How to Target Wealthy Users on Google Ads

The goal of most PPC activity is to match a product with a user, in the hope that that user – either on the spot, or after a little funnel dance – will buy it.

If the user can’t afford your product then, however skilfully you appeal to them, their click will not become a valuable one.

On top of the many products and services aimed exclusively at high-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs), many offerings are simply an easier sell when their high price is less of a barrier to the prospect.

Hitting the right users by identifying their profile isn’t usually the first method of targeting in Google Ads; we tend to put more trust in judging intent based on the user’s search term.

But when the user needs deep pockets in order to be a potential buyer, it becomes unusually important to hit a particular – wealthier – segment with your ads.

So when you need to hit those HNWIs as precisely as you can, what are your options in Google Ads?

1) Household Income

If you have Household Income targeting available…

(which you do if you’re in Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand or the US)

then you are in luck.

Household Income is thought to be one of Google’s less accurate demographic groupings, but it’s accurate enough to be extremely useful for bringing you a higher concentration of wealthy users when you need them.

A while ago I had dual campaigns running for unreasonably expensive shoes – one for the UK, one of the US.

The availability of household income data gave me a hugely valuable extra lever to pull for the US campaign, and you can see how adjusting bids or excluding certain income brackets could boost ROAS instantly:

But for us in the UK among others, using household income isn’t an option… so what other indicators can we use to target wealthy users?

2) Audiences

Since audiences attempt to categorise users by topics that interest them (Affinity) or that they are actively researching (In-Market) – we can use them as a rough proxy for wealth.

For example, the Affinity audience: Luxury Travellers is a strong marker. In practice, I have often found the wider in-Market Travel audience to outperform the average for various non-travel-related but high-cost products.

Several other audiences are also likely to share some correlation with affluence (see screenshot for examples).

Audiences with a negative correlation to wealth can also be useful in refining your target. 

In-Market: Employment is one of them.

Although (of course) wealthy people job-hunt too, it is easy to imagine those in job-hunting mode are less likely to be – or feel – secure in their disposable income. It is also more likely to carry users clicking through to scope out a job opportunity rather than with buying intent.

Again I often see this play out in the results, with the Employment audience under-performing the average.

‘Similar’ audiences, built from known customers, and – for GDN – Custom audiences built around indicators of wealth can be used to narrow your target, increasing the proportion of qualified users within it.

Under Detailed Demographics (which is also within Audiences rather than Demographics in the interface): down-weighting or excluding renters can be a good move, while education level is another strong correlate of wealth.

Try these settings under Detailed Demographics to increase the average income level of your targeted audience:

3) Age

This is a sledgehammer rather than a nutcracker… but there is also a correlation between wealth and age.

Annual disposal income in £1000s by age range, UK (2017/18, Statista)

So when you have necessary ‘slack’ in available Impression Share, you may want to go ahead and cut off the whole under-35 segment.

As with all of these moves, there will be some ‘collateral damage’, but as long as you have the Lost Impression Share to play with, this should safely nudge up the proportion of your targeted users who fit the high-affluence profile.

4) Locations

Targeting ‘wealthier’ locations is a powerful method.

The correlation between postcode and affluence is another strong one – so a list of the wealthiest location targets would a valuable tool…. and that’s exactly what you will find linked below, for the UK.

The location targets listed are taken from a collection of sources (cited on the sheet) and rank among Britain’s wealthiest areas, based on a variety of criteria including average income, % of households earning over £100K, house prices and others.

This Google sheet contains a list of location IDs that you can copy and paste into Google Ads Editor to target the wealthiest areas of the UK

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