Keyword targeting

You can use contextual keyword targeting, also known as keyword contextual targeting (KCT), to check site content, app store descriptions, and video metadata to help target content that’s relevant to your brand, product, or service. This helps you match website, app, and video inventory with specific keywords so that you can focus on getting impressions that’s most relevant to your campaign goals.

There are two types of keyword targeting in Display & Video 360:

  1. You can positively target keywords to check for inventory you want to include in your campaign.
  2. You can negatively target keywords to check for inventory you want to exclude from your campaign. If you have a list of keywords you frequently use, you can save time by creating a negative keyword list.

Keyword targeting works on Google Ad Manager and third-party exchange inventory.

Important: Keyword targeting may not function effectively for all in-app content since some apps are categorized by the main function of the app, rather than the in-app content.

Topics in this article

How keyword targeting works in Display & Video 360

Display & Video 360 uses Google search technology to check webpage text, app store descriptions, or video metadata for keywords to help you target inventory that aligns with your campaign's goals for your brand, product, or service.

Display & Video 360 frequently crawls pages, app store descriptions, and video metadata to stay up-to-date with content changes to help consistently match inventory to your relevant keywords.

Positive keyword targeting

When you positively target keywords, your keywords are matched using phrase matching. Positively targeting keywords automatically expands to include the plural, canonical and synonym forms of your keywords to improve coverage and minimize the chance of missing inventory matches.

You’ll need to manually add misspelled variations of your keyword since this isn’t automatically added. This means that inventory is matched based on the overall theme and not on individual keywords.

  • Canonical keywords: These different keywords with the same semantic meaning. For example, canonicalized keywords for "travel London" could include "travel in London" and "London travel". You’d only need to positively target 1 keyword to target the other 3.
  • Phrase matching: You can use more than one word as a keyword. Your ad would serve where there’s an exact match for the phrase or includes any of the words in your keyword phrases.

Example: Positive keyword targeting

Example

If you’re building a campaign for a shoe company launching a new line of waterproof shoes, you could target the keyword “tennis shoe”. In this example, your ads would serve on website, app, and video inventory that mention:

  • “tennis shoe”
  • “tennis”
  • “shoe”

This automatically expands to include:

  • Plural form: “tennis shoes”
  • Canonical form: “shoes tennis”
  • Synonyms: “buy tennis shoes”, “shoes for tennis”

If you wanted to cover the top 3 common misspelled variations for “tennis shoes” you would manually add: “tennnis”, “shooes”, “shues”

Negative keyword targeting

When you negatively target keywords, your keywords are matched using exact matching and you have to manually add plural, canonicalized, synonym, and misspelled forms of your keywords.

This means that negative keywords only prevent ads from serving when the central topic of the webpage, app, or video exactly matches the negative keyword.

Additionally, if Display & Video 360 can’t determine the context of a website, app, or video inventory, it’ll automatically exclude it from serving a line item:

  • Exact matching: Inventory is checked for an exact match for your keyword and would only be excluded from serving your ad once there’s an exact match.

Example: Negative keyword targeting

Example

If you wanted to exclude the keyword “sex”, your ad could still run on inventory that contains the word “sex” if the focus of their content is “sex education”.

You would need to manually add “sex education” to your negative keyword list if you want to check for that variation.

You would also need to specifically add the plural, canonical, synonym, and misspelled form of your keyword or your ad would still run on inventory that may contain those variations of your keyword.

Negative keyword targeting isn’t intended to be the sole form of brand safety targeting. To learn more, see Brand safety targeting.

Creating effective keywords

You can use the following table that summarizes considerations when creating effective keywords for positive and negative keyword targeting in Display & Video 360:

Consideration

Positive keyword targeting

Negative keyword targeting

Pluralization

YesPlural versions of your keywords are automatically targeted. For example, targeting “ski hat” as a keyword automatically targets “ski hats”

NoDoesn’t automatically expand your excluded terms by adding plural forms.

Canonicalization

YesCanonicalized versions of your keywords are automatically targeted. For example, targeting “ski hat” automatically targets “hat ski”.

NoDoesn’t automatically expand your excluded terms by adding canonicalized terms.

Synonyms

YesSynonyms related to your keywords are automatically targeted.For example, targeting “ice cream” would automatically target “sorbet”

NoDoesn’t automatically expand your excluded terms by adding plural forms

Misspellings

NoDoesn’t automatically expand your keywords to include misspellings.

NoDoesn’t automatically expand your negative keywords to include misspellings.

Special symbols

YesYouTube line items allow the following special symbols: " [] +

NoThe following symbols are aren’t accepted: , . ! @ % ^ () = {} ; ~ ` <> ? \ | “ [] {} +

NoThe following symbols aren’t accepted: , . ! @ % ^ () = {} ; ~ ` <> ? \ | “ [] {} +

Adding keywords

Increases and focuses your reach because more inventory can match your keywords and serve your ads.

Reduces the number of inventory that can serve your ads when it matches your excluded keywords.

