Target ads

Edit targeting inline

You can copy a line item’s targeting criteria, edit it offline, and then paste it back into the same or different line item. You can also make edits inline without copying the expression.

This can be useful when you want to quickly add or remove a set of targeting criteria, such as postal codes, to or from a filtered set of line items.

Add the targeting column

Before you can copy and paste targeting criteria, ensure the “Targeting” column is displayed on the line items page. You only need to do this once.

  1. Sign in to Google Ad Manager.
  2. Click Delivery and then Line items.
  3. Click the modify columns icon Columns.
  4. Select the Targeting checkbox to activate to display this column in the "Line items" table.

Edit targeting inline

  1. In the “Line items” table, locate and click on the line item whose targeting you want to edit. The line item can be an existing one that has already started to serve, or one you just created.
  2. Scroll to the "Add targeting" section.
  3. Click into the desired targeting option to make updates. If you enter text for targeting, keep in mind that you need to escape certain characters.
  4. Click Save at the bottom of the screen. The line item targeting is updated and the criteria are reflected in the targeting picker.

Updated targeting takes effect immediately.


You can edit a lot of the criteria created in the targeting picker, but there are some unsupported criteria:

  • For any system-defined criteria (such as geography, browser, device capability), only English names are recognized. For example, if you are targeting the capital of Mexico, “ MX/Federal District/Mexico City” is supported, but not “MX/Distrito Federal/Ciudad de Mexico”.

    Note that criteria that are user-defined (such as ad unit and placement names, custom keys and key-values) are referred to by the exact name used to create them. For example, if a placement called “Noticias” is targeted by a line item, it should not be translated as “News.”

  • The criteria below are not supported:
    • DMA (designated market areas) targeting
    • Video content targeting (such as pods)
    • Line items with Video VAST inventory sizes
    • Targeting an ad_unit without its children, such as “Sports/news (only)”
    • "Day and time" delivery in the "Adjust delivery" section
    • Audience targeting

    When a line item is targeted to criteria that are not supported by inline editing, the “Targeting” column displays the following message: "Rendering not supported."

  • System maximum and limits are the same as those entered using the user interface. 

It's important to note that line items targeted to criteria that are not supported by inline editing are still eligible to deliver to those criteria—but those criteria are not available in the "Add targeting" section.

Definitions and examples of targeting expressions

  • Name: one piece of targeting: 10011 or NFL
  • Path: full representation of an entity: Examples:
    • Postal code targeting: US/10011
    • Inventory targeting: Paper1/Sports/NFL
  • Group: a list of paths to include or exclude: geo(US/10011, US/Alabama)
  • Expression: a list of groups in an AND relationship: geo(US/10011) and ad_unit(Paper1/Sports/NFL)

Character escaping

The following symbols have special meaning and must be escaped when used as part of a targeting expression: slash (/), comma (,), left parenthesis ((), right parenthesis ()), double-quote ("). Escaping rules are as follows:

  • If a name contains a slash, escape with a backslash (\). Result: \/
  • If a path contains a quote, escape with a backslash (\). Result: \"
  • If a path contains a comma, left parenthesis or right parenthesis, enclose the entire path in quotes.
  • All paths can be enclosed in quotes, even if there is no need to escape.

Escaping examples

Reason Before After
Slash (/) 24/7workweek 24\/7workweek
Quote (") Billy "The Kid" Billy \"The Kid\"
Comma (,) Bond, James Bond "Bond, James Bond"
Parentheses (( )) MSIE (11.0) "MSIE (11.0)"
Multiple 24/7workweek(Winter), Part 2 "24\/7workweek(Winter), Part 2"
It's always OK to add quotes No need to escape "No need to escape"

Excluding targeting expressions

Use an exclamation mark (!=) to exclude criteria within a targeting expression.

For example, geo=(CA) AND geo!=(CA/British Columbia/Vancouver) targets all of Canada other than Vancouver.

The following criteria can be both included (=) and excluded (!=) in the same targeting string:

  • ad_unit
  • geo
  • device
  • os

The following criteria can be included (=) only:

  • placement
  • custom

The following criteria can be included (=) or excluded(!=) in the same string, but not both:

  • browser
  • browser_language
  • device_capability
  • device_category
  • bandwidth
  • mobile_carrier
  • user_domain
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