Targeting settings on the Display Network
On the Google Display Network you can reach a wide range of customers, choose which websites 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 such as keywords and affinity audiences get your ads on to the Display Network.
You sell sporting goods. For your football campaign, you want your ads to show on pages related to football. So, you target Display keywords such as buy footballs.
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 on + Targeting.
- Select the Add targeting drop-down menu and choose one of several targeting methods. To show ads on pages related to football, you might select Display keywords and add buy footballs.
- Click Close and save your ad group.
Depending on the options that you selected, you may see a calculator to the side that shows the impressions available for the targeting method that you've chosen. The number of available impressions can often be quite large depending on what you have selected. 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 that you’ve selected, like keywords
- Allows you to set bids for individual targeting, such as £2.00 for buy footballs
Based on your Display keywords, your ads can now show on pages about football. However, you want to reach football fans specifically, so you target the affinity audience Football Fans and set both targeting methods to 'Targeting'.
- Doesn’t restrict your ads from showing for the targeting method that you’ve selected
- Allows you to set bids for individual targeting, such as £2.00 for Football Fans
Using the same example as above, let’s say you have a preference for your ads to show to football enthusiasts but don’t want to limit your ads to this audience. You decide to do the following:
- Set Display keywords as 'Targeting' so that your ads are shown based on your keywords.
- Set 'Interests & Remarketing' to 'Observation' with an increased bid on Football Fans to increase the chances that 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 that you choose.
- Repeat steps 1-3 from the first section for each additional targeting method that 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 Football Fans from the Interests & remarketing subtab.
To the side, you may notice that each time that 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 that you've selected match. Here are some sample combinations:
|Targeting methods||'Targeting' (default setting)||'Observation'||When ads can appear|
|Keywords + placements||Keywords + placements||Not selected||Keywords AND placements both required for ads to appear.|
|Audiences + age||Audiences + age||Not selected||Audiences AND age both required for ads to appear.|
|Keywords + topics||Keywords + topics||Not selected||Keywords AND topics both required for ads to appear.|
|Remarketing + gender||Remarketing + gender||Not selected||Remarketing AND gender both required for ads to appear.|
|Topics + audiences||Topics + audiences||Not selected||Topics AND in-market audiences both required for ads to appear.|
If your goal is to reach as many people as possible, then you might not want to add too many targeting methods to your ad group. You may, however, still choose to add multiple targeting methods so that 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 appear.|
|Affinity audiences and age*||Affinity audiences||Age||Affinity audiences required for ads to appear. 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 appear. 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 appear. 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 appear. 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 alone.