Google throws digital advertising curveball at financial marketers
The giant ad platform's move to restrict targeting by zip code, gender, age and other factors used in digital advertising for housing, employment and credit products will immediately impact ROI and could have long-term repercussions (not all of them bad) for bank and credit union marketers. Experts assess the impact and lay out the options financial marketers have.
Is Google knocking the legs out from under its own success story just as the pandemic reemphasized the importance of digital marketing? Or is it radically changing its role in digital marketing inclusion in reaction to social unrest?
Google posted a big change to its personalized advertising policies that is throwing a wrench into one of digital marketing’s biggest advantages — targeted ads. The search giant has long had policies in place barring ads targeting consumers based on identity, beliefs or sexuality, but this change drills to the core of what many financial institutions do with their digital campaigns: reach the person most likely to take out a loan or open an account with a highly relevant and timely message.
The new rules, which were set to take effect Oct. 19, 2020, prohibit ad targeting by gender, age, parental status, marital status or zip code. The change applies initially to three broad categories of products and services: Housing, Employment and Credit. According to a Google FAQ, the change applies to all ad formats (text, display, video) and all channels (search, display, video).
Facebook rolled out similar targeting restrictions in summer 2019 in response to a settlement with civil rights advocates who had alleged that the social media giant allowed ads to be targeted in a way that was discriminatory. That plus the social unrest that flared into a major and very public situation beginning in May 2020 may have been a factor in Google’s rule change.
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