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PPC Optimization: Excluding ZIP Codes by Income

Summary: Excluding lower income ZIP codes is a more precise way than Google's household income method. This article shows how to exclude lower income ZIP codes within your target geography in Google Ads.

For cosmetic dentists, proper targeting is everything in PPC advertising. Cosmetic dentists typically target more affluent clients that can afford their smile makeover services. Marketing cosmetic services to your entire target geography does not make economic sense. A better approach is to only market to geographic areas that can afford your services. This article shows how to exclude lower income ZIP codes in Google Ads.

Income Targeting in Google AdWords

Of course Google Adwords provides income targeting in their Demographics section. You can target user income by percentage tier, Top 10%, 11-20%, 21-30%, 31-40%, 41-50%, and Lower 50% household income. You can exclude any of these income tiers from your ad group or campaign, or employ bid adjustments for each tier (see Figure 1).

Household Income in Google Ads Demographics

Figure 1: Household Income in Google Ads

The problem with this method is that it relies on Google users to enter their income information. The number of unknown incomes is currently over 44% of users for our example cosmetic dentist (see Figure 2).

Household Income Unknown

Figure 2: Household Income Unknown

Excluding Lower Income ZIP Codes

A more precise method is to manually exclude lower income ZIP codes. For our Manhattan Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Michael J. Wei, we originally targeted the Manhattan area, an 8 mile radius around his office, and excluded Harlem and Newark (see Figure 3).

Original Locations Target for Manhattan Cosmetic Dentist

Figure 3: Original Target Location for Manhattan Cosmetic Dentist

This method is fine for people looking for a dentist, but for cosmetic dentistry ideally we would only show ads to ZIP codes that can afford his services. To do that we used US Census data to find the median household income for the ZIP codes within the Manhattan target area. We manually excluded ZIP codes with household incomes less than $40,000 per year (see Figure 4).

After Sub-$40K Income ZIP Codes Excluded

Figure 4: After Sub-$40K Income ZIP Codes Excluded

Now, when we advertise his cosmetic services to searchers in the Manhattan area, only higher income folks see his ads. Rather than show the ads to everybody and tweak bid strategies, this low income exclusion method only shows ads to people most likely to afford his services. This technique should improve the conversion rates of his ads.


Precisely targeting users that can afford your products or services is a good way to boost PPC conversion rates. Excluding lower income ZIP codes is a more precise way than Google's household income method. This article shows how to exclude lower income ZIP codes within your target geography in Google Ads.

Further Reading
The website of Manhattan Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Michael J. Wei DDS was the subject of this case study. Thanks again to Dr. Wei for permission to use his PPC campaign as an example.
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By website optimization on 25 Oct 2018 AM

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