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About targeting criteria

DFP Trafficking: Targeting Settings (part 1) (3:14)

DFP Trafficking: Targeting Settings (part 2) (4:02)

Check out training videos about Trafficking from Publisher University.

Note: Some Publisher University content might not be applicable to DFP Small Business.

Targeting criteria are requirements that you specify at the line item level to help your advertisers target ads to inventory units, specific audiences, and key-values. 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. To apply targeting to a specific creative, you must create a separate line item with its own targeting rules. Learn how to add targeting criteria to a line item.

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 targeting. Mask this information using the encoding method 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. 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:

Also, you can create specific combinations of these targeting criteria to ensure that your line item targeting is extremely granular. Learn how DFP processes targeting configurations with multiple values and multiple criteria


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, meaning they're targeted to all inventory in your network. Run-of-network targeting is useful for serving house ads and dynamic allocation line items.

Target more precisely by including and excluding specific inventory.

Include inventory

To include inventory:

  1. When creating a line item, click Inventory in the "Add targeting" section.

  2. Browse or type to filter items, then click Include next to each ad unit or placement you want to include. The line item can be delivered to the inventory units you select.

If your network is enabled for ad unit hierarchy, you can target line items only to landing pages but not their subsections; or conversely, you can target a line item only to subsections but not their landing pages. Learn more

You can include inventory even if it hasn't been included as part of a placement.

  1. Click Back in the targeting section.

  2. Click Include next to Ad units.

Exclude inventory

Whether your line item is targeted to run-of-network or to specific inventory you've included, you can exclude inventory. Excluding inventory is especially useful for targeting a placement but excluding some of its ad units. The line item can't deliver to the inventory units you exclude.

You can exclude inventory even if it hasn't been included as part of a placement.

  1. When creating a line item, click Inventory in the "Add targeting" section.

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


You can use this targeting option with system-defined criteria such as bandwidth, geography, or operating system. Configure key-values in DFP and then include them 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).

Learn about system limits for keys and values

You can use custom and free-form targeting keys in the same line item, but an individual targeting key can only be set to either custom or free-form.

You can run a forecast on a prospective line item that includes key-values, Learn more about forecasting key-values

Examples of key-values

Target line items to demographic groups

You can define key-values 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 key gender.

Target line items to very specific areas of your site

You can use key-values to target ads to specific pages on your site. You could create an ID for each page or article, then define a key-value using that ID. Add that key-value to the ad tags of that same 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 key-values to target ads to specific ad slot positions. For example, if you sell your ad slots above the fold at a premium, you can create a key to define the ad slot position as top of the page (position=top) and target certain line items to that key-value so they don't show below the fold.

Learn more about key-values and how to define key-values.


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=France AND city=Paris. You can also exclude places. For example, you can target country=France AND city!=Paris to target France but exclude Paris.


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

  • Browser: (Does not apply to mobile apps) 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. 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: (Does not apply to mobile apps) Chinese, English, Italian, German, etc.

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

  • Device capability: MRAID v2, Phone calls, and Mobile Apps

    Mobile Apps targets in-app requests only. In-app web view requests cannot be targeted specifically; DFP treats them as normal mobile web requests.

  • Device category: Desktop, Feature phone, Smartphone, Tablet, Connected TV (CTV) devices (Beta).

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

  • Operating system: Android, Apple iOS, Linux, Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, etc.

Formerly classified as desktop inventory, connected TV devices are now a separate device category which can be targeted or excluded. They are also now broken as a separate "Device category" in Query Tool reports. Devices must use an applicable user agent to be classified as a connected TV device.


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, you are targeting students, faculty, and staff of Stanford University only. If you target, you are targeting Google employees only. You can specify top-level domains, such as .edu, and .gov, and subdomains, such as, and Invalid values include services like, and

Mobile application

Select mobile applications you've claimed from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Learn how to claim apps for targeting


Some advanced 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. Learn more about video content targeting


  • 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."

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

How does DFP handle multiple targeting conditions?

One of DFP’s key capabilities is creating combinations of targeting criteria to target line items to a specific set of ad requests. Here's how DFP processes targeting criteria:

  • If you specify multiple values for a single criterion (such as browser or device category), DFP processes these criteria using a Boolean "OR" function. For example, if you select "Firefox 10.x" and "Firefox 11.x" as the browser criteria, DFP targets site visitors using Firefox 10 OR Firefox 11.
  • If you specify multiple criteria in the targeting settings, DFP processes these criteria in an "AND" function. For example, a line item might include two targeting criteria: browser type and a custom-defined "gender" criterion. If the browser type is set to "Firefox 11.x" and the gender is set as "male"', a site visitor would need to be male AND use Firefox 11 to meet the defined targeting criteria. 
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