Targeting settings on the Display Network

On the Display Network, you can reach a wide range of customers, choose which sites or pages to appear on, and engage people with a variety of appealing ad formats. By choosing your settings for each individual ad group, you have more control over where your ads show.

You can add a single targeting method, like keywords, to your ad group, or more than one targeting method, like keywords and placements. When you add multiple targeting methods, you narrow your audience.

Example

  • If you sell handmade soaps, you could add keywords such as "handmade soaps" and "artisan soap bars" to an ad group.
  • If you wanted to narrow your audience further, in the same ad group, you could also target specific websites about skin care. Then, your ads would show only when the keywords and placements you added matched.

When you add a targeting method to your ad group, by default, it will be used to target your ads. So, if you're looking to show your ads based on topics, for example, you simply add topics to your ad group, and AdWords will target your ads based on these topics.

Tip

For small and medium business, we generally recommend not adding too many targeting methods per ad group because you'll be narrowing your reach too much, and your ads might not show.

Keep in mind

To target the Display Network, you'll need to use one of the following campaign types:

  • "Search & Display Networks - All features"
  • "Display Network only – All features"
  • "Display Network only – Mobile apps"
  • "Display Network only – Remarketing"

If you have a different campaign type from the ones listed above, you won't be able to target the Display Network. Learn about AdWords campaign types.

How to combine targeting methods if you'd like to narrow your reach

If you want to narrow your audience, you can combine targeting methods using the default reach setting ("Target and bid"). Some of these combination might help advertisers whose main goal is to sell products. If you have a campaign focused on direct sales, and want to reach a specific type of audience, you can add a few targeting methods to your ad group so your ads show only when the specific targeting methods you've selected match.

Keep in mind that this isn't a comprehensive list of all possible combinations.

Targeting methods Where ads appear and what bid is used
Keywords + placements Targeting: Keywords AND placements
Bid used: Placements
Interest categories
+ age
Targeting: Interest categories AND age range
Bid used: Age range
Keywords + topics Targeting: Keywords AND topics
Bid used: Topics
Remarketing + gender Target: Remarketing AND gender
Bid used: Gender
Topics + interest categories Targeting: Topics AND interest categories
Bid used: Topics

Targeting and bid settings at the ad group level

When you add a targeting method, for example, placements, to an ad group, you can choose one of these two options: Target and bid or Bid only. These options appear below each targeting method.

Ad group settings for the Display Network

Here's more information on each of these options:

  • Target and bid (selected by default): If you leave this setting selected, your ads will be targeted based on the method you selected (in this case, placements). Your ad will only show if one of the placements you've added is matched.

    Example

    If you're adding the placements travel-example.com and luxurytravelexample.com to an ad group, and leave the default setting, the ad would show just on those two placements for that ad group.

    Once you've added placements for targeting, you'd still have the option to set bids on them. Learn more about bidding on the Display Network.

  • Bid only: Show ads based on other targeting methods that you've added, but set bids on this method to increase your chances of showing there. You'd typically do this if you plan to set bids on specific placements, for example. If you set a custom bid for a placement in the Max CPC column of the statistics table, and the ad shows on that placement based on your keywords, for example, then AdWords will use your placement bid.

    Tip

    After you choose your targeting settings, you’ll want to add the "Targeting setting" column (located under "Attributes" in the "Column" drop-down menu) to your Display Network tab. This column lets you easily see whether your targeting method is set to "Target and bid" or "Bid only."

    Example

    If you want to show on sites based on your keywords, but you think that your potential customers visit two specific websites, you could add travel-example.com and luxurytravelexample.com as placements, and select "Bid only." Then, you could set a bid on those placements to increase your chances of showing there when your keywords match those placements.

    Learn more about bidding on the Display Network.

Advanced targeting and bidding combinations

If you have a brand campaign, and your goal is to reach as many people as possible, you might not want to add too many targeting methods to your ad group. You may still choose, however, to add multiple targeting methods so you can set bids on a particular one without significantly limiting your reach. Below are some advanced targeting and bidding combinations that might work well for some campaigns.

Targeting methods Target and bid (default setting) Bid only Where ads appear and what bid is used
Age range + gender + interest categories Age range + gender + interest categories Not selected Targeting: Age range AND gender AND interest categories
Bid used: Age range
Interest categories and age range * Interest categories Age range Targeting: Interest categories
Bid used: Age range
Keywords + placements Keywords Placements Targeting: Keywords
Bid used: Placements
Keywords + gender * Keywords Gender Targeting: Keywords
Bid used: Gender
Topics + interest categories + placements Topics AND Interest categories Placements Targeting: Topics AND interest categories
Bid used: Placements

* These combinations can be useful for people who would like to reach certain demographic groups, based on their age range or gender, but don't want to restrict their traffic to those groups only.

Example

You sell women's perfumes. These perfumes are mostly marketed to women, but men can also buy them for women as gifts, so you might not want to narrow your targeting to women only. Instead, you could bid more for women.