Target ads

Add targeting

Use the targeting picker to add targeting, which determines who sees your ads and ensures they reach the intended audience. #targeting

Ensure you learn about targeting, including targeting types, as you start working with the targeting picker. 

In this article, we'll cover:

Targeting basics

The targeting picker displays targeting types in a stacked and expandable list. Most frequently used targeting types are listed first.

  • Click Show more under the targeting picker to view more targeting types
  • Click a targeting type to expand and view the targeting selector  

The targeting selector allows you to chose targeting classes or targeting values. Targeting these items narrows who sees the ads and helps your advertisers or buyers reach their intended audience or demographic.

Expand a targeting type and then:
  • Include items in targeting by clicking 
  • Exclude items in targeting by clicking 
  • Remove items from targeting by clicking Remove
To see the Include and Exclude actions, hover over items. Items already targeted appear to the right in the targeting selector and can be removed from there.

Search and include or exclude

When browsing through the targeting selector, you may reach an end of the currently displayed list of items to target. Click Load more to display more.
You can also enter a search term in the search field next to . In the case of inventory, navigate to either Ad units or Placements to find the search field.
The search feature from the targeting selector produces a filtered list of partial matches anywhere in the name of items. If you search for "auto", for instance, you can match items named "auto_page_ad_unit" as well as "homepage_automobile_ad_unit". From the targeting selector, you can:
  • Search for items to produce a filtered list base on your search term 
  • Include or exclude items from your filtered list

Include all allows you to include items currently in the targeting selector, even if they aren't being currently displayed under Load more. If you've exclude an item in the targeting selector, the option toggles to Exclude all and similarly excludes all items currently in the targeting selector.

Include all and Exclude all can be applied to your search results. Each option only includes or excludes the results on the filtered list up to 2000 items. If you need to target more than 2000 matched items, consider multiple searches or using Exclude instead.

Search example

Suppose you need to target all the inventory in your network related to sports. This inventory spans across multiple webpages and covers many sports. Say, there are just over 500 of these ad units.
Now, imagine your organization has a naming convention for its inventory. In the case of sports, every ad unit starts with the word "sports", followed by the kind of sport, and finally by its position and size. For instance:
  • sports_rugby_top_728x90
  • sports_rugby_bottom_728x90
  • sports_tennis_right_160×600
In this case, you could search for "sports_" to match and Include all desired ad units. If, on the other hand, you just wanted rugby, you could search for "sports_rugby" and Include all of those ad units.
This example illustrates the benefit of having a consistent naming convention in your organization.

Copy & paste values

You can copy and paste a comma-separated lists of values into the targeting selector. Pasting values can save time when you have a lot of values to add. There are three targeting types that allow you to copy and paste values:
  • Inventory
  • Geography
  • Custom targeting

For inventory and geography, look for "Enter text" at the bottom of the targeting selector and click the plus sign to show a text field where you can paste values. For custom targeting, select a key or audience segment to show an adjacent field where you can paste values. Click Apply under the text box when done.


You can paste comma-separated lists of ad units or placements you want to include, as well as ad units you want to exclude. Once you click the plus sign to show the text field that accepts comma-separated lists, select Ad units, Exclude ad units, or Placements.

For ad units, use the entire code path of each ad unit—for example:

 /123/homepage/ad_unit_1,   /123/homepage/ad_unit_2,   /123/news/local_news/ad_unit_3 
For placements, only the name of the placement is required:
placement1, placement2, placement3


Geography allows you to paste comma-separated lists of postal codes you want to include from a variety of countries. You can also include countries and US states by name as well as exclude countries by name.

Custom targeting

Custom targeting allows you to target key-valuesaudience segments, or content metadata. You can use the menu to select a key and then select values. You can also opt to copy and paste your entry.

  • Copy and paste with standard entry: When selecting a key or audience segment under Custom targeting, the adjacent field accepts comma-separated lists of values for the selected key. Select is any of as the operator to include the values or segments added, or select is none of to exclude them.
  • Copy and paste with advanced expressions: The advanced expression targeting option allows you to easily add large set of key-values, audience segments, or content metadata. Your organization may already have a resource where sets of entries can be copied and pasted.
    Only available in Google Ad Manager 360.
With standard entry, if pasted values for a key don't currently exist, Ad Manager gives you the opportunity to create those values directly from the targeting picker. Advanced expression targeting doesn't provide that opportunity.
Creating values directly from the targeting picker only applies to keys—not audience segments or content metadata.

Add targeting preset

 A targeting preset is a group of combined targeting that can be reused. You can find and use them in line itemsproposal line items, and video ad rules.

To add a targeting preset:

  1. In the Add targeting preset field, type the name to find a preset. Your search includes partial matches in the middle of a name. 
  2. Select the targeting preset.
  3. You'll see a confirmation dialogue stating the targeting present has been added.

Targeting presets are added and managed from Inventory and then Targeting presets. However, you have the option to save new presets with little interruption from the targeting picker.

Good to know about targeting presets

  • Targeting applied from a targeting preset isn't updated with a targeting preset update.

    Updating or deleting a targeting preset only affects future items that use that preset—not items that previously used that preset. Deleted targeting presets are similarly unavailable for future use. Line items, proposal line items, and video ad rules that used a preset continue to use targeting as originally applied.

  • Once you apply a targeting preset, you can make further adjustments to targeting. You can also apply a second targeting preset or even reapply the first targeting preset after making adjustments.
  • If there are conflicts between a targeting preset and the existing targeting, you're prompted to resolve conflicts between various criteria. 

Resolve targeting conflicts

Ad Manager checks for any conflicts between applied targeting and warns you if there's a conflict.

For example, if you have already excluded France from your targeting, and now you add a preset that includes France, Ad Manager will prompt you to choose which targeting you want to keep.

You can't apply a targeting preset if the preset contains a value that is a child or subset of existing targeting. For instance, you can't target a child ad unit using a preset if you're already targeting the child's parent. You'd need to remove the parent ad unit from targeting to apply the preset with its child.

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