It was really only a matter of time. Due to the attention brought to Facebook's targeting parameters in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook was the first digital ad platform under the demographic targeting microscope. The social media giant enabled marketers to hyper-target ads towards consumers based on demographics like income, marital status, age, religion, and more. Facebook has since made adjustments that limit the targeting capabilities to avoid any discrimination and to abide by Fair Housing Laws. After much behind the scenes work with HUD, Google has announced that later this year it will be updating its advertising policies in similar fashion. Much like Facebook's current policy, Google's adjustment will prohibit multifamily Pay Per Click, Display, Discovery, and YouTube ad campaigns from targeting or excluding prospective renters based on gender, age, parental statues, or zip code. While a specific date has not been communicated, Google has announced the changes will be rolled out as soon as possible and certainly before the end of the year. In their policy release, Google states that the announcement is aimed to "protect, users, advertisers, and publishers, and prohibit advertisers from unlawful behavior like discriminating against users."
What does this mean for the future of Google Ads for multifamily? Many multifamily marketers are aware of the housing and demographic targeting adjustments that Facebook put into place in 2019 to abide by Fair Housing. Although it was not yet communicated that the same policies applied to Google, many have, or should have, taken the same precautions with their targeting within Google Ads for PPC, Display, Discover, or YouTube ads. Therefore, the official announcement should not have a huge impact for many- pending any other significant location targeting parameters that Google rolls out. That being said, it is important to make sure that your digital marketing agencies are aware of Google's announcement and to clarify which campaigns, if any, may be affected by the news.