On-target reach

Ad targeting on all digital media is imprecise to some degree depending on the media and the technologies used to target the ads. This means that, even if you target a specific demographic, you will likely purchase some impressions that fall outside of your intended target audience. For a given plan or campaign, the estimated number of people actually matching your demographic targeting is referred to as "on-target reach".

To help you better understand the on-target reach of your campaigns' budgets, you can use on-target reach metrics in Display & Video 360's plan forecasting.

Define your plan's on-target demographic

To see the on-target reach of a specific demographic, first define a target demographic for your plan. To do this:

  1. Navigate to an existing plan or create a new one.

  2. Click the "pencil" edit icon to open your plan's settings.

  3. In your plan's settings, navigate to your Targeting, then edit your plan's Demographics.

    This will become your plan's target demographic and on-target reach will be forecasted for this specific audience, even if the products in your plan are targeted to a different demographic segment.

Your plan's overall target audience isn't the same as the demographic targeting of individual products in your plan.

Demographic targeting added to individual products in your plan won't affect your plan's on-target demographic. This separation between your plan's on-target demographic and the targeting of individual products gives you the flexibility to add products to your plan with a variety of demographic targeting settings, while getting a forecast for the total on-target reach of a single audience across your plan.

Forecasting on-target reach

For a given plan, in addition to on-target reach (also known as "on-target people reach", described above), you can also see on-target impressions. This is simply the number of impressions estimated to be shown to people matching your target demographic.

As an example, if you have a budget of $100K and want to target "women 25-44" in the United States, Display & Video 360's forecasting could show you an estimated reach of 13.3% for this target demographic, equal to 5.84 million among the 43.8 million women 25-44 in the United States. In this example, those on-target users are forecasted to see a total of 18.1 million impressions. 

Forecasted on-target reach


Why are ads sometimes shown outside of my target demographic?

The information used for targeting ads in digital media is not always 100% correct for a variety of reasons, including:

  • User-reported data: Users can sometimes misrepresent or not provide demographic information.

  • Cookie data: Not all users are signed-in when viewing ads, making it more difficult to infer their precise age and gender. 

  • Multiple users sharing the same device: When two or more users share a device, and they are either not signed in, or signed into the same account, it may be difficult to infer the precise demographic information of the individual users of the device.

View on-target reach in a plan

You can view forecasts of on-target reach, on-target impressions, and on-target CPM in plans you build of display and video products, including YouTube, as long as your overall plan targets specific demographics.

To view on-target reach:

  1. Navigate to an existing plan or create a new one.

    Make sure your plan has a target demographic defined. (You can't determine if a given impression is on-target or not without specifying your on-target demographic.)
  2. Add one or more products to your plan, or use existing products. 

  3. Once you've added one or more products, the forecast summary at the top of the page will show you the following metrics for your plan:

    • On-target reach
    • Avg. frequency
    • On-target impressions
    • On-target CPM
    • [Census/Digital/TV/YouTube] TRP*
    • [Census/Digital/TV/YouTube] CPP*
    • On-target [census/digital/TV/YouTube] population*

      * These metrics can be changed based on how you set the "On-target population denominator" at the top of the forecast chart. You can choose Census, Digital, TV, or YouTube as the population denominator, used for calculating the percentage of people, among all those in your target audience (i.e., the denominator), your plan is forecasted to reach, for the ratings points metrics (TRP and CPP).


  • You can change your plan's target demographic from the "Edit forecasts" panel by clicking the name of your plan's current target demographic (for example, "women 25 - 44" or "all people"), then specifying a different demographic in the "Target audience" window that opens.

  • To see your plan's total reach, which includes impressions outside of your target demographic, click the "Show reach outside of target" switch at the top of the forecast chart in your plan.

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