YouTube campaigns

Create YouTube target frequency line items

Target frequency is an optimization solution for driving higher ad viewership on YouTube in your brand awareness campaign. Choose the Target frequency ad format while building a YouTube reach line item. Input your weekly desired frequency and Display & Video 360 will optimize to meet it. Target frequency line items support bumper ads, skippable ads, and non-skippable ads.

Target frequency line items may be a good choice for you if:

  • You are looking to drive a higher weekly frequency.
  • You want to maximize awareness during high seasonality.
  • Have previously used YouTube ad sequence campaigns or remarketing to build frequency. Ad sequences are optimized for sequential ad serving, while frequency building doesn’t require ads to be served in a specific order.

Create a target frequency line item

Creating a YouTube target frequency line item has a few different steps from a regular YouTube & partners line item.

Set up your line item

  1. Start in an existing insertion order or create a new one.
  2. In your insertion order, click New line item.
  3. Pick YouTube & partners video.
  4. Enter the following information for your line item:
    • Name for your line item.
    • Select Brand awareness and reach as the objective.
    • Select Target frequency as the line item subtype.
  5. Click Next.

Configure your line item's settings

  1. In the Targeting section, you'll see that the inventory source is set automatically. You can click Add targeting to set other line-item level targeting options. Additional types of targeting are available in the line item's ad groups.
    Note: Target frequency campaigns prioritize frequency as the most important thing for your YouTube line item. If you’re using audiences, topics, and dynamic lineups (excluding demographic and geographic targeting), users will match the targeting criteria for your first frequency. After users have been served the first frequency, they are then eligible for the remaining impressions until the target is reached, even if their audience profile changes over the course of the week or they are served impressions outside the specified topics and/or dynamic lineups. This ensures in efficiently maximizing reach while averaging as close to the target frequency as possible.
  2. Configure your line item's settings:
    • Set a weekly Target frequency to set how often you want your ads to run. A weekly target frequency is the average number of times you want ads from this line item to show to the same person over 7 days. 

      We recommend frequency goals between 2 and 4.

      To achieve a weekly target frequency, a subset of users may see the ad more times in a week than the target, which will help offset users who see it less than the target in a week. Target frequency line items autocap to prevent overexposure and build a tight distribution around the target.

    • Pick custom flight dates or use the same dates as the line item's insertion order.
      Frequency should be used for 1 week at a time. Line items that run less than 7 days have a lower chance of reaching the frequency target
    • Budget and pacing: Set your budget and how quickly it will be spent. After you save the line item, you can't change between daily and flight, but you can update the budget amount. 
    • Bid strategy: Target frequency line items use Target CPM as the bid strategy. 
    • (Optional) Enter a mobile, desktop, tablet, or connected TV​ bid adjustment if you want to bid a different amount for views on each device type or control which devices your line item can serve on.
    • Frequency cap settings are not available in target frequency line items. 
  3. (Optional) Add a product feed to your line item to show browsable product imagery below your video ads. The product feed option is visible during line item creation if you have linked a Google Merchant Center account to your advertiser. Learn more about product feeds
  4. (Optional) Add related videos to your line item. This adds a list of related videos below a YouTube ad.

Create your ad group and ads

Target frequency line items are limited to 1 ad group. To change an ad group after creation you must delete the existing ad group first. 
  1. Select Create new ad group to set up an ad group for your line item:
    1. Enter a name for your ad group. 
    2. Select an ad format. Choose Non-skippable ads for in-stream ads up to 15-seconds or Efficient reach to combine bumper ads and skippable in-stream ads and reach more unique users. 
    3. Click Add targeting to configure ad-group level targeting. Learn more about targeting options for YouTube & partners line items.

      To prevent narrowing eligible inventory, positive targeting of videos, channels, websites, apps, app categories, keywords, or categories is not available for target frequency line items. 

    4. Set your target CPM bid, which is the average amount you want to pay every thousand times your ad is shown.
    5. Click Create new ad to pick a YouTube video to use as a creative and set the landing page: 
      • Enter a name for your ad.
      • Search for a YouTube video or paste a YouTube URL. For ad groups using Efficient Reach as the ad format, ad format is automatically determined based on the length of your video creative. 
      • Enter the display URL and landing page URL for your ad.
      • (Optional for Campaign Manager 360 users) Use the Campaign Manager 360 tracking ad field to select an existing tracking ad you'd like to use to see enhanced metrics in Campaign Manager 360 .
      • (Optional) Use the Click-tracker URL field to set up third-party click tracking. The click tracker must redirect to the same URL as your landing page URL.
      • Select either an image that's automatically generated from the videos in your YouTube channel (recommended) or an image that you manually upload as your companion banner.
      • (Optional) Add a call-to-action (CTA) overlay.
        • Enter the text for your CTA, which can contain up to 10 characters including spaces. The CTA should be a compelling action that directs users to the website specified in your landing page URL.
        • Enter the text for your headline, which can contain up to 15 characters including spaces. The headline should promote your product or service.
      • Click Done to create the ad.
    6. If you'd like to use multiple ads, click Create new ad again and repeat the steps above. If you use multiple ads, Display & Video 360 will optimize ad rotation based on views.

      Use multiple unique creatives in the same line item. Try to add at least as many creatives as your Target frequency, if not more, to avoid creative fatigue. This helps ensure delivery of the right ad to the right user, while maintaining creative freshness. Measure average frequency across all videos at the line item level.

      Avoid using creatives that are running elsewhere in the account. If you’re using the same creative from your Target frequency line item in other line items, you may see reporting that shows lower average frequency, as reporting doesn’t include impressions from other line items.

    7. Click Done to create the ad group.
  2. Click Create line item to save your new line item. 

Best practices

  • Avoid using content exclusions (inventory types, digital content labels) and ad scheduling
  • Limit negative targeting. Excessive brand-safety exclusions due to topics, keywords, or placements could be harmful.
  • Limit changes: Frequency is built over time and making significant changes to your line item configuration during its flight can negatively impact the performance. For example:
    • Removing audience segments as these users can’t be reached any more.
    • Adding new audience segments less than one week before the flight will result in the system not having enough time to get them to the targeted frequency.
    • Large increases in budget at flight end may mean the ads need to reach new users, but there is not enough time to reach frequency on them.
    • Large decrease in budget at flight end may mean there isn’t required budget to get already-reached users to desired frequency.
    • Pausing mid-flight and resuming later: Challenges to keep growing Frequency with the same audience.

Reporting for target frequency line items 

Target frequency line items use the same reporting as regular YouTube & partners line items. You can also see basic details on the performance of your target frequency line item from the YouTube ad groups tab of your line item.

Average Impression Frequency per User (7 days) is the most accurate metric to measure a target frequency line item’s performance. Avg. impr. freq. / user (7 days) is the average number of times a unique user was shown an ad from your line item. For each day in your selected date range, this metric takes into account the past 7 days and shows the average frequency for those days. 

This demonstrates your weekly average frequency performance changes over time by creating a conversion window of 7 days for each date. Use this metric to better understand how frequently a person was shown your ad within a 7-day period.


  • To prevent narrowing eligible inventory, positive targeting of videos, channels, websites, apps, app categories, keywords, or categories is not available for target frequency line items. 
  • Target frequency line items work with campaign-level, insertion order-level, and cross-channel frequency caps. Target frequency line items will deliver on their frequency goal while incrementing and respecting frequency caps set by the parent insertion order or campaign. If the target frequency is set higher than a campaign- or insertion order-level frequency cap, the higher level frequency cap will be respected.

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