A New Target for Automotive Advertising on Google

For nearly 20 years, Google has been an integral part of any digital marketing spend. The platform’s dominance makes it an obligatory inclusion for anyone trying to establish an online presence, and the automotive industry is no exception. Targeting audiences based on factors such as gender, age, or zip code have become standard practice, but now the standards are changing.

On October 20th, 2020, Google will no longer allow products related to Housing, Employment, and Credit to target their ads based on gender, age, parental status, marital status, or zip code. This is a major change, and seriously impacts the way that much of the automotive industry, especially dealerships, targets its Google ads. On the rationale behind this change, Google said it was part of an ongoing effort to, “…improve inclusivity for users disproportionately affected by societal biases…”

This change is of particular import to dealerships focused on automotive loans and credit approval, such as Buy Here Pay Here stores. That being said, there is no guarantee this change won’t impact dealerships that focus on inventory or price messaging. Facebook made a similar change last year and didn’t allow ads to target these audiences if a website had loan or credit messaging, even if the actual advertisement didn’t. It’s likely that Google will follow this format as well.

So, what can you still target? The good news is that there are still a great deal of targeting types on which to build your Google advertising. You can target by household income, or homeownership status. You can still target based on education, detailed demographics, and life events. You can also still geo-target by relying on things like city, county, even by local subdivision. The great news is that there are still plenty of tools at your disposal to find your audience, as long as you bid smarter with higher-intent keywords.

In bidding smarter, you can actually think of this change as an opportunity, rather than a limitation. While targeting terms such as zip code seem like great ideas on the surface, you could actually be targeting too narrow of an audience. Casting a wider net with your location targeting can actually help Google’s machine learning find the right customers for you. If your dealership is not utilizing Google’s smart bidding strategies already, now is the time to get on board.

Ad TargetingGoogle’s smart bidding will find the customers who are most likely to convert regardless of age, gender, parental/marital status, or even zip code. The Automotive Advertising Agency has been able to achieve a much lower Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Lead (CPL) for our dealers by implementing these strategies. It does take time for Google’s Smart Bidding to optimize to your campaign, but with the right advertising partner, you can lead your market and be in the best position to succeed.

If you want to stay ahead of the curve on the latest digital marketing trends, contact the experts at The Automotive Advertising Agency. We are at the forefront of the digital landscape and can help you navigate the most up-to-date strategies for maximum ROI. Our team of digital experts have decades of experience, and don’t follow the trends; they set them! Give us a call at 512-610-7300, or contact us at TheAutoAdAgency.com/contact/ for more information.

About the author

Michelle Camacho is the President of The Automotive Advertising Agency.