Google Banning Certain Categories for Employment, Housing and Credit Ads

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Google Ads announced they are updating their ad policies this week, specifically as it relates to employment, housing, and credit. While the announcement is short on overly specific detail, here are the initial things we know.

Affected Categories

Citing its already-existing ad policies that prohibit targeting and excluding based on sensitive categories, Google will now be adding the following categories to the list. This will impact advertisers in the housing, employment, and credit sectors:

  • gender
  • age
  • parental status
  • marital status
  • zip code

The existing categories that were already globally disallowed from targeting include (but aren’t limited to):

  • religion
  • ethnicity
  • ract
  • sexual orientation
  • personal hardships

The announcement simply states it will “affect certain types of ads,” but no specifics are named.

Timing of Policy Change

The change will be rolling out in the US and Canada “as soon as possible,” with a commitment to a full implementation by end of year.

Google goes on to say these changes have been in development for some time, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.).

They will also be working to provide advertisers with information about fair housing practices to help them ensure they’re supporting access to housing opportunities.

Google Isn’t the First

This change is probably not surprising to housing, employment, and credit advertisers. Facebook created similar policies a little over a year ago, when their ad targeting changed for the financial sector.

Their new rules meant housing, employment, and credit-related ads could no longer leverage targeting for age, race, or gender.

It came about via settlements with NFHA, ACLU, CWA, and a few others, and included specifically:



  • Housing, employment or credit ads can no longer be targeted by age, gender or zip code
  • Advertisers offering these services will have limited targeting categories to use
  • Facebook would build a tool that will allow users to search for and view all current housing ads in the US

Google notes there will be additional information in the coming weeks. We will update as it becomes available.

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