Upcoming Google Ads Policy Update to Student Housing

Google recently announced a new ad targeting policy, similar to the policy Facebook released last year, which will limit an advertisers’ ability to target users based on “gender, age, parental status, marital status, and zip code.” While Google did not give specifics on WHEN this new policy will go into effect, Scott Spencer, VP of product management for ads privacy and safety at Google indicated that changes would roll out “as soon as possible.”

Announcement on Google’s Blog

How does this impact the student housing vertical?

Serendipit typically has a “hyperlocal” campaign running during the school year, where we target potential residents using a small radius around the campus and competitor housing properties. We also run campaigns targeting zip codes based on top feeder areas. We will no longer be able to do this under the new policy.

HOWEVER, a majority of our spending and focus in Google Search Ads is performed by targeting based around keywords and not restricted by age or location. We do this to capture both potential residents and parents of prospective residents who may be coming to the university from both in-state and out-of-state. We will still be able to target keywords such as “{university} student housing” or “{property name} student housing” or “{location} student housing.”

As advertisers in the digital media world, recent events, along with significant updates on the ad platform’s policies regarding privacy and discrimination, means we’ve needed to be especially fluid in our tactics. These types of changes keep us on our toes and require us to adjust and optimize our media accounts to continue generating the quality and volume of leads we are used to achieving for our clients.


Serendipit will continue to update as more information becomes available, and when Google begins to roll out this new policy.