About display targeting optimization

Targeting optimization lets AdWords add high-potential targeting to an ad group in your “Display Network Only” campaigns, helping you automatically reach additional customers at a similar cost per customer. Automatic targeting is a type of targeting optimization that helps you show ads in the right place at the right time on the Display Network. It works in addition to the targeting you’ve already set up for your Display Network campaign.

When to use Targeting optimization

Targeting optimization works best for advertisers in any of the following situations:

  • You’re interested in finding more customers
  • You’d like some help identifying the best targeting to reach your most likely customers
  • You’d like to maintain your current cost per customer or cost per conversion

Targeting optimization is not well suited to advertisers who want complete control over where their ads are shown.

Types of Targeting optimization

There are two types of Targeting optimization: “conservative” and “aggressive” (known also as Display Campaign Optimizer). Both types can help find additional customers, but they behave differently, as you’ll see in the table below.

Conservative targeting Aggressive targeting (Display Campaign Optimizer)
Availability For all Display Network campaigns For all Display Network campaigns with at least 15 conversions per month
Typical cost per customer Additional targeting at your current cost per customer (or Target CPA if you have one) for a large majority of advertisers Additional targeting around your current cost per customer (or Target CPA if you have one) for the majority of advertisers
Amount of additional customers Reach some additional customers Reach even more additional customers than "conservative"
When to opt in
  • Use “conservative” targeting when you want more conversions, but need to stay close to your current cost per customer (or Target CPA if you have one.
  • Most Display campaigns are automatically enrolled in the "Conservative" version of this targeting.
  • Use “aggressive” targeting when you want to get as many conversions as possible, and are comfortable with some variation from your current cost per customer (or Target CPA if you have one.
  • Android app promotion campaigns using Conversion Optimizer use the "Aggressive" option as the default.

Keep in mind

"Aggressive" targeting optimization relies on Google algorithms to predict, test, and optimize targeting based on your campaign's historic data. If your campaign doesn't have at least 15 conversions per month, you won't be able to use “aggressive” targeting (Display Campaign Optimizer) in your ad groups.

App promotion targeting optimization

For Android apps using Display Network mobile app install campaigns, enabling targeting optimization will turn on the "Aggressive" version of targeting optimization. These campaigns will automatically expand beyond your selected targeting to other apps and relevant mobile websites. The "Conservative" version of targeting optimization is not available for these types of campaigns.

How to turn on Targeting optimization

Follow these steps to choose your automatic targeting under the "Targeting optimization" option in your ad groups:

  1. Click the Display Network tab.
  2. Select your ad group, and click the + Targeting button.
  3. In the "Targeting optimization" section below the different targeting methods, select the checkbox with your preferred level of automatic targeting. Automatic campaign optimization
  4. Click Save.

You can change your selection to another available option, or opt out of targeting optimization, at any time.

Try it now


If you're using Conversion Optimizer and select the "Targeting optimization" option, we'll use the CPA you've already set for Conversion Optimizer. If you aren't using Conversion Optimizer, AdWords will infer a CPA target from your manual targeting and try to match the performance of the rest of your ad group.

Reviewing performance for automatic targeting

To review your performance from using automatic targeting, you'll need to segment your report by "Targeting mode." Here's how:

  1. Click the Display Network tab from within the campaign for which you'd like to see statistics.
  2. Click the Placements tab.
  3. Click the "Segment" drop-down menu and select "Targeting mode."
  4. In the reporting table, look for placements categorized as "Auto-targeted."

To see statistics generated through your automatic targeting offline, you can download your automatic placements and sort by "Targeting mode."

Keep in mind

“Aggressive” targeting may initially have a CPA that is different from your target CPA, as it explores the Display Network to find additional customers for you. Over time, your CPA will get closer to your target CPA. Your individual campaign performance may vary based on your bids, budget, creatives and other campaign settings.

How to turn off Targeting optimization

You can turn off Targeting optimization at any time. Just follow these steps:

  1. Select your ad group.
  2. Click the Display Network tab.
  3. Click the + Targeting button.
  4. Scroll down to the "Targeting optimization" section.
  5. Deselect the checkbox.
  6. Click Save.
Try it now
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