About targeting criteria

Targeting criteria are requirements 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, either applying the criteria manually or by using targeting presets.

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. Learn how to add targeting criteria to a line item.

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

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.

DFP 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 DFP from webpages.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 can target the following categories of criteria.

 

Inventory

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

Run-of-network targeting

By default, line items are run of network, which means they're targeted to all of the inventory in your network (except special ad units, which require explicit targeting). Run-of-network targeting is especially useful for serving house ads and dynamic allocation line items.

You can target more precisely by including and excluding specific inventory.

Include inventory

To include inventory:

  1. In the Add targeting section, click Inventory.

  2. Browse or type to filter items, then click Include next to the ad unit or placement you want to include. The line item can be delivered to the inventory units you select, as well as to any ad units in the levels below. (If you have added a special ad unit to one or more placements, line items targeted to that placement aren't delivered to the special ad unit unless they are explicitly targeted. Additionally, any child ad units of the special ad unit need to be explicitly targeted as well, even if the child ad units aren't special ad units.)

As soon as you include inventory, the line item is no longer run of network. To reset to run of network:

  1. Click Back in the targeting section.

  2. Click Include next to Ad units.

To include special ad units with a run-of-network line item, first include the special ad units, then go back and include all ad units to make the line item run of network.

Exclude inventory

Whether your line item is targeted to run of network or targeted to specific inventory that you've included, you can exclude inventory. Excluding inventory is especially useful when you want to target a placement but exclude some of its ad units, or when you want to target a parent ad unit but exclude some of its children. The line item can't be delivered to the inventory units you exclude or any of the ad units in the levels below.

You can exclude inventory even if it hasn't been included as part of a placement or a higher-level ad unit.

To exclude inventory:

  1. In the Add targeting section, click Inventory.

  2. Browse or type to filter items, then click the arrow and select Exclude next to the ad unit or placement you want to exclude.

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.

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

 

Video targeting

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

Video content (Advanced video)

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)

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 serves 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 that includes custom targeting, the numbers are complete 28 days after adding the key-values to ad tags on your website. After those 28 days, no other setup is required to use the key-values in a line item that you’re forecasting. Learn more about forecasting custom criteria.

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 don'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, Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, etc.

    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.

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

    If a browser has more than one language assigned to it, each language generates an impression. In reports, a higher number of impressions are attributed to "browser language" than what's shown for total impressions for the line item.

  • Device capability: MRAID v1, Phone calls.

  • Device category: Desktop, Feature Phone, Smartphone, Tablet.

  • Manufacturer/device: Apple, BlackBerry, Ericsson, HTC, Xiaomi, and many others.

  • 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: Cable, 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.

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