Targeting expansion

Starting early May 2023, targeting expansion will be available as optimized targeting. 

Targeting expansion uses Google intelligence to help you reach individuals who share interest profiles with your existing customers. By expanding your targeting, you can reach more potential customers (even in cookieless environments) who are likely to engage, click, or convert with your ads.

Advertisers can use targeting expansion to reach users with similar return on investment (ROI) based on contextual signals, allowing it to work even when the third-party cookie is missing entirely (e.g. on Safari ITP 2.0 traffic) or when it can’t be used for ad personalization (i.e. user did not provide consent).

Expand your targeting

Targeting expansion is automatically enabled when targeting eligible audiences. For first-party audiences, the targeting expansion slider will be set to No expansion by default. For Google audiences and custom lists, it will be set to the first segment (Least expansion) by default.
If you make any changes to line item settings (besides name, status, flight settings, or creative settings) within the Display & Video 360 user interface, targeting expansion will automatically be enabled and set to Least expansion if any eligible audiences are targeted. Any changes you make to line item settings outside of the user interface (e.g. SDF, API, duplicating line items, etc.) will not trigger targeting expansion to be enabled. If you manually turned off targeting expansion at any point during the line item’s flight, any changes you make to the line item settings (within the Display & Video 360 user interface) will also not trigger targeting expansion to be enabled.

Bulk editing line items

In addition to setting targeting expansion settings on individual line items, you can also adjust targeting expansion settings across multiple line items using bulk edit. Learn more

When editing multiple line items with different targeting expansion settings in bulk edit, Display & Video 360 automatically enables targeting expansion across all line items (if all line items meet the criteria mentioned above). Once enabled, you can still manually adjust the targeting expansion slider.

  1. Navigate to a line item details page.
  2. From the Targeting section, select Add Targeting > Audience Lists.
  3. Add a First-party, Google audience, Custom lists, and/or a combined audience that contains a first-party or Google audience.
  4. Click Apply.
  5. From the Targeting expansion section, use the slider to control how your targeting will be expanded. There are a total of 5 segments you can adjust the slider to (set to the first segment by default for Google audiences).  Adjust the desired level of reach for your audience starting with no expansion on the left, increasing to conservative and aggressive expansion on the right.
    • No expansion
    • Least expansion
    • Some expansion
    • Balanced expansion
    • More expansion
    • Most expansion
  6. (Optional) Exclude first-party lists. Select this to exclude first-party lists to reach new people with similar interests to your existing audience.
  7. Click Save when you are done.


  • Targeting expansion is currently only available for created audio, display, or video line items that are targeting first-party lists.
  • Targeting expansion is currently not supported on the following Google audience types: Installed Apps, New Mobile Devices.
  • Forecasting for targeting expansion may not be available for all audience types.
  • Targeting expansion can be enabled or disabled through SDF, however adjusting the expansion levels is currently not supported.

Frequently asked questions

How is targeting expansion different from similar audiences?

Targeting expansion is the overarching feature that expands your audiences. Within targeting expansion, you can expand on both first-party and Google audiences using the same slider.

The similar audience mechanism only applies to first-party audiences. Therefore only first-party audiences can have similar audiences.

Similar audiences are now part of the overarching targeting expansion feature. You can use targeting expansion to expand both first-party and Google audiences.

Why am I not seeing forecasted inventory grow even though I'm moving the slider to the right?

The number of forecasted inventory may not grow because the maximum potential expansion level has already been reached.
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