About targeting in Display & Video 360

Display & Video 360 bids on impressions that match a line item's targeting settings. Use targeting to focus your line items on buying impressions that are useful for your advertiser, not on impressions that aren't.

Targeting concepts

In general, targeting works by both positively targeting things you want and excluding things you don't.

Positive targeting

When you target a specific type of audience, content, or technology, all other audiences, content, or technologies of the same type are automatically excluded. (Only target what you want, and Display & Video 360 will automatically exclude everything else.)

For example, imagine that you have a line item that advertises a promotion running at a hotel in Paris. For this line item, if you target France (i.e. country-level geography targeting), this line item would only be delivered to users in France, and not to users anywhere else in the world.

Exclusion (also known as "negative targeting")

In addition to using targeting to explicitly indicate groups of users to deliver to, you can also use audiences, content, and technology targeting to deliberately exclude specific groups of users.

Using the same example as above, you could set your line item to exclude Paris (city-level geography targeting), since a hotel offer is mostly useful to people who live outside of the city. When you exclude Paris, the line item won't be delivered to users located there.

Types of targeting available in Display & Video 360

Each line item type in Display & Video 360 offers targeting options unique to the inventory, format, and types of ad slots offered in the item. All targeting options are organized into the following categories:

Inventory source

To purchase or exclude impressions from specific exchanges or deals, you have to set an inventory source for your line item. Learn more


Specify the audience characteristics for your line item through options such as demographics, geography, and audience list targeting (first- and third-party lists, interest-based affinity and in-market audiences, etc.). Learn more

Targeting expansion

Use Google intelligence to help you reach individuals who share interest profiles with your existing customers. Learn more


Use content targeting options to make sure you bid on impressions that meet the goals of your brand and campaign. Common options include brand safety, keywords, categories, viewability, and language. Learn more


Choose the types of technology that work for your campaign, including devices, browsers, and carriers. Learn more

Note: Targeting based on specific IP addresses is not available in Display & Video 360.

Targeting and line item performance

Line item targeting settings have a huge impact on performance and spend. Here are some targeting best practices to help you meet your campaign’s goals:

Always set targeting

If a line item doesn't have any targeting set, it will try to purchase every impression that's available through Display & Video 360. With such wide reach, line items can spend their budgets very quickly, so watch out!


If you don't set a particular type of targeting, your reach may be too wide. For instance, if you don't set any geography targeting, your line item will bid on impressions from all geographic locations. Similarly, if you don't target specific inventory sources, your line item will bid on impressions from all inventory sources.

Watch out for restrictive targeting

Line items frequently can’t purchase impressions because there isn’t enough inventory that matches your targeting. As you set up your line item, use line item reach forecasting to explore how each targeting option can impact reach.

Troubleshoot performance issues due to targeting settings

If you’re not seeing the performance you’re expecting, first check if your line item:

  • Is active
  • Has a budget
  • Has an active, assigned creative

If those settings are correct, check for these common targeting issues that impact performance:

  • Incompatible targeting may cause no spend: Your line item may not spend if it uses incompatible targeting options. For example, targeting desktop devices in mobile app environments for a display line item is incompatible. Logically, this combination doesn’t exist, so there won’t be available inventory.
  • There may be low inventory for a targeting combination: Display & Video 360 may be bidding on every available impression, but there may not be many available based on your targeting settings. A common example is different out-stream video environments and connected TV devices. In this case, the available inventory is limited for Display & Video 360 to bid on.
  • Some targeting options are more limiting than others: If you’re seeing underpacing issues, try to expand these targeting options:
    • Active View targeting: Lower the viewability threshold for the line item.
    • Keyword targeting: Target more keywords.
    • Audience lists: Check that it’s the correct list or increase audience list recency to include more users.
    • Geography: Use additional locations, especially for smaller regions like zip codes.

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