Use optimised targeting

Starting in October, Demand Gen campaigns will be available to all advertisers in Google Ads and your Discovery campaigns will be eligible for upgrades. Contact your Google account team to upgrade your Discovery campaigns on your behalf. And if you don’t currently have a Google account team, your Discovery campaigns will be automatically upgraded by November.

Once upgraded, all of your historical data and learnings from your Discovery campaigns will be seamlessly carried over to your new Demand Gen campaigns, so you can take full advantage of the newly redesigned UI and start optimising your campaigns with new performance-enhancing features. 

Learn more about upgrading from Discovery ads to Demand Gen

Optimised targeting grants your campaign flexibility to explore which customers have the highest likelihood to convert within your campaign goals. When you use optimised targeting, you have the option to provide targeting signals like keywords or audience segments. These signals are used as a starting point by our system to find the best-performing criteria to serve your ads on.

Optimised targeting may reduce or stop serving traffic on your signals if it finds better-performing traffic elsewhere.

In this article, you'll learn how to use and review performance for optimised targeting in display, Discovery and video campaigns.

Things to know

Brand safety

Optimised targeting respects your existing brand safety settings (such as content exclusions). You don’t need to make additional changes to your brand safety settings when using optimised targeting.

Bidding strategies

  • If you're focused on generating site traffic, consider using optimised targeting with Maximise conversions and using site visits as your conversion type.
  • If you're focused on conversions, consider using Maximise conversions or target CPA with optimised targeting. Using these bidding strategies is recommended for optimised targeting because they use your conversion data to get you the most value for your campaign.

Campaign performance

Optimised targeting needs time to learn and find audience segments that are more likely to convert.

  • For new campaigns, wait until the campaign has at least 50 conversions or has been active for at least two weeks before evaluating performance.
  • For existing campaigns, wait a minimum of two weeks before evaluating performance.
Use Audience insights on the Insights page to better understand the unique characteristics of users that optimised targeting has found to drive performance. Audience insights increase transparency for optimised targeting by highlighting the top Google audience segments that are performing well. This helps you understand who your customers are by surfacing the unique characteristics, interests and behaviours of user groups who view your ads and convert. Learn more about audience insights


Note: The instructions below are part of a new Google Ads user experience that will launch for all advertisers in 2024. If you’re still using the previous version of Google Ads, review the Quick reference map or use the Search bar in the top navigation panel of Google Ads to find the page you’re searching for.

Change optimised targeting settings

  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Campaigns icon Campaigns Icon.
  2. Click the Campaigns drop-down in the section menu.
  3. Click Ad groups.
  4. Select the ad group that you'd like to adjust targeting for.
  5. Click Edit ad group targeting.
  6. Below 'Settings', expand the 'Optimised targeting' section.
  7. Click the box to turn optimised targeting on or off.
  8. Select Save.

Review performance for campaigns that use optimised targeting

  1. In your Google Ads account, click the Campaigns icon Campaigns Icon.
  2. Click the Audiences, keywords and content drop-down in the section menu.
  3. Click Audiences.
  4. From the 'Audience segments' or 'Demographics' statistics table, click Show table to expand, then scroll down until you find a row labelled 'Total: Expansion and optimised targeting'.

When reviewing your performance, keep in mind that optimised targeting extends your reach to people who otherwise wouldn't have viewed your ads. The conversions you get through optimised targeting are additional conversions that you wouldn't otherwise have received.

Your initial average cost-per-action (CPA) may fluctuate. Over time, optimised targeting will learn which targeting works best for you and optimise your reach at a more consistent average CPA to drive the most possible conversions.

If your ad groups have different kinds of targeting, viewing the ad group performance will allow you to compare clicks, impressions and conversions for each ad group.

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