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Google AdWords: Targeting Ads by Household Income

One of the most exciting features to enhance your AdWords Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is the ability to target a user based on their estimated household income level.

We can now target specific income tiers within location zones based on the location's estimated average household income. This is based on public data the IRS provides. Of course, because this data is provided by the Internal Revenue Service, this targeting method is currently only available for advertising within the United States.

To get started with household income level, we'll be working with the Location Advanced Targeting interface.

campaign settings location

Select the +Add Location button:

campaign settings location button

Click on Advanced Search:

campaign advanced location settings

Click on Location Groups:

adwords location groups

Click on Locations by Demographics:

adwords location groups target demographics

When you select Locations by Demographics, you will gain a text field for selecting within what geo-zone you are targeting, and a dropdown for selecting the income bracket.

adwords location groups target demographics within area adwords location groups target income brackets

What defines the income levels? The brackets are approximate and change over time, but are roughly:

  • Top 10%, above $146,001
  • 11-20%, $131,001 to $146,000
  • 21-30%, $111,001 to $131,000
  • 31-40%, $96,001 to $111,000
  • 41-50%, $64,001 to $96,000
  • Lower 50%, $0 to $64,000
(as of this publishing, even the AdWords support article for this topic includes one less bracket's data)

Be sure you have typed your target location into the "within field" and select the income bracket. Click the Add button. Continue to do this for the other income tiers and locations within this campaign. When complete, close this interface.

Because these estimated tieres are based on data from broad geo zones, it is recommended that you keep your location targeting broad as well. This type of targeting will likely perform best for national or regional targets when the target consumer is of a specific income range as a primary category.

This does not target individuals of any kind, merely locations where increased income is a countable, quantitative difference. Income-level data is typically public at the zip-code level at its most granular.

You will see the targeted income tiers within your target geographic locations just like you would normally see a target geo zone. Click save to return to your account.

adwords target income levels

Now you can apply bid adjustments to income brackets! You can use this to help gauge your ROAS if your target market is strongly correleated with higher income levels (or even with lower income levels).

adwords target income levels with bid adjustment

Happy marketing!

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