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.

Audience targeting

  • Demographics: Target your ads based on how well your products and services trend with users in certain locations, ages, genders, and device types.
  • Affinity: Advertisers with TV campaigns can extend a campaign online and reach an audience using Google Search or the Display Network.
  • In-market: Show ads to users who have been searching for products and services like yours. These users may be looking to make a purchase, or have previously made a purchase and could still be interested enough to interact with your ads.
  • Custom intent audiences: Choose words or phrases related to the people that are most likely to engage with your site and make purchases by using "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.
  • Similar audiences: Expand your audience by targeting users with interests related to the users in your remarketing lists. These users aren't searching for your products or services directly, but their related interests may lead them to interacting with your ads.
  • Remarketing: Target users that have already interacted with your ads, website, or app so that they'll see your ads more often. These users can be in any stage of conversion, as long as they've visited your site or clicked on your ad before. These users may even return to complete a purchase.

Content targeting

  • Topics: 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: 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.
  • Content keywords: Choose words that are relevant to your product or service to target users making searches using those same terms. You can tailor a set of keywords to manually reach certain demographics or meet specific goals. For instance, you can change your keywords to reflect seasonal interests or make the most of a sale.
  • Display expansion for search: Let AdWords find users for you with a combination of automated bidding and smart targeting. Display expansion works for both Search and Display campaigns, targeting high-performance moments for the best results.

Examples

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.

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.

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 campaigns based on cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM), target cost-per-action (tCPA), target return on ad spend (tROAS), and enhanced cost-per-click (e-CPC).

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