Targeting criteria

Targeting criteria is information that you specify at the line item level to help your advertisers target ads to inventory units, specific audiences, and custom criteria. You can use a combination of these criteria to target line items at a level more granular than ad units and placements by either applying the criteria manually or by using targeting presets.

You can specify the following criteria:

 

Inventory

You can target line items to either specific inventory (ad units and placements) or to all inventory units across your network.

Target to specific inventory units

In the line item’s "Add targeting" section, click Inventory to select specific ad units and placements to which to target the line item. The line item will deliver to the inventory units you select as well as to any ad units in the levels below.

Exclude ad units within targeted placements

Once you've targeted a placement, you can also exclude any specific ad unit contained in the placement. To do so, in the Inventory section, search for the name of the ad unit that you want to exclude, then click Exclude. (If you've just searched for placements, you may need to click Back first.)

Target to special ad units

Special ad units, which are marked with an asterisk (*), require that you explicitly target them. Any line items that aren’t explicitly targeting the ad unit won't deliver to that ad unit or any ad units beneath it. However, if you exclude a top-level ad unit that has special ad units beneath it, everything within that top-level ad unit will still be excluded, even special ad units. If a line item is targeting a placement that contains a special ad unit but is not explicitly targeting the special ad unit, the line item will not deliver to the special ad unit or any ad units beneath it.

Target only to landing pages or only to subsections

You can target line items only to landing pages but not their subsections. Conversely, you can target a line item only to subsections but not their landing pages. If you've upgraded from DART for Publishers, this functionality is comparable to targeting default zones.

Learn more about targeting only to landing pages or only to subsections.

Target to all inventory units

If you don’t select any targeting criteria for the line item at all, then the line item could deliver to all ad units in your network to which it’s eligible to serve (based on the size and other targeting options you select).

Special ad units must be explicitly targeted; that is, run-of-network line items won't deliver to them.

Video content (Advanced video)

Video features might not be enabled for your network. To learn more, contact your account manager.

Content owners can target ads to specific video content, allowing them to monetize video content more broadly.

Examples:

  • Target ads for running shoes to specific sports videos.
  • Target ads for hotels to specific travel videos, only when those videos appear on a particular website.
  • Target ads for kitchen appliances to all videos with the category "cooking."

Learn more about video content targeting.

Video positions (Advanced video)

Video features might not be enabled for your network. To learn more, contact your account manager.

Content owners can target ads to specific video positions (pre-rolls, mid-rolls, post-rolls, or bumpers). If you don't target a line item to video positions, the ad server considers that line item eligible to serve in any video positions that your ad rules specify.

Learn more about video position targeting.

Custom criteria

Targeting option that you can use together with system-defined criteria such as bandwidth, geography, or operating system. To use custom targeting, you set up key-values in the DFP UI and then include those key-values in your ad tags. If a line item targets a key-value, the ad server will serve it to the ad tags on your website that include the key-value (assuming all other targeting criteria in the line item matches the ad tag).

By default, networks are limited to 20 keys for custom targeting criteria and 200 values for each key. The actual limits for your network may be higher. If you need to increase this limit, contact customer support.

You can use custom and free-form targeting keys in the same line item. However, an individual target key may only be set to custom or free-form targeting, not both.

When running a forecast on a prospective line item, free-form values are taken into account immediately; defined values need to have been added 28 days prior to a forecast in order be fully accounted for in the projection. Learn more about forecasting custom criteria.

You can use different match types to more broadly target line items to search terms and other dynamic criteria. Below, we'll walk through the different match types you can use:

Include match

The line item is eligible when at least one of the words in a value in the ad tag matches line item’s targeted value. You can enable include match by using a tilde (~) in the line item’s targeting value. The tilde (~) must always be placed at the beginning of the targeting value.

Example: If you target your line item to search=~honda, that line item would be eligible any time a user's search includes the word honda. This line item would deliver to users who search for the terms honda civic, i want a honda, how much is a honda?, and honda safety. The line item would not deliver to users who search for civic or bmw.

'Begins with' match

The line item is eligible when the first few characters in a value in the ad tag exactly match all of the characters preceding the asterisk in the line item’s targeted value. 'Begins with' match is enabled when the line item’s targeting value ends with an asterisk (*). The asterisk must be placed at the end of the targeting value.

Example: If you target your line item to search=honda*, your line item will be eligible any time a user's search has honda as the first word in their search term, but they can have additional words after honda. This line item would deliver to users who search for the terms honda civic and honda safety. The line item would not deliver to users who search for i want a honda or how much is a honda?.

Include and 'begins with' match combination

You can use include and 'begins with' match together. The line item is eligible when a value in the ad tag contains at least one word that matches the line item’s targeted value that begins with a tilde (~) and at least one word that contains the characters in the value that precedes an asterisk (*). The valid formats of an include and 'begins with' match is: key=~value* and key=~value or values*.

Example: If you target your line item to search=~honda civic*, that line item can show any time a user includes honda in their search along with a word that begins with the characters, civic. This line item would deliver to users who search for buying honda civic and price civics honda. The line item would NOT deliver to a user who searches for honda odyssey or civic.

