About key-value targeting

Define custom targeting criteria

Key-values let you define custom targeting. They are included in ad tags and used in line item targeting. When an ad request comes in from one of your pages that has key-values in its ad tags, line items that target those key-values are eligible to serve for that ad request.  

Key-values can be used for a variety of purposes. They can be used to identify pages, specific parts of a page, or other ad inventory. They can also be based on information you've gathered about people who visit your website or app in order to target ads based in that information.

Get started with key-value targeting

  1. Define keys and values in Ad Manager. You don't need to define a key and values for ad sizes, since size is targeted elsewhere in a line item.
  2. Add key-value targeting to your Ad Manager line items
  3. Add key-values into your Ad Manager ad requests

If your Ad Manager network is linked to Ad Exchange, use Ad Manager key-values in Ad Exchange targeting.

Use key-value targeting with care
Under the terms of your contract, you must not pass any information to Google that Google could use or recognize as personally identifiable information. Also, IP addresses cannot be used as a key-value input.

Predefined and dynamic key-values

Predefine a key and its values or create a dynamic key-value. Dynamic key-values use a defined key but take dynamic values based on user attributes or behavior. If your requirements exceed 200 possible values per key and you don't want to define them in advance, use dynamic targeting.

Predefined key-values

Use predefined key-values when you know the possible range of values. For example, if you're targeting a line item to users age 18-34, create the predefined key age, and enter ranges as values (such as, "18-34" or "35-49"). When you create the line item, select age as the key and "18-34" as the value. The key-value remains hard-coded in the ad tag.

When you target a line item to a predefined key-value, you choose from a list of values in Ad Manager Inventory. When a value is removed from the Inventory section, it no longer appears as a targeting option.

Dynamic key-values

Dynamic key-values let you pass targeting values dynamically into an ad tag based on information you collect. For example, you can use dynamic key-values to target ads based on a user's search terms on your site. With dynamic targeting, you can have thousands of possible targeting values without defining each one ahead of time.

Previous Ad Manager experience

Dynamic key-values were previously referred as "free-form" in the help center. They had no designated name in the Ad Manager user interface. The feature name has been updated in the help center and the user interface to better reflect its intended usage.


Target line items to specific content and ad slots. If you want to target specific pages on your site, create a dynamic key named "pageID". Add pageID=123456 to the page's ad tags and then target your line item to that key-value.

You might also use key-values to target ads to specific ad slot positions. If you sell your ad slots above the fold at a premium, create a pre-defined key called "position" with multiple values, such as "top", "right-box", and "bottom". Add the key and value combination to your ad tags (position=top) and target certain line items to that key-value so they don't appear below the fold.

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