Only available in Google Ad Manager 360.

Create first-party audience segments

Sell inventory to advertisers with first-party audience segments

Only available in Google Ad Manager 360

Audience Solutions is a Google Ad Manager 360 feature which might not be turned on for your network.

Create first-party audience segments using your own inventory. Sell narrowly targeted inventory to advertisers by

  • Associating these segments with ad units, placements, and key-values.
  • Setting other attributes such as number and recency of page views (or app activities).
Third-party cookies on Chrome will be retired in 2024. While you can still build new segments based on third-party cookies, we recommend that you begin transitioning to PPID.

Get started

  1. Sign in to Google Ad Manager.
  2. Click Inventory, then Audience, and then New audience segment.
  3. Name your segment.

    A descriptive segment name is easier to find when targeting line items. We recommend establishing a canonical naming system for audience segments that explains a segment's purpose and origin.

  4. (Optional but recommended) Assign up to 5 audience segment categories to organize and filter your segments.

    To assign a category, begin typing in the “Categories” field. Matching results automatically appear along with a hierarchical list.

  5. (Optional) Select one of the following options to populate your audience segments: (Beta) 

    • Traffic-based population: Populate the segment based on ad requests that match the specified targeting and activity thresholds.

    • Pixel-based population: Build first-party audience segments without serving ads by adding a 1x1 transparent Audience pixel tag to your site or mobile app. Since each Audience pixel tracks a specific user activity, you should create a separate segment for each Audience pixel tag. 

    • Manual (publisher-managed) population: Manually populate segments via bulk upload. This option lets you create first-party audience segments with no behavior targeting, giving you more control over your first-party segments.

  6. Next to "Behavior," click Inventory to target the segment to ad units or placements.

    If you don't add targeting, the segment is run-of-network. If you include a parent ad unit, all its child ad units are included in the segment regardless of whether they're special ad units. (Special ad units and ad unit hierarchy are available to Google Ad Manager 360 publishers only.)

    Target custom criteria and ad units/placements in an OR relationship

    Audience segments can't directly target custom criteria and ad units or placements in an OR relationship. Achieve the same goal by targeting the segment to custom criteria along with another segment that targets the inventory you want in an OR relationship.

    Example: Target gender=male and first_level_ad_unit=sports with an OR relationship:

    1. Create a segment that targets the ad unit.
    2. Create another segment that targets the custom criteria: Under "Behavior," select Custom Targeting and add the appropriate key-value (in this example, gender=male).
    3. In the "Custom Targeting" box, click Add set and select Audience segment. Select the audience segment that targets the ad unit: first_level_ad_unit=sports.

    The "Selected criteria" box displays the criteria you selected in an OR relationship.

    Target multiple segments using an AND relationship

    Target users with memberships to multiple segments using an AND relationship.

    Example: Create an audience segment targeting a user who frequently visits sports and fashion pages:

    1. Create a segment targeting the "sports" ad unit.
    2. Create another segment targeting the "fashion" ad unit.
    3. Under "Behavior" for the second segment, select Custom Targeting and target the first segment.
    4. Click Save.

    You can also use line item targeting to target separate audience segments in an AND relationship.