Can these match types be applied to key-values that aren't search terms?

Yes, in addition to using these match types for search terms and key-values that are dynamically passed to the ad tag (like demographic information about a user), you can use them in key-values that are hard-coded in the ad tag (like information about the content of the page).

For example, let's say you have a car website and you've made key-values for the make and model of cars that you feature on the site. You may have a key-value for car=hondacivic that is hard-coded in the ad tags on the pages of your site that discuss the Honda Civic. You may also have key-values for car=hondaaccord and car=hondainsight. If you want to target all the pages of your site that discuss Hondas, you could target a line item to car=~honda and that line item would show to any key-value that has a value that includes the word honda.

The above example is of include match, but you can use 'begins with' match and include match to target key-values that aren't search terms as well.

What if I want to target all the values of a key?

To target all the values of a key, you can use Any match. Any match is enabled when the line item’s targeting value only includes the asterisk (*). The line item is delivered to any ad tag that matches the key, regardless of what targeting value is passed to the ad tag.

Example: If you target your line item to car=*, that line item can deliver to any tag on your website that has a key-value with car as the key. It can deliver to tags with car=honda, car=bmw, or car=ford. It can’t deliver to sport=baseball or content=car.

Examples of custom targeting

Target line items to demographic groups

You can define custom criteria based on common characteristics of your site visitors that you collect through your website. DoubleClick for Publishers can't determine these criteria, but if, for example, you have user registration data from your site, you can specify demographic information such as gender, age and user interests. You could create a custom key, gender, with the values male and female. Then you could target specific user types like Men in the San Diego metropolitan area who use Mac OS X using a combination of DFP criteria and your custom criterion gender.

Target line items to very specific areas of your site

Another way you might use custom targeting is to target ads to specific pages on your site. You could create an ID for each page or article and then create key-values like articleID=123. Add that key-value to the ad tags of that page and then target your line item to that key-value to ensure your line item only shows up on that page. Most publishers pass such key-values to their ad tags dynamically through their content management system (CMS).

You can also use custom targeting to target ads to specific ad slot positions. Maybe you sell your ad slots above the fold at a premium. You can create a key to define the ad slot position as top (e.g., position=top) and target certain line items to that key-value so they won't show below the fold.

Learn more about custom targeting criteria and defining custom criteria.

 

Geography

You can target line items to countries, regions, US metro areas (DMA), UK TV regions, cities, and US ZIP codes or Canadian postal code prefixes. Either search for a specific place or browse through the list of countries and drill down to the places you want to target. For example, you can target country=US AND city=Paris. You can also exclude places. For example, you can target country=France AND city!=Paris to target France but exclude Paris.

 

Devices

You can target line items to a user’s device type or the browser it’s running:

  • Browser: Android, Chrome, Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, etc.

  • Browser language: Chinese, English, Italian, German, etc.

    If a browser has more than one language assigned to it, each language will generate an impression. In reports, you will see a higher number of impressions attributed to "browser language" than what's shown for total impressions for the line item.
  • Operating system: Android, Apple iOS, Linux, Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, etc.

Connection

You can target line items to a user’s bandwidth, carrier, or user domain:

  • Bandwidth: Dable, DSL, etc.

  • Mobile carrier: AT&T, 02, etc.

  • User domains: You can set line items to target ads only to the domains or subdomains of the Internet service providers (ISPs) your users use to access the Internet. For example, if you target stanford.edu, you are targeting students, faculty, and staff of Stanford University only. If you target google.com, you are targeting Google employees only. You can specify top-level domains, such as .edu, and .gov, and subdomains, such as stanford.edu, and usa.gov. Invalid values include services like http://www.psychology.berkeley.edu, and www.usa.gov.

Target line items to all browser versions or versions not in the list

To target the line item to all versions of a particular browser, select browser name (x.x). To target the line item to versions of a browser that aren't in the list, select browser name Unknown.Unknown. For example, 4.x targets all releases of the browser between version 4 and up to, but not including version 5. That is, 4.1, 4.2 and so on.

Learn how to add targeting criteria to a line item.

Important targeting information

  • You can gather targeting values by asking users to register on your site or pulling information from your content management system about the page. Whether you store these values in cookies or a database doesn't affect DoubleClick for Publishers, as long as your content system can create the necessary JavaScript on the page.

  • DoubleClick for Publishers doesn't read your site's cookies or have connections to your web systems. Therefore, JavaScript tagging is the only way to pass information to DoubleClick for Publishers.

  • Targeting is done at the line item level only. If you need to apply targeting to a specific creative, a separate line item with its own targeting rules must be created.

Targeting limitations

  • You may not pass any user-identifiable data (including names, addresses, or user IDs) in the targeting. Please mask this information using the encoding of your choice, and ensure your ad trafficker knows how to decode the values when setting up a line item.

  • You must pass information to DoubleClick for Publishers on every page, because the information isn't stored with the user.

  • DoubleClick for Publishers doesn't share information with other publishers, so there is no built-in pool of demographic data to target.

  • You may only generate reports based on targeting criteria that you've already associated with a line item.