The impact on reach varies based on how broad or narrow your other targeting controls are.

Limiting the number of keywords

A narrow keyword inclusion list limits the number of inventory that can serve your ads and may limit your reach.

Increases the number of inventory that can serve your ads when it matches your excluded keywords.

The impact on reach varies based on how broad or narrow your other targeting controls are.

Use keyword targeting

You can use a single term or a phrase as a single keyword entry for keyword targeting at the campaign, insertion order, or line item level:

  • Campaign level: Keyword targeting at the campaign level applies a blanket keyword list to all insertion orders within the campaign.
  • Insertion order level: Keyword targeting at the insertion order level applies the keyword list to all line items in that insertion order. Setting up keyword targeting at the insertion level overwrites keywords at the campaign level.
  • Line item level: Keyword targeting at the line item level only applies to the individual line item.

To use keyword targeting for an existing campaign:

  1. From the advertiser level, go to Campaign settings.
  2. Under Additional details, enter up to 5 keywords.

To use keyword targeting for an existing insertion order:

  1. From the advertiser level, go to Campaigns.
  2. Select a campaign.
  3. Select an insertion order.
  4. Choose Insertion order details.
  5. Under Targeting, choose Add targeting and then Keywords.
  6. Choose Include.
  7. You can either:
    1. Enter one individual keywords to exclude per line separated by commas or
    2. Choose Generate suggestions to get a list of related suggestions based on your existing keywords or landing page URL
  8. Choose Apply.
  9. Choose Save when done.

To use keyword targeting for an existing line item:

  1. From the advertiser level, go to Campaigns.
  2. Select a campaign.
  3. Select an insertion order.
  4. Select a line item.
  5. Under Targeting, choose Add targeting and then Keywords.
  6. Choose Include.
  7. You can either:
    1. Enter one individual keywords to exclude per line separated by commas or
    2. Choose Generate suggestions to get a list of related suggestions based on your existing keywords or landing page URL
  8. Choose Apply.
  9. Choose Save when done.

Create a negative keyword list

Creating a negative keyword list helps you group terms and save time so you won’t have to manually add the same negative keywords to your campaigns. Advertisers can create up to 20 negative keyword lists.

Important: YouTube & partners support the use of negative keyword lists at the line item
level, but not at the ad group level. Alternatively, you can exclude 5,000 individual words for YouTube ad groups.

To create a negative keyword list:

  1. From the advertiser level, go to Resources and then Channels & Keywords.
  2. Choose Negative keyword lists.
  3. Select New list.
  4. Enter the following:
    1. Name: Enter a descriptive name to help you identify the negative keyword list for targeting.
      • The field doesn’t accept the following symbols: , . ! @ % ^ () = {} ; ~ ` <> ? \ | “ [] {} +
    2. Keywords: Enter one keyword per line and separate keywords with a comma.
      • Your keyword list can contain a maximum of 5000 keywords.
  5. Choose Save when done.

Target negative keywords or keyword list

Negative keyword lists help you avoid irrelevant impressions and helps focus inventory with content relevant to your campaign. You can create a negative keyword list to group keywords you want to use to prevent your ads from serving on sites that are irrelevant to your campaign goals.

You can target negative keywords and negative keyword lists from the insertion order level or line item level. Each line item can target a maximum of 4 negative keyword lists.

To target negative keywords or keyword lists at the insertion order level:

  1. From the advertiser level, go to Campaigns.
  2. Select a campaign.
  3. Select an insertion order.
  4. Choose Insertion order details.
  5. Under Targeting, choose Add targeting > Keywords.
  6. Select Exclude.
  7. You can either:
    1. Enter one individual keywords to exclude per line separated by commas or
    2. Select a negative keyword list from the list.
  8. Choose Apply.
  9. Choose Save when done.

To target negative keywords or keyword lists at the line item level:

  1. From the advertiser level, go to Campaigns.
  2. Select a campaign.
  3. Select an insertion order.
  4. Select a line item.
  5. Under Targeting, choose Add targeting and then Keywords.
  6. Select Exclude.
  7. You can either:
    1. Enter one individual keywords to exclude per line separated by commas or
    2. Select a negative keyword list from the list.
  8. Choose Apply.
  9. Choose Save when done.

Limitations

  • Keyword targeting works on checking webpage content, app store description, and video metadata, but doesn’t work for in-app content.
  • Latency:
    • Line item latency: If you add additional keywords to an active line item, it may take one or more days before Display & Video 360 will be able to change your line item's bidding accordingly.
    • Keyword latency: If you target keywords for a new subject matter, such as keywords related to recent news, it may take Display & Video 360 one or more days before the keyword is targetable.
  • Advertisers can create up to 20 negative keyword lists.
  • Line items can target a combined maximum of 25,000 negative keywords:
    • Up to 5,000 individual excluded keywords
    • Up to 4 negative keyword lists (with a maximum 5,000 keywords per list)

Ad groups can target a maximum of individual excluded keywords

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