Targeting your ads

Targeting ads is an essential part of a successful advertising campaign. You may have designed the perfect ad, but you'll need to show it to the right people at the right time to better reach your goal. AdWords offers different ways of targeting your ads.

Before you begin

For video ad groups using placement targeting only: If you’re targeting placements solely on YouTube or the Display network, your ads will now be eligible to run on both.
Existing ad groups without targeting will be automatically paused as a one-time exception to ensure they don't run ads you don't intend to show. Going forward, manually pause ad groups that aren’t ready to show ads. Learn more at Pause or resume your ad groups.

Targeting your ads on Google search and search partner sites

Here's how you can target your text ads on Google search and the Google Search Network:

  • Keyword targeting: Choose words or phrases relevant to your product or service so your ads appear when customers search those terms. By creating a highly relevant keyword list, you increase your chances to show your ads to the most interested customers.
  • Location and language targeting: Choose the language and geographic locations -- such as a country, region or city -- where your customers are located. After you set these targeting options, AdWords determines who to show your ads to based on several factors: the Google domain people use (like or, their search terms, their computer's IP address (which can estimate its geographical location), their language preference set for Google, and the languages of sites they visit.
  • Device targeting: Show your ads to the right people across all devices, based on their specific location, time of day, and device type.
  • Audience targeting: Show your ads to people who have previously visited your site by using remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA).


If you run a dog daycare center in San Francisco, California, you could add the keyword "doggie daycare," and "San Francisco and nearby cities," as the target location for your AdWords campaign. Then, when people in San Francisco type "doggie daycare" on Google, they could see your ad next to the search results.

Targeting your ads on websites that partner with Google to show ads

Here's how you can target your text and display ads on the Google Display Network:

  • Keyword targeting: Choose words or phrases related to your product or service to target relevant websites, apps, and videos on the Display Network by using "Content" keywords. You can also target relevant audiences who browse content about those keywords by using the "Audience" keyword setting. Soon Audience keywords and keyword suggestions will move to "Custom intent audiences." In addition to keywords, Custom intent audiences lets you add URLs for websites, apps, or YouTube content related to your audience's interests.
  • Topic targeting: Target one ad to multiple pages about certain topics at once. Topic targeting lets you reach a broad range of pages on the Display Network. AdWords analyzes web content and considers factors such as text, language, link structure, and page structure. It then determines the central themes of each webpage and targets ads based on your topic selections.
  • Placement targeting: Target websites on the Display Network that your customers visit. If you select this type of targeting, we'll only look at your chosen sites (managed placements) when searching for relevant sites. Unlike contextual targeting (automatic placements), placement targeting doesn't require keywords. A placement might be an entire website or a subset of a site.
  • Audience targeting: Show your ads to specific groups of people as they visit Display Network websites and apps. You can reach people who've visited your site by identifying the affinity and in-market audiences as well as setting up a remarketing campaign. For example, you can select affinity audiences to drive awareness of your business and reach more potential customers. If you want to drive sales or conversions, you can select an in-market audience to reach customers who are searching for and considering buying products like yours. You can also make Custom intent audiences, created by using keywords and URLs or choose one created automatically by Google. Another option is to use Custom affinity audiences to reach customers who have interests more tailored to your brand..
  • Location and language targeting: Choose the language and geographic locations -- such as a country, region or city -- where your customers are located.
  • Device targeting: Choose to show ads to your customer when they visit Display Network sites on specific devices, or on any of them.


If your business sells costumes, you could add the keyword "buy costumes" and the topic "Hobbies & Leisure > Special Occasions > Holidays & Seasonal Events," to target your image ad at iPhones or Android devices. Then, people could see your image ad when they use their Android phones to visit sites on the Display Network that have information about buying costumes, Halloween or Mardi Gras.

Keep in mind

When you select multiple targeting methods on the Display Network, your success depends on your network settings. Learn more at Targeting settings on the Display Network.

Display ads only appear on the Google Display Network. They don't appear on search results pages. Like other Google ads, display ads can be created for cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) campaigns. They can be targeted to the entire Display Network for all relevant pages, or targeted to specific placements within the Display Network. They have the full range of targeting options, including targeting by location, demographics, and topics.

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