AdWords Income Targeting: Can You Find It?

Demographic data, connected with search intent, is the Holy Grail of online marketing. Demographic data allows you to make sure you’re targeting the right person and search intent ensures it’s the right time. At that point you just have to prove that you’re the right service/product for them.

Social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook have excellent demographic data. They know your age, where you work, etc. Google, Bing and Yahoo know what you’re looking for right now (search intent) because of the queries you’re typing into their search engine. However, meshing the data is hard, especially given the fears about user privacy that come into play. I actually think that a major reason Google+ was created was to get more demographic data for AdWords, but that obviously didn’t work out.

As you can see from the headline, AdWords does have household income targeting. How did they get it? From AdWords support:

Target locations by demographics to reach groups of people based on their location’s approximate average household income. Based on publicly available data from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), advertisers are able to target ads to certain areas according to their average household income. This feature is currently available for U.S. locations only.

Cool. So what are your options? Glad you asked.

  • Top 10%
  • 11-20%
  • 21-30%
  • 31-40%
  • Lower 50%

For advertisers that target higher income brackets, this is a cool option. But where can this awesome targeting be found? Let’s play a game of hide & seek.

Finding Income Targeting in AdWords

For a search campaign you might consider looking in the Audiences tab.

NOPE

Okay, next you check a display campaign and go to the Display Network tab. There you spot a Demographics tab. Aha! This must be it:
AdWords-Demographics

NOPE! This only has age, gender and parental status.

You can go digging through interests and remarketing all you want, but you won’t find it there either. You know where it is? It’s in the geotargeting settings!

Not. Even. Kidding.

Here is how you get there:

  • Select a campaign
  • Click the Settings tab
  • Scroll down to “Locations” and click Edit
  • Then click “Advanced search”
  • On that screen click Location groups
  • From the dropdown select “Locations by demographics”
  • From the next dropdown you can add household income brackets

Now that’s what I call super intuitive. Here is a visual:
AdWords-Income-Targeting

Now that you know how to find it, go add some household income targeting!

Comments (7)

  1. Robert-can you answer the question we’re probably all asking…Do we know how granular the income data is? Is it down to the IP address? Street address? Other? Given our mobility, it’s hard for me to see the practical value of this sort of geotargeting in B2B or B2C situations. Is there an actual use data scenario available?

  2. Barry – The data is based on US Census data and traces back to the zip code. Hence why this targeting is in the geography settings. My understanding is that the IP address zip code would be used.

  3. The data in census is by zip code. If you are targeting regions such as California or US. Would you have get the list of high income zips and input them one by one, to segment the subset of favorable zips in california. Or can I target californa – combine it with the segments by income, and google will only target to to high income Cali zips?

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