With custom targeting, you can define your own targeting criteria (such as age, gender, or content) that DFP Small Business wouldn't otherwise be able to determine. For example, you can define custom criteria based on common characteristics of your site visitors that you collect through your website. DFP Small Business can't determine these criteria, but if, for example, you have user registration data from your site, you can specify demographic information such as gender, age and user interests.
To use custom targeting, you create key-values in DFP, target your line items to them, and then pass the key-values into your ad tags. If a line item targets a key-value, the ad server will only serve it to the ad tags on your website that include that key-value. You can specify up to 20 keys for custom targeting criteria and up to 200 values for each key.
Predefined versus free-form key-values
You can either pre-define a key and its values or you can set up a free-form key-value. With free-form key-values, you define the key but the values are dynamically passed to the ad tag based on information about a user or a user's behavior. If you require more than 200 possible targeting values per key and don't want to define your targeting values in advance, use free-form targeting instead of custom targeting.
Use predefined key-values when you know the possible values of a targeting key in advance based on common characteristics of your site visitors that you collect through your website. Let's say that you want to target a line item to people between the ages of 18-34 years-old. You can create a predefined custom targeting key called
age and enter several age ranges as the possible values. When you create the line item, select age as a custom targeting key and then select 18-34 as the value. That key-value will remain hard-coded in the ad tag.
When you target a line item to a predefined key-value, you will see a list of values that are defined in the Inventory tab. You can only choose from that list of values. Once a value is removed from the Inventory tab, you won't see it as an option when you're targeting that key.
You can also use free-form key-values when there are too many possible values to define in advance. For example, you can create a custom targeting key called
occupation. There are too many occupations to define in advance as targeting values, so you can make this key free-form and enter specific occupations at the time you create the line item. With free-form targeting, you can have thousands of possible targeting values, because there's no need to define each value ahead of time. When you need to target a specific value, you can simply enter that targeting value into your line item.
When you target a line item to a free-form key-value, you will see an open text box and beneath that, you may see a list of suggested values. That list of suggested values is based on values you've targeted in the past. You can choose from that list or type a new value in the box.
Let's say you have a car website where users search for information about different brands of cars. You want to target a line item to appear any time a user searches for the term honda. First, create a free-form custom targeting key). It doesn’t matter what key you create as long as it means something to you; for example, you might create
search=. Let’s say you create
search=. Next, make sure your webmaster has set it up so that when a user searches for a term, the key-value
search=search_term will be passed to your ad tags. Once that's in place, you can target ads in DoubleClick for Publishers to the search term honda by targeting
search=honda in the custom targeting section of the line item screen. Then, whenever a user searches for the word honda, your line item will appear.
That would be an effective targeting solution for your Honda ads, but you'd probably see very few impressions for this ad. That's because DoubleClick for Publishers uses exact match by default when targeting key-values. This means that unless the key-value in your ad tag matches the key-value targeted by the line item exactly, the line item won't deliver to that ad tag. In the example above, if the line item is targeting
search=honda and a user types in honda civic, that line item won’t be delivered to them because the search term they entered (honda civic) and the key-value that was created dynamically from that search term (
search=honda civic) don't match up exactly with what the line item targeted in DoubleClick for Publishers (
Example use cases
Target line items to demographic groups
You can define custom criteria based on common characteristics of your site visitors that you collect through your website. DoubleClick for Publishers can't determine these criteria, but if, for example, you have user registration data from your site, you can specify demographic information such as gender, age and user interests. You could create a custom key, gender, with the values male and female. Then you could target specific user types like Men in the San Diego metropolitan area who use Mac OS X using a combination of DFP criteria and your custom criterion gender.
Target line items to very specific areas of your site
Another way you might use custom targeting is to target ads to specific pages on your site. You could create an ID for each page or article and then create key-values like articleID=123. Add that key-value to the ad tags of that page and then target your line item to that key-value to ensure your line item only shows up on that page. Most publishers pass such key-values to their ad tags dynamically through their content management system (CMS).
You can also use custom targeting to target ads to specific ad slot positions. Maybe you sell your ad slots above the fold at a premium. You can create a key to define the ad slot position as top (for example,
position=top) and target certain line items to that key-value so they won't show below the fold.