Targeting settings on the Display Network
On the Google Display Network you can reach a wide range of customers, choose which sites or pages your ads appear on, and engage people with a variety of appealing ad formats.
- The basics, get your ads on to the Display Network
- Have more control over where your ads show, choose targeting settings
- Try advanced targeting combinations based on your goals
To advertise on the Display Network, use any type of “Display Network only” or “Search Network with Display Select” campaign.
Before you begin
The basics, get your ads on to the Display Network
Targeting methods like keywords and affinity audiences get your ads on to the Display Network.
You sell sporting goods. For your soccer campaign, you want your ads to show on pages related to soccer. So, you target Display keywords like buy soccer balls.
How to do this in your Google Ads account
When you add targeting methods like keywords or affinity audiences, you’re telling Google Ads where your ads can show or who can see your ads as they browse the Display Network. You add targeting to the ad groups in your Display Network campaigns.
- Click the Display Network tab under All campaigns.
- Click + Targeting.
- Select the Add targeting drop-down menu and choose one of several targeting methods. To show ads on pages related to soccer, you might select Display keywords and add buy soccer balls.
- Click Close and save your ad group.
Depending on the options you choose, you may see a calculator to the side that shows available impressions for the targeting you’ve selected. The number of available impressions can often be quite large depending on what you select. For more information about available impressions, read View reach estimates for the Display Network
Have more control over where your ads show, choose targeting settings
Targeting settings like “Targeting” and “Observation” also determine the reach of your ads. Think of them as controls that do the following:
- Restricts your ads from showing for the targeting method you’ve selected, like keywords
- Allows you to set bids for individual targeting, like $2.00 for buy soccer balls
Based on your Display keywords, your ads can now show on pages about soccer. However, you want to reach soccer fans specifically, so you target the affinity audience Soccer Fans and set both targeting methods to “Targeting.”
- Doesn’t restrict your ads from showing for the targeting method you’ve selected
- Allows you to set bids for individual targeting, like $2.00 for Soccer Fans
Using the same example as above, let’s say you have a preference for your ads to show to soccer enthusiasts but don’t want to limit your ads to this audience. You decide to do the following:
- Set Display keywords as "Targeting" so your ads are shown based on your keywords.
- Set “Interests & Remarketing” to “Observation” with an increased bid on Soccer Fans to increase the chances your ads will show to people with that affinity audience.
How to do this in your Google Ads account
When you add multiple targeting methods to the same ad group and set these to “Targeting,” you’re telling Google Ads to restrict or narrow the reach of your ads. When you add additional targeting methods and set them to “Observation,” you’re telling Google Ads not to restrict where your ads show but to increase or decrease its chances of showing depending on the bid you choose.
- Repeat steps 1-3 from the first section for each additional targeting method you add to your ad group.
- Choose either “Targeting” or “Observation” for each targeting method.
- (Optional) Choose different bids for your targeting. For example, you can set a bid for Soccer Fans from the Interests & remarketing sub-tab.
To the side you may notice that each time you add a targeting method to your ad group and set it to “Targeting,” the number of available impressions shrinks. This is typical when you add multiple targeting methods set to “Targeting” in a single ad group.
|Keywords||Keywords + affinity audience||Keywords + affinity audience + gender|
Important note: For small and medium businesses, it's better to set fewer targeting methods to “Targeting” in an ad group. Otherwise you may be narrowing the reach of your ads so they rarely show.
Try advanced targeting combinations based on your goals
Direct sales campaigns
If your goal is to sell products and reach a specific type of audience, you might want to add a few targeting methods to your ad group that are set to “Targeting.” Then your ads can show only when the specific targeting methods you've selected match. Here are some sample combinations:
|Targeting methods||“Targeting” (default setting)||“Observation”||When ads can show|
|Keywords + placements||Keywords + placements||Not selected||Keywords AND placements both required for ads to show.|
|Audiences + age||Audiences + age||Not selected||Audiences AND age both required for ads to show.|
|Keywords + topics||Keywords + topics||Not selected||Keywords AND topics both required for ads to show.|
|Remarketing + gender||Remarketing + gender||Not selected||Remarketing AND gender both required for ads to show.|
|Topics + audiences||Topics + audiences||Not selected||Topics AND in-market audiences both required for ads to show.|
If your goal is to reach as many people as possible, you might not want to add too many targeting methods to your ad group. You may still choose, however, to add multiple targeting methods so you can set bids on a particular one without significantly limiting your reach. Here are some sample combinations:
|Targeting methods||“Targeting” (default setting)||“Observation”||What it means|
|Age + gender + affinity audiences||Age + gender + affinity audiences||Not selected||Age AND gender AND affinity audiences all required for ads to show.|
|Affinity audiences and age*||Affinity audiences||Age||Affinity audiences required for ads to show. If affinity audiences and age overlap, you’ll see reporting for both. The bid used will depend on your bidding selection.|
|Keywords + placements||Keywords||Placements||Keywords required for ads to show. If keywords and placements overlap, you’ll see reporting for both. The bid used will depend on your bidding selection.|
|Keywords + gender *||Keywords||Gender||Keywords required for ads to show. If keywords and gender overlap, you’ll see reporting for both. The bid used will depend on your bidding selection.|
|Topics + affinity audiences + placements||Topics + affinity audiences||Placements||Topics AND affinity audiences both required for ads to show. If topics, affinity audiences, and placements overlap, you’ll see reporting for all. The bid used will depend on your bidding selection.|
* These combinations can be useful for people who would like to increase their chances of reaching certain demographic groups, but don't want to restrict their traffic to those groups only.