Where ads might appear in the Display Network

When you advertise on the Google Display Network, your ads can appear across a large collection of websites, mobile apps, and video content. Here are some examples:

  • Google AdSense publisher sites, including AdSense for Domains and AdSense for Errors
  • DoubleClick Ad Exchange publisher sites
  • Google sites such as Google Finance, Blogger, and YouTube (Google web search not included)

With over 2 million Display Network sites that reach over 90% of Internet users worldwide (Source: comScore), there are a lot of opportunities to reach customers. However, to target your customers effectively, choose campaign settings and add targeting methods to your ad groups that specify the conditions for when your ads can show on the Display Network.

Targeting methods available for your ad group

Targeting methods are used to match your ad to places or audiences on the Display Network. When you advertise on the Display Network, you have many targeting options. Before choosing an option, it’s important to understand the concept of a placement. Placements are locations on the Google Display Network where your ads can appear. A placement can be a website or a specific page on a site, a mobile app, video content, or even an individual ad unit.

Let’s take a look at three categories of targeting methods:

Contextual targeting: Match relevant site content

Website selling tents

You can target based on relevant website content in two ways:

  • Keywords: First, choose words and phrases relevant to your products and services. Then, AdWords looks for sites with content related to your keywords, to show your ads. Your ad may also show on websites that someone visits after they’ve visited another site that is related to your keywords. When you add keywords to an all features campaign that targets the Display Network, you’ll find the keywords on the Display keywords tab, under the Display network tab.
  • Topics: Similar to keywords, this lets you place your AdWords ads on website pages about the topics that you choose. Instead of developing a list of words or phrases, you choose categories of information, such as “Autos and Vehicles.”

With keywords and topics, Google selects relevant placements on the Display Network based on website content and other factors, to show your ads. These placements are labeled automatic placements in your statistics table on the Placements tab.

Learn more about contextual targeting, choosing keywords for the Display Network, or targeting websites about specific topics.

Audiences: Reach specific groups of people


You can target your ads based on audiences in these ways:

  • Audiences: Depending on your advertising goals, you can choose the audience that best matches your customers. To drive brand awareness, use affinity audiences to reach TV-like audiences on a broad scale. To reach as many potential customers as possible with an affinity for a specific product area, you might try adding custom affinity audiences. To reach specific audiences actively shopping for a product or service, use in-market audiences instead.
  • Interest categories: This allows you to reach people interested in products and services similar to those your business offers. When you target interest categories, you can show your ad to people who demonstrated specific interests, regardless of whether your ad correlates with the particular topic of the page or app they're currently on. You’ll find interest category targeting alongside remarketing in your account.
  • Remarketing: This option can help you reach people who have previously visited your website while they visit other sites on the Google Display Network. You’ll find remarketing alongside interest categories in your account.
  • Demographics: This option allows you to reach people who are likely to be within the age, gender, and parental status demographic group that you choose.

With audiences, you don't manually select places to show your ads. So, the sites or apps where your ads appear based on these methods are labeled "automatic placements" in your statistics table on the Placements tab.

Learn more about different types of audiences you can reach, adding audiences to your ad group, using remarketing or demographic targeting.

Managed placement targeting: Select specific websites and apps

When you hand-pick the placements on the Display Network, these placements are labeled "managed placements" in your statistics table on the Placements tab.

Managed placement targeting allows you to pick individual sites, or mobile apps where you want to show your ads. For example, if your typical customer spends a lot of time on a specific website and you want your ads to appear there, you can add it as a managed placement.

Learn how to add managed placements, or target YouTube, or mobile apps.

How to target your ads on the Display Network

Choose an eligible campaign type

When you choose a campaign type, such as "Search Network with Display Select" or "Display Network only," this broadly determines where customers will be able to see your ads. Your campaign sub-type, for example, “Standard” or “All features”, determines which campaign settings and options are available, such as the types of ads you can design. To advertise on the Display Network, you’ll need to choose from one of three campaign types, but have the option to choose the sub-type that works best for you.

Campaign type Locations Devices
Your ads can appear on the Display Network when you choose one of the following campaign types:
  • “Search Network with Display Select”
  • “Display Network only”
Your ads can show everywhere or in specific cities, regions, or countries that you specify. Your ads can show on all types of devices from desktops, tablets, and mobile devices or just the ones you specify by model, operating system, and more.

This advanced option is only available for some types of “Display Network only” campaigns.

Add targeting methods to your ad groups

When you add targeting like interest categories or keywords, you’re telling AdWords who can see your ads as they browse the Display Network or where they can show. You’ll need to add targeting to the ad groups in your Display Network campaigns in order for your campaign to run.

  1. Click the Display Network tab under All campaigns
  2. Click + Targeting
  3. Select the “Add targeting” drop-down menu and choose one of several targeting methods
  4. Choose targeting. For example, you might pick “Soccer fans.”
  5. Click Close and save your ad group.


To the side, there’s a calculator that shows available impressions for the targeting you’ve selected. The number of available impressions can often be quite large depending on what you select.

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