'advanced search' within your campaign location settings. (2) shows the Targeted location settings if you make the edits directly in Google ads.

If (1) is not what you are looking for you can follow the instructions to convert to a city instead of a privacy-safe radius around a location.

In order to complete the instructions below you will need to Download thisExcel spreadsheet for the United States (This file will only be accessible if you have Excel). This Excel file will be referred to as 'Doc A' in the instructions below:

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. There is no conversion excel document here as most CA Postal Codes are only at the FSA level and don't need to be updated.

  1. Log in to Google Ads Editor.
  2. Go to the Type list and select Keywords and Targeting > Locations
  3. Filter for: CONTAINER(EXIST(ads, disapproval reasons : ('Restricted Verticals – Credit', 'Restricted Verticals – Employment', 'Restricted Verticals – Housing')))
  4. Go to 'Account' in the menu bar of your computer and select Export > Export current view. This ‘export current view’ document will be referred to as 'Doc B' in the instructions below.
  5. In 'Doc B':
    1. Insert a column next to the existing 'Locations' column.
    2. Name this new column 'Locations' and rename the original Locations column 'Locations#Original'.
    3. Repeat these steps for the 'ID' column so the original column is 'ID#Original' and the new column is 'ID'.
    4. In the new ID column enter a zero (0) into the first empty cell in the column (C2).
    5. Copy the zero (0) so that all cells in this column show a 0.
    6. From 'Doc B', copy your 'Locations#Original' column
  6. In 'Doc A'
    1. Navigate to the 'Conversion Tool' tab.
    2. Paste in your 'Locations#Original' column into Cell A3.
    3. Read the instructions in cell B1 to update the formula in B2 depending on what you want to convert to.
    4. Fill down the formula in Cell B3 (Edit > Fill > Down) (or click the box in the bottom right of the cell as a shortcut)
    5. Add a filter to Row 1(Highlight Row 1 > Data > Filter)
    6. Filter Column B by unselecting everything, and then tick the box for #N/A so that you’re only showing rows with #N/A.
    7. In Cell B3, click this cell and drag your mouse down so that you select all cells in column B with #N/A (shortcut: CMND + SHIFT + Down Arrow)
    8. Select 'Delete'
    9. Remove the filter. You should now see only cells with Postal Code targeting with a city in Column B. The other cells in Column B should be blank.
    10. Highlight all the cells in B3 and down and hit ‘Copy’
  7. Navigate back to 'Doc B':
    1. Right click and ‘Paste Special’ into the 'Locations' column
    2. Add a filter in 'Doc B' to row 1 (Highlight row 1 > Data > Filter)
    3. Filter the 'Locations' column by unticking ‘Select All’ and ticking the box for (Blanks).
    4. In the 'ID' column, highlight all the cells showing and delete the zeros (0’s).
    5. Remove the filter in Row 1 now. You should now see zeros (0’s) only next to rows that have a City/DMA/etc. showing in the 'Locations' column.
    6. Select ‘File’ > ‘Save As’ > ‘CSV’.
  8. In your Google Ads Editor, go to 'Account' in the menu bar of your computer and select Import > From file > Select 'Doc B'

Note:

  • This approach removes any location Bid Modifiers you had on your previous postal code targeting, so you will need to re-add Bid Modifiers on your updated targeting if you want to use them.
  • The list of post codes in the Excel file is non-exhaustive. If you run into any errors within 'Doc A', It’s likely because the postal code isn’t present in the excel file.
  • Puerto Rico is also included in the table of postal codes, however there might be formatting issues because it doesn’t follow the typical Google Ads Editor formatting, because Puerto Rico doesn’t have a ‘State’, equivalent.

Bulk Tools in Google Ads

The instructions below are for making bulk changes at the account level or ad group level in Google Ads. If you work in a Google Ads manager account, Google Ads Editor might be a better option as you can work on multiple accounts.

Bid Modification – Age, Gender, Parental Status

Use these instructions to change bid adjustments for age, gender and parental status to 0% or remove them entirely from your ads.

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. In the navigation menu, click All campaigns.
  3. In the page menu on the left, click Audiences.
  4. In the 'Demographics' module, click Edit Demographics.
  5. Tick the box at the top of the statistics table to select all rows.
  6. Click Edit > Change bid adjustments.
  7. Leave the field blank, then click Apply. This will clear any bid adjustments. Repeat for all demographics that require bid modifications.

Note: You don’t need to adjust the bid for the detailed demographics 'Marital Status' or 'Parental Status' (which is different from the 'Parental Status' listed under 'Demographics'). These detailed demographics are being completely removed.

Demographic – Age, Gender, Parental Status, Marital Status

Use these instructions to:

  • Remove any negative age, gender, parental status or marital status targeting.
  • Change all positive age, gender or parental status demographic targeting to 'Enabled'.
  • Remove positive marital status and parental status audience targeting.
    1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
    2. In the navigation menu, click All campaigns.
    3. In the page menu on the left, click Audiences.
    4. In the 'Demographics' module, click Edit Demographics.
    5. Tick the box next to the demographic segments that have been excluded.
    6. Click Remove.
    7. In the same menu, click the tick box next to each age, gender and parental status segment.
    8. Tick the box at the top of the statistics table to select all rows.
    9. Click Edit > Enable. The status column should indicate that all selected demographic segments are now enabled. Repeat for all demographics that require changes.
    10. In the 'Audience Segments' module, click Edit Audience Segments.
    11. Click Add filter, then choose Audience name.
    12. Create a filter for each of these words:
      • Marriage
      • Married
      • Parents
      • Single
      • Relationship
    13. Tick the box at the top of the statistics table to select all rows.
    14. Click Edit > Remove.
    15. In the 'Exclusions' module, click Edit Exclusions.
    16. Click Add filter > Type.
      • For life events, choose What they are actively researching or planning.
      • For detailed demographics, choose Who they are.
    17. Tick the box next to audiences, then click Remove.
Post Code and Radius

There is no bulk tool functionality in Google Ads that will allow you to make bulk post code and radius updates/conversions. The recommendation is to use the instructions for Google Ads Editor, the Location Tool mentioned in the instructions above, or use scripts/API.

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