Targeting your ads with AdWords for video

Starting in April 2014, AdWords for video will simplify its ad formats and network targeting settings. Learn more

AdWords for video lets you mix and match targeting settings for your video ads using a targeting concept called a "targeting group". Targeting groups give you the best possible ad exposure. To target your ads, you'll:

  • Use one video for multiple ad formats and placement options.
  • Define your targeting groups.
  • Associate ads to targeting groups and vice versa.

Tip

The main thing to remember when you build your ads and set up your targeting groups is that you get the best results by targeting broadly - target demographics, or topics, interests and opt in to all TrueView video formats. If you use more than one targeting method at a time, we'll apply them all.

For example, if you target a specific keyword, age and channel, your ads will only be shown when all those methods match your ad at the same time. This can restrict your impressions significantly.

The basics of targeting with AdWords for video

When you create a video ad campaign with AdWords for video, you'll need to set up your ad's targeting during the campaign creation process. You'll need to use a targeting group that defines the targeting methods for all ads in a campaign. There are no ad groups in AdWords for video campaigns like there are for traditional AdWords campaigns.

By default, new ads will be enabled to run with the targeting settings you define for all existing targeting groups in the campaign. This means an ad will be eligible to appear in each case where all the targeting methods for a targeting group apply. You'll have the option to define which ads are enabled for which targeting group when creating or editing either ads or targeting groups.

Example

Let's say you have Targeting Group A and Targeting Group B. If you enable your ad for both, all the eligible formats for your ad will be shown when all methods are met for Targeting Group A, or when all methods are met for Targeting Group B. If you only want your ad to appear when all methods are met for Targeting Group B, you'd edit your settings to remove Targeting Group A from the list of enabled targeting groups for the ad.

Tips

Using the same video:

  • You can use the same video with different ad text and thumbnails to compare how the ad variations perform.
  • You can create one ad with your video, ad text and thumbnail, and associate the ad with multiple targeting groups.

About targeting groups

A targeting group lets you mix and match targeting settings in one group, and apply them to one or more ads. With AdWords for video, "ad groups" don't exist like they do with other ad campaigns outside this campaign tool.

A single targeting group can contain the following types of targets:

  • Demographics: Age and gender.
  • Topics: YouTube video or Google Display Network content targeted by category or sub-category.
  • Interests: Pick from available categories to target users interested in these topics, even when they may be visiting pages about other topics. Learn more about interest categories.
  • Placements: Add unique websites or placements within those websites. For example, you can target an entire high traffic blog or the homepage of a popular news site. Placements include:
    • Channels (YouTube Partner Channels)
    • Videos (YouTube Videos)
    • Sites (Google Display Network - includes YouTube.com as a publisher site)
  • Remarketing lists: Reach viewers based on their past interactions with your videos or YouTube channel. If you've linked your YouTube account to your AdWords account already, we'll create custom ones for you automatically. Learn more about remarketing lists for YouTube.
  • Content keywords (Display Network): These work just like contextual targeting on the greater Google Display Network, but only apply to videos on the entire network (which includes YouTube videos).
  • Search keywords (YouTube Search): These work just like search keywords for a non-video ad campaign, but only apply to search on YouTube.
Comparing AdWords for video vs. traditional AdWords campaign structure

With AdWords for video, ads and targeting groups are equal within a campaign, and therefore very flexible. This system uses the targeting group concept instead of ad groups:

  • Campaigns: A campaign contains one or more ads, and up to 10 targeting groups. Each campaign contains targeting (location, language, networks) and pricing (bids and budget) information.
  • Targeting groups: A targeting group is a set of targeting methods that apply to all ads, or an ad subgroup, in the campaign. Each targeting group contains additional targeting information (keywords, content keywords, placements, etc.) and pricing information (default or True-View format-specific bids). All targeting groups in a campaign apply to all ads in the campaign by default, and you can also assign specific targeting groups to specific ads.
  • Ads: A single ad contains one video and the ad text for the selected formats. This allows a single ad to appear in up to four different video ad formats and the networks that show these formats. There can be multiple ads in one campaign.

