About Protections

Protections overview

Learn how Protections can help you manage your brand

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Protections help you manage your brand, avoid competing advertisers' ads from appearing together, and determine which inventory (if any) you want to make available to the Open Auction. There are 4 types of Protections:

There are also network level controls that let you opt in or out of Google Demand sources, including the Google Display Network (GDN) and Display & Video 360.

Good to know about Protections

Protection rules are additive. Protection rules that satisfy the targeting of an ad request apply to that ad request, and more than one rule may apply to the same ad request.

There are also limits to the number of Protection rules and values you can include in certain rules. Learn more about Protection limits.

Ad content

Ad content rules help ensure that only the kinds of ads you want will appear on your digital properties. These rules protect you, your users, and your advertisers.

You manage the brand of your websites or apps with targeting, blocks, or opt-ins for certain types of ads.

If you apply multiple protections, your traffic may be limited, as more than one rule may apply to the same ad request.


You decide to opt in to alcohol ads. Then, you decide to block all buyers except Advertiser A, Advertiser B, and Advertiser C. Regardless of your opt-in, the only traffic you will receive is from Advertiser A, Advertiser B, and Advertiser C. All other traffic will be blocked.

Ad content targeting

"Ad content" rules apply to all inventory under several scenarios:

  • If the option Protect all inventory is selected
  • If Only protect specified inventory is selected and no targeting is specified
  • If Only protect specified inventory is selected and you've included a targeting type but didn't include a targeting class or targeting value

To restrict a rule to specific inventory, ensure that Only protect specified inventory is selected and that you've added targeting—either a targeting class or targeting value.

  1. Select Only protect specified inventory.
  2. Click Add targeting.
  3. From the menu, select a targeting type.
  4. Click the targeting type and add a targeting class or targeting value.
  5. Click Save.


These types of ads are allowed by default and can serve if no restriction is applied via "Blocks." You opt to block ads from the following categories or sources.

  • Ad experiences: Controls what kinds of ad behavior are eligible for your digital properties.
  • Advertisers/Brands: Brands are children that are mapped to parent advertisers, such as a food company (the advertiser, parent) and a specific cereal they manufacture (the brand, child).
  • General categories: High-level groupings of ads, such as Apparel, Finance, and Health.
  • Sensitive categories: Groups of ads that are considered "sensitive" due to the nature of the business or ad, such as "Sensationalism" or "Significant Skin Exposure."
  • Buyers: Prevent specific buyers from showing ads on your site or app.
  • Custom labels: Used to group objects for a variety of purposes. For example, you can create a custom label and then block it to prevent competing ads from appearing on the same page. Note that this is the only blocking option supported for YouTube cross-sell networks.
  • Advertiser URLs: Ads that link (or click-through) to specific URLs or app downloads. This way, you can easily block all ads that are linked to your competitor at www.example.com.
  • Cookies and data uses (non-Google demand): Block other buyers from showing ads based on user interest categories or remarketing.


Ads from the following categories or sources are blocked by default. You can choose to allow them.

  • Ad experiences: Controls what kinds of ad behavior are eligible for your digital properties—in this case, video ads that have unknown ad behavior or that meet the minimum threshold to transact programmatically but don't fully comply with all of our ad policies.
  • Restricted categories: Allow ads for alcohol and gambling/betting to appear, unless the categories have been disabled from your network.
  • Ad technologies: Control which ad technologies and video types are allowed on your inventory. Authorized Buyers are allowed to use many ad technology vendors that use tools such as ad servers, research technologies, and remarketing.


Competition rules stop ads from advertisers in the same or similar market from appearing together. Setting up these kinds of rules allows you to add value to your advertisers by ensuring they won't compete for the same users during an ad experience.

Learn more about preventing competitors from serving together.

Inventory exclusions

Inventory exclusions indicate what inventory to exclude from the Open Auction. Inventory exclusion rules allow you to exclude inventory types or targeting values.

Learn more about inventory exclusion rules under Protections.

Targeting values

The targeting values included in an inventory exclusion rule are blocked from the Open Auction. If no targeting values are included in the targeting picker, then all inventory is blocked from the Open Auction.

  • Add targeting values to the targeting picker to ensure you're not excluding all inventory from the Open Auction.
  • If you want to include all inventory in the Open Auction, simply don't add any inventory exclusion rules.

Manual creative review (beta)

This feature is in beta
Manual creative review is meant for publishers who have the ability to review creatives at scale in a continuous manner. Often, these publishers have FTEs or vendor teams that review hundreds or thousands of creatives daily. Delay in reviewing creatives may impact auction performance and lead to buyer throttling.
If you’re interested in having this feature activated for your account, please reach out to your account manager.

You can set a manual creative review protection to block any unreviewed creatives from serving until you review them in the Ad Review Center.

This functionality might be important to publishers that are required by industry or company regulations to review creatives prior to serving, or that have higher standards for certain parts of their inventory, such as for live content, child content, and so on. 

Manual creative review protections apply to Private Auction, Marketplace package, and Open Auction inventory. 

Any creative that fits the targeting expression set within the Protection is automatically blocked and tagged with the status “Pending” in the Ad Review Center. Publishers can leverage the “Pending” status as a queue for creatives that are blocked by the protection. 

Creatives that don’t fit the targeting expression of the protection will continue to serve regularly, unless they’re explicitly blocked in the Ad Review Center. Such creatives are marked “Serving” by default. For more details on manual creative review, visit Review and block ads.

Note: Manual creative review doesn't currently support selecting the "Games" inventory type. However, games inventory is included in the “Video” and run-of-network "Apply to all inventory" options. 

Network level

By default, Google Demand sources, including the Google Display Network (GDN) and Display & Video 360, are allowed to show ads based on user interest categories and remarketing. This feature also allows the use of non-signed in visitation information from sites to help create interest categories.

On a network level, you can choose to opt out of either interest-based category ads (for non-signed in users) or remarketing ads. Learn more about blocking ads by user-based data.

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