How Cat Condos Can Land You in the Doghouse with Google

Aug 31, 2022

Algorithm May Misinterpret Keywords and Restrict Your Ad

Some people say cats are finicky. And maybe that’s true. But they don’t hold a candle to Google Ad policies.

Boarding campaigns for several of our pet care clients have frequently been flagged by Google as “housing” ads.

And here’s the litter-al scoop: It’s because they used the term “kitty condo.”

Now, sure, our feline friends live the good life watching birds from their window perches and taking all of those awesome naps – but try to get one to pay the rent, and you’ll likely hit a roadblock.

And yet “kitty condo” gets the flag time and time again.


Well, back in 2020, Google updated its personalized advertising policies to include new targeting restrictions. The move was made to “improve inclusivity for users disproportionately affected by societal biases.”

Impacted products included (but were not limited to):

  • Employment (such as ads for jobs, recruitment sites, and job listing sites)
  • Credit (cards, as well as home, car, appliance, and short-term loans)
  • And, of course, housing – whether listing sites, individual properties for sale or rental, or real estate services.

As a result, these services could no longer be targeted to audiences based on gender, age, parental or marital status, or ZIP code.

Unfortunately, sometimes keyword phrases – like “home,” “home away from home,” “home-like atmosphere,” or, yes, “kitty condo” – mistakenly raise a red flag with Google’s algorithms when the user is not remotely related to the industry.

The good news is that Google ultimately marks our ads “eligible,” and they run. Nonetheless, our clients remain hampered by the targeting limitations linked to the housing flag.

Again, as Google puts it:

Any advertiser running housing, employment, or credit-related ads will no longer be able to target audiences based on the following:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Parental Status
  • Marital Status
  • Zip Code

So, what to do?

The ultimate solution to this frustrating problem would be to eliminate flaggable terms from the get-go – not only in your campaigns, but in your site overall. That’s a tall order, obviously – but a professional digital marketing company like IMPACT would be able to offer guidance.

Questions? We’re here to help. Let us know if you want to chat.

IMPACT Marketing & Public Relations, LLC

Want to chat? Please leave us your info
and we will get back to you ASAP!

Check the health of your online business information with our listings scan.