In standard AdWords campaigns, there is a nested structure to campaigns, ads and targeting:

  • Campaigns: A campaign contains one or more ad groups. Each campaign contains targeting (location, language, networks) and pricing (bids and budget) information.
  • Ad groups: Each ad group contains additional targeting information (keywords, placements), pricing information (default, keyword or placement bids) and at least one ad. Ad groups are linked at the campaign level only.
  • Ads: Ads contain one set of text and content. There can be multiple ads in one ad group, but they aren't associated with a campaign. They're linked at the ad group level only.

Compare the differences between a targeting group and an ad group

  Targeting Groups Ad Groups
Targeting methods apply to All ads in campaign (by default) Ads in ad group only
Keyword targeting - Search Individual keywords apply to YouTube search only Individual keywords apply to Google.co.uk and Google Search Network
Keyword targeting - Display Display Network keywords which apply to YouTube videos and Google Display Network only All keywords in one ad group form a contextual theme
Where ads appear In separate "Video Ads" which are applied to all targeting groups (by default) Contained in one ad group
Create targeting groups

To add a targeting group from the Targets tab:

  1. First, make sure that you're in the campaign for which you want to create targeting groups.
  2. Click All targeting groups to see all targeting groups associated with ads in the campaign.
  3. Click the New targeting group button above the table. You can create up to 10 targeting groups.
  4. Name your targeting group.
  5. Select your cost-per-view (CPV) bid:
    • You can select a default max CPV bid for all ads in the campaign.
    • You can also click Customise bids per format to set an individual CPV bid per TrueView video ad format.
    • Get updated traffic estimates: If you change your bid or any targeting options on the page, your traffic estimates will update. Press "Enter" after you change the amount in the bid field to trigger the update.

Next, let us know how you'd like to reach viewers:

  1. Reach people who are watching:

    YouTube and the Google Display Network offer a few ways to reach particular audiences:
    1. Demographic: Reach people by their age or gender.
    2. Viewing content (topics): Reach people based on general web content categories.
    3. User interested in (interests): Reach people based on more specific interests.

    Note

    Only In-stream and In-display ads will be targeted with these settings.

    To target people as they’re viewing content, make sure that at least one ad associated with this targeting group is running on the In-stream or In-display format.

    Advanced audience options: You can also select even more targeting criteria, but be careful! Using too many of these can limit your ad's exposure. Additional options include:

    • Shows ads on specific content (managed placements): Add unique websites or placements within those websites. For example, you can target an entire high traffic blog or the homepage of a popular news site.
    • Remarket to viewers (remarketing lists): Reach viewers based on their past interactions with your videos or YouTube channel. If you've linked your YouTube account to your AdWords account already, we'll create custom ones for you automatically. Learn more about remarketing lists for YouTube.
      • Video remarketing list: Remarketing lists we've created for you will appear here, grouped by channel.
      • AdWords remarketing list: Remarketing lists that you've created before will appear here. If you don't have any remarketing lists, and don't want to link your YouTube account, click Manage lists. This will open a new browser where you can create a new remarketing list for your account.
    • Specify content keywords: Enter keywords that will help match your ads to web content. These work just like contextual targeting on the greater Google Display Network, but only apply to videos on the entire network (which includes YouTube videos).
  2. Reach people who are searching (TrueView in-search):
    • Search keywords: Enter keywords to reach viewers searching YouTube for video content.
  3. Click Save targeting group.
Edit targeting groups

Don't forget, you can have many targeting groups in a given campaign, and they can be tied to more than one individual ad (and an ad can be tied to more than one targeting group).

By default, when you make a new ad, AdWords for video assumes that you want the ad applying to all available targeting groups. And yes, the reverse is also true: if you make a new targeting group, the system also assumes that you want the targeting group to apply to all existing ads. You can always change these settings if you want more control over where your video ads appear.

