Adwords Income Targeting: How Marketers CASH IN | Psychographic Hot House

While social channels may boast more expansive interest targeting capabilities, search is where business’ repeatedly double-down for the sweet spot of volume and, most importantly, intent. What other channel contains the verbatim ask of a user’s desire?

When it comes to managing search campaigns, the challenge remains researching ways to reach the largest (and most relevant) audience more efficiently. Luckily, Google AdWords packs a myriad of targeting and bidding selections to hone in on potential patrons. In this week’s psychographic targeting hot house, we’ll explore how to cash in on top-tier target audiences within your search campaigns using AdWords Household Income Targeting.

Location Groups: The Fine Print

Deep within “Location groups” of your AdWords account lies the ability to target a location by average household income (HHI). Currently, marketers have the option to target the below income tiers:


*Google shares that this data is based on publicly available data from the US Internal Revenue Service (back to the zip code) and is currently available for U.S. locations only.

As HHI target sets are at the zip code-level, it’s important to remember that bid adjustments for an income target at set geo can only be adjusted using the modifier for the respective income target (aka, no stacking geo and location bid mods). Google also favors location targeting granularity over national-level HHI targets. In other words, if HHI targeting exists under US demographic targeting, then HHI targeting is added to a California targeting segment, HHI targeting data would largely be routed to the California demographic segment over the US.

Household Income Targeting Applications:

First introduction to HHI targeting? Before diving in, head first and add bid modifiers to HHI segments, layer all the income tier segments as a data aggregation exercise and let the data tell you which segments perform (or don’t). From there, you can play around with bid modifications until you reach desired outcomes.

While testing HHI targeting is a no-brainer for those in high-end/luxury sectors, we’ve seen clients benefit from HHI targeting in all verticals/services. Below are some test applications to get the wheels turning:  

  • Banking/Finance: Which income-level provides highest amount of bank account signups? Loans? Investments?   
  • Tech: Who searches for/ has purchase power for $1M security software: A $50K/mo manager or $100,000 CTO?
  • Law: Are certain income brackets associated with specific types of services? Is this true across geos?  
  • Lead Gen: On paper, high-income brackets account for 60 percent of pipeline, but lower-income brackets account for 75 percent of MQLs. Which deserves bid priority?  
  • Real Estate: Is your campaign structured towards business or commission?
  • Ecommerce: Is ROAS really higher for top income brackets, or is it because lower-tier brackets are getting 99 percent of traffic?  

After layering income targeting across a premium furniture account recently onboarded, it was easy to make bidding strategies based on the data (below). By increasing a bid modifier to top income brackets and implementing a tiered negative bid modifier structure to lower income brackets, we were able to prioritize traffic to users contributing to a higher return on ad spend (ROAS) and significantly increase overall account ROAS.   


Household Targeting Implementation

Ready to implement HHI?! Here’s how to find HHI in AdWords.

Target a location by demographics:

  1. Under the Campaigns tab, click the name of the campaign you wish to edit. Click the Settings tab, then the red +Locations button > Advanced Search



2. Click Location groups, then Demographics  


3. Once a desired location has been entered > click Select Household Income Tier > choose income tier > Add


4. Once all desired targeting has been added, click Done at the bottom of the window >  Save


The targeting options within demographics are as vast as they are valuable! Once it can be understood how each HHI bracket performs, you are one step closer to optimizing performance and bidding strategies to better complement your goals, further qualify your audience, and make your clients and bosses shout from the rooftops:  

Happy targeting!   


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