  7. (Optional) Click Custom Targeting to target any key-value, audience segment, or CMS metadata.
    Note: CMS metadata are only supported for traffic-based population.
    • Ad Manager can accommodate 200 - 300 items (along with ad unit and key-values) in a segment if each key and value has a length of 5 characters.
    • To target another first-party audience segment, select the "Audience segment" key.
    • Allowed custom key names include letters (A-Z and a-z), numbers (0-9), colon (:), semi-colon (;), angle brackets (<>), left square bracket ([), equals sign (=),  question mark (?), at symbol (@), back slash (\), and underscore (_).
    • An apostrophe (') is not allowed as part of a custom value name.
  8. Enter the number of page views a visitor to your site or app must see before they're added to the segment.
    • To add visitors to the segment immediately, enter 1.
    • Visitors are added to a segment between 30 minutes and 48 hours of meeting the page views and recency requirements.
  9. In the "Recency" field, enter the number of days when the page views goal entered in step 8 must be met.
    • Example: If you enter 3 in the "Page views" box and 7 in the "Recency" box, a visitor becomes a segment member if they view the page 3 times within 7 days.
    • A day is a 24-hour rolling period. If a visitor views your web page or app on January 1 at 12:11 a.m. EST and again on January 2 at 1:23 a.m. EST, that visitor has logged 2 page views in 2 days. If they visit a third time on January 2 at 2:30 p.m., the visitor has logged 3 page views in 2 days.
  10. In the "Membership expiration" field, enter the number of days a visitor remains a member of a segment before being removed for not meeting the page view goal.

    Example: The membership criteria for the segment is 3 page views in 7 days and the membership expiration is 30 days. Once a user visits your web page or app 3 times within 7 days, they become a segment member. Once the user fails to view the page 3 times in 7 days and another 30 days elapse, that user is removed from the segment.

    Each day is defined as a 24-hour duration.

    While it is possible to have a membership expiration value that is less than the recency value you set for the segment, this configuration is not recommended.

  11. Click Save or Save and Populate.

    Save and Populate pre-populates the segment to begin targeting it within a day. If you only Save and do not pre-populate, ads can begin to serve to the segment once it amasses 100 monthly active visitors. After creating a segment, it immediately begins to populate with visitors.

Changes to an existing segment are applied only to new visitors, identified by cookies, mobile advertising IDs (AdID or IDFA), or PPIDs. Visitors already on the list aren’t updated.

The segment size displayed in Ad Manager is updated multiple times per day.

Requirements for membership to first-party segments

To become a segment member, a visitor must:

  • View a page or app section that has an ad tag with the same targeting criteria as the segment.
  • Be a member of the selected segment.
  • Meet any goals entered for page views and recency.

Requirements for line items to serve to first-party segments

Third-party cookies on Chrome will be retired in 2024. While you can still build new segments based on third-party cookies, we recommend that you begin transitioning to PPID.

For larger lists, line items serve to visitors identified by cookies, mobile advertising IDs (AdID or IDFA), or PPIDs in targeted segments only after the segment reaches 100 members. For smaller lists, the threshold to show ads might be as high as 150 users.

Our systems use statistical sampling to estimate the number of active users associated with a list. The smaller the list of visitors, the higher the variance in our estimates; we therefore accumulate more data to meet the desired statistical threshold.

You can target a segment with fewer members than the threshold. However, if the line item serves, this was most likely unrelated to your targeting. The line item may have served because of its relationship to another segment. If you join one segment with another segment using an OR relationship in the targeting criteria, the line item can still serve.


  1. Target a line item to segment A OR segment B.
  2. Segment A has at least 150 visitors but segment B has fewer than 100 visitors.
  3. The line item can still serve if the visitor is in segment A.

To avoid this problem, pre-populate the segment.

Constraints and limitations

  • It can take several hours after a segment is created to accrue impressions.
  • For performance reasons, our systems enforce a threshold for segments with over one million visitors. These segments must contribute a sufficient number of impressions in proportion to their size to remain fully viable.


  1. A segment with two million visitors is projected to contribute only a hundred impressions per day.
  2. The segment serves to a small percentage of randomly selected members until sampling indicates it will cross a threshold of around 600 impressions per day.

  • Limitations on key names and values:
    • Keys and values in audience segments can’t include a quote (') (either single or double), or a hyphen (-), which is interpreted as a minus sign.
    • Keys in audience segments must start with a non-numeric character. For example, abc123 is valid key, but 123abc is not valid.
  • There's a limit of 20,000 audience lists per network.

Need help?

After you've created your first-party audience segments, you can use this troubleshooting guide if you believe a segment is under-delivering.

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