Target ads to audience lists

Using audience lists, you can target ads to users who have visited particular pages on your website or interacted with a mobile application (for example, installing an app on a mobile device). You can also build expressions that target specific subsets of users, combine lists, and exclude lists. For example, to target an ad to users who have abandoned their shopping carts on your website, you could target an ad to users who have been to the shopping cart page, but exclude users who have also been to the checkout confirmation page. You could also target users who looked at one product but not another.

There’s no limit on the size of expressions, or number of Floodlight activities you can include. If other advertisers have shared their audience lists with you, you can also include their lists in your targeting expressions.

Similar audiences may appear available in Campaign Manager (when linked with Display & Video 360), but they are not targetable. Traffic will not serve to similar audiences selected in Campaign Manager. 

Target an audience
  1. From the Campaigns tab, select a campaign and then the ad you want to target.

  2. Expand the Audience lists drop-down at the bottom of the ad page.

  3. Start creating your expression in the targeting box. You can use Boolean logic to build advanced expressions (see Types of targeting expressions below).

  4. Click Validate to make sure your syntax is correct. Errors appear highlighted in red, and you must fix them before you can save the list.

    The validation tool can catch syntax errors, but not logical errors in your expressions (for example, List A AND NOT List A).
  5. Click Save.

A new list must contain at least 150 members before an ad targeted to it can serve. Changes to targeting criteria for existing lists should take effect within a few minutes.

Types of targeting expressions

The simplest way to do audience targeting is just to target users on a single list, but you can also build complex expressions that target or exclude members of multiple lists. For complex audience targeting, you can create Boolean expressions consisting of the names of audience lists, plus the Boolean operators and, or, and not, and parentheses.

For example, you might target one ad to users who visited both your homepage and checkout page (List A AND List B), while targeting a different ad to users who visited your homepage but not your checkout page (List A AND NOT List B).

There are a number of different options available for building your targeting expressions.

  • Basic targeting: Target directly toward a single audience (List A). No Boolean operators are needed.

  • Negative targeting: Target users who are not members of a specific audience by using a Boolean NOT expression (NOT List A). For example, you may want to deliver an ad only to users who didn't make a purchase on a page.

    If you deactivate a list that is used in a negative targeting expression, you'll actually end up targeting all users with that expression, since the ad server treats deactivated lists as if they have zero members. In this case, all users are considered non-members of the list.
  • Inclusive targeting: Users are eligible for targeting if they are on any of the lists specified (List A OR List B OR List C).

  • Exclusive targeting: This can cover several scenarios:

    • Exclude users who weren't on either list:
      • NOT (List A OR LIST B)
    • Include members of one list, but exclude those who were members of another list:
      • (List A AND NOT List B)
    • Only exclude users if they are on both lists:
      • NOT (List A AND List B)
      • (List A AND NOT List B) OR (List B AND NOT List A)
  • Combined targeting: Users must be members of all lists specified in order to be eligible for targeting (List A AND List B AND List C). Users who meet only some of the targeting criteria are excluded (for example, your expression is List A AND List B, but a user is only a member of List A and is therefore excluded).

  • Custom user segments: Use custom Floodlight variables as membership criteria when building your audience, then target users who are members of these custom lists.

Tips and tricks

Here are some features and shortcuts to help you build your expressions.

  • Click X next to an item to delete it.

  • Replace an item by clicking on it to select it, then click the item with which you want to replace it. For example, you can replace one list with another, or replace AND in an expression with OR.

  • Click Undo to revert your most recent change.

  • You can use keyboard shortcuts. Move around the targeting pane using your arrow keys and remove items from an expression with the Delete or Backspace keys.

  • Enclose multiple items in parentheses by highlighting them and then clicking the parentheses button.

  • If you delete one half of a parenthesis, the other half will be deleted as well, so you won’t be left with an open parenthesis.

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