Knowledge Base

How to Use AdWords Income Level Targeting

Looking for ways to target your AdWords campaigns to your ideal customer? One method that Google keeps hidden in the AdWords interface is the option to target by average household income of geographic locations. Income level targeting is based on public data from the US Internal Revenue Service, and is currently only available for locations within the US.

How to Target Locations By Average Household Income Level:

  1. In your AdWords account, select your campaign.
  2. Go into the campaign’s “Settings” tab.
  3. Select “Locations” just below the top menu bar. On this screen, click the “+Locations” button, highlighted below.
Select the add locations button on the Adwords campaign's location settings tab
Select +Locations on the campaign’s settings tab

4. Next you will see an “Edit locations” box. Click “Advanced Search”

Select "Advanced search" in location settings
Select “Advanced search” in location settings

5. This will display the advanced search box, which has many non-standard location targeting options. Select “Locations Groups” (1). In the Choose Location Group Type drop down, select “Demographics” (2).

Choose location group type: demographics
Choose location group type: demographics

6. Enter your desired location range (currently targeting by income is only available in US, but you can target by smaller regions within the US as well). Select your desired Average income tier and click “Add”.

Choose an income tier from your selected geographic area
Pick an income tier from your selected geographic area

7. If you want to select more than one income level, you must add them individually. Click “Done” after selecting your desired levels.

Add all desired income levels
Add all desired income levels

8. You will be brought back to your Settings tab, where you will have to click “Save” to apply your location targets.

Save selected income targets
Save selected income targets

9. Now your campaign is set to target locations by average household income! Use your new targeting options to reach the right audience.

Applications of Income Level Targeting

Targeting by average income level is applicable for several different purposes. If you’re not exactly sure what the target income bracket is for your product, you can apply each income level as a targeting option with no bid adjustment. Leave the campaign running for at least 2 weeks, then take a look at your results. Then you can compare click through rate (CTR) and cost per acquisition (CPA) across the different levels, and gain some insight into who is clicking on your ads and interested in your product.

If you already have an idea of your target audience, you have two options. You can target all income levels with appropriate bid adjustments. For example, with a luxury product you may want to target all income levels. Then set a +30 bid adjustment for the top 10% of income levels and -50% adjustment for the bottom 50%. The opposite works for perceived lower-value or sale products.

If you only want your ads to display to users in a certain income bracket, you can add this income tier as your only location target. This effectively means that your ads only show to users with IP addresses within your desired average household income, and excludes all others.

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