About Protections

Protections overview

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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 three types of Protections:

There are also network level controls that allow you to 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

Ad content

Ad content rules ensure that only the kinds of ads you want to 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, with the following exceptions of 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—for example, expandable ads.
  • Advertisers/Brands: Brands are children that are mapped to parent advertisers. For example: 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. 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. Ad Exchange 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

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

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.

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

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