The digital world is an ever-evolving place. So much so, it’s pretty much a running gag for those who work in it every day. This streaming platform changed their interface? That social media entity adjusted targeting capabilities? Of course they did. From constant technological innovation to week-by-week platform changes, staying informed can make all the difference in the effectiveness of your digital strategies. A perfect example of this are the targeting changes in the employment, credit, and housing industries in the recent past. All jokes aside, in the face of an ever-changing digital landscape, the industry changes made to combat discrimination are policies we can all get behind.
Prior to 2020, organizations and businesses providing employment, credit, or housing related products and services generally had the same range of digital ad targeting options available to them as most other industries. Whether intentional or not, due to the misuse and abuse of these resources by a few, many of the major ad networks put policies in effect to prevent discrimination.
If you work in employment, credit or housing in the United States or Canada–you’ve likely seen the biggest changes in Google Search (as of October 2020) and on Facebook (as of December 2019). Today, neither platform allows targeting by zip code, tight geographic location, age, marital status, parental status, gender or multicultural affinities. You should also be aware, even if your Search ads don’t directly pertain to these items, the restrictions may extend beyond targeting capabilities to the content on your landing page. For instance, let’s say your Search ad doesn’t mention a line of credit or mortgage services but this is front and center on your website. Google search will apply those restrictions based on the site you’re pointing your ads to and limit your ability to target as a result.
Housing, job opportunities and financial resources are foundational to the lives of individuals and families, and we applaud efforts to reduce future discrimination. If you’re new to digital advertising or new to these industries and you’re wondering what you can do to reach your audience effectively and ethically in the face of these changes, simply put, the onus is on you to plainly qualify your audience. This means directly stating in your ad copy the price point of your products and services. With those strategies in place, those in employment, credit and housing industries can continue to cast a strategically targeted net, without the risk of discriminatory practices.
Go forth. Go digital.