Before you can edit your targeting groups, you'll need to get to the Targets tab of your video campaign:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at adwords.google.com/video.
  2. Select the campaign that you'd like to edit.
  3. Click the Targets tab to see all targeting groups for the campaign.
  4. Switch targeting type views: Your screen will default to showing you all of your targeting groups. From either the campaign-level Targets tab, or within a specific targeting group, you can switch to other target views using the target criteria links at the top. If you can't see one of the targeting options below, click Show more criteria above the table.
    • Keywords tab
    • Topics
    • Demographics
    • Placements
  • To edit your targeting group bid: Place your cursor over the bid and click the pencil icon to edit.
  • By clicking on a targeting group within Targets tab, a filter for the selected targeting group is enabled. You can then edit the targets within the targeting group.
  • Pause or resume targets: You can select one or more existing targets in the list, and then enable or pause them.
  • Add targets: You can also add a new target within each type by clicking the Add button above the targets list.
Manage your targeting groups

You'll use the Targets tab to review the performance of the targeting groups that you've previously created for a campaign. Each targeting group contains different targeting types and applies to all video ads in the campaign. The tab is only available at the individual video campaign level.

Prevent your ads from showing in certain cases

You can add campaign-level negatives to your campaign to do this, across multiple types of targeting options: Keywords, Placements, Topics, Interests & Remarketing, Categories. Category exclusions let you exclude video content by different age groups.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at http://adwords.google.com/video
  2. Click the Campaigns tab, then select the specific campaign where you'd like to add YouTube placements from the navigation menu.
  3. Click the Targets tab.
  4. Expand the Negative targets plusbox at the bottom of the page.
  5. Select an exclusion type at the campaign or targeting group level above the exclusions tables: Demographics, topics, interests, keywords, categories, placements and remarketing lists.
  6. You can exclude specific videos or channels from your overall targeting group with placement exclusions:
    • Videos: Use the URL format www.youtube.com/video/[VIDEO ID]. For example: www.youtube.com/video/12345abcdefgHIJwhere 12345abcdefgHIJ is the ID of the video. You can find the ID of the video by looking at the URL of the actual video while watching it on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12345abcdefgHIJ. (The video ID is the long alpha-numeric code within the Watch page URL after "v=".)
    • Channel pages: Enter the URL of the channel. For example: www.youtube.com/user/UserName. To exclude all the video content within a channel, you'll need to exclude each video individually.

Tips

You can learn best practices about targeting your video ads by watching these videos:

Copying campaigns, ads and targeting groups

Adding negative targets

Content label exclusions

Change ads associated with a targeting group

By default, all new ads are enabled to show for all existing targeting groups within a campaign. This means that a new ad will appear in each case where all the methods for a targeting group apply. You can change this when editing your ads and targeting groups after you first create a video campaign on either the Ads or Targets tab.

Note

Once you associate a specific ad with a specific targeting group, and the ad collects data, you can't remove the association. This is to ensure that your performance data is preserved and accessible to you in your account. You'll have the option to pause an association, or add new associations.

From the Ads tab

  1. Click Edit next to the ad, or +New Video Ad above the table.
  2. Click Edit under "Targeting > Enable ad for ..."
  3. Select the applicable targeting groups for your ad.
  4. Click Save.

Why would you want to do this? Let's say that you have Ad A and Ad B. If you enable both for this targeting group, both ads will be shown for all the eligible formats when they meet all targeting methods (for example: placement, demographic, keyword or topic targeting) for this targeting group. If you only want Ad B to appear when all methods are met for this targeting group, you would edit your settings to remove Ad A from the list of enabled ads for this targeting group.

After you've enabled your ad to appear for specific targeting groups, you can pause or enable the ad for the targeting group at any time from the Ads tab.

From the Targets tab

  1. Click Edit next to the targeting group, or +New targeting group above the table.
  2. Click Edit under "Enable targeting for ..."
  3. Select the applicable ads for your targeting groups.
  4. Click Save.

Why would you want to do this? Let's say that you have Targeting Group A and Targeting Group B. If your ad is enabled for both, all of the eligible formats for your ad will be shown when all methods are met for Targeting Group A, and when all methods are met for Targeting Group B. If you only want your ad to appear when all methods are met for Targeting Group B, you'd edit your settings to remove Targeting Group A from the list of enabled targeting groups for the ad.

Next steps