Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | SEM | April 7, 2015

AdWords Demographics: Income Targeting

Hello Advertisers!

Today I’m going to review a type of targeting within AdWords that is frequently overlooked: income bracket demographic targeting. Every industry has individualized customer demographics. For example, if you are Old Spice, then you’re significantly more inclined to tailor your advertisements toward men.

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If you are Victoria’s Secret, then you’ll likely address your ads towards women.

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In AdWords, we aren’t currently able to target based on gender demographics (like in these examples), but there is another option that often gets overlooked within AdWords: income brackets. We’ve talked previously about how to optimize geographic targeting. Today we’re going to do a deeper dive into income-level targeting options available within the AdWords interface. To start, log into your AdWords account and click on the campaign that you’re interested in adjusting. Then click the Settings tab and select Locations:

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Then you’ll want to select the big red +Location button (like you would to set up your normal geographic targeting options) and select the Advanced Search option:

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Here you will select Locations Groups –> Choose Location Group Type dropdown box –> Demographics.

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These demographic settings still aren’t 100% perfect, so unfortunately we can only control income-level demographic targeting within the United States. Trying to select countries outside of the United States will give you an error, but you can go ahead and try (I’m sure someday we’ll be able to target income-level demographics outside of the United States, but so far I’ve only been able to target within the U.S.). Once you’ve selected United States, you’ll be given a dropdown box with all of the different income levels.

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You can add whichever brackets you want, then click Done –> click Save. If you only add certain income brackets, then AdWords will exclude all of the other income brackets by default. I don’t recommend excluding anything entirely unless you’re 100% confident that you never want to advertise certain income brackets. Even if the demographic is less than ideal, it’s likely better to set bid adjustments so that you bid less aggressively for that traffic and pick up the dirt cheap clicks (which will probably still convert reasonably at a significantly lower cost). Here’s an example of how you could bid more aggressively for higher-income households:

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This type of targeting is extremely underused (I’ve actually never worked on a campaign that already had these settings in place for their account). It’s certainly one of the diamonds-in-the-rough of AdWords. Income-level demographics are relevant to every industry. You’ll need to be aware of your customer-base, and also make sure that you bid more/less aggressively based on what kind of customers your product/service is targeting.

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For example, if you sell extremely high-tier $10k+ jewelry items, then lower-income levels are probably bad for you. However, if you sell relatively cheap, silver jewelry that’s affordable to low-income level people, then pushing advertisement in this demographic may turn out to be beneficial for you.

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Given how underutilized this type of targeting is within the AdWords campaigns I’ve seen, I’d say that it’s likely that you’re competitors aren’t taking advantage of this setting (yet). Make sure you jump on top of it and get ahead of the curve before everyone else!

Happy Advertising!

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