Targeting your ads

Targeting ads is an essential part of a successful advertising campaign. You may have designed the perfect ad, but you'll need to show it to the right people at the right time to better reach your goal. Google Ads offers different ways of targeting your ads.

Before you begin

For video ad groups using placement targeting only: If you’re targeting placements solely on YouTube or the Display Network, your ads are now eligible to run on both.
For video ad groups using placement targeting only: If you’re targeting placements solely on YouTube or the Display Network, your ads are now eligible to run on both.
Existing ad groups without targeting are automatically paused as a one-time exception to ensure that they don't run ads that you don't intend to show. Going forward, manually pause ad groups that aren’t ready to show ads. Learn more about how to pause or resume your ad groups

Audience targeting

To provide a comprehensive and consolidated view of your Audiences and make audience management and optimisation simpler, you’ll see the following improvements in Google Ads:

  • New audience reporting
    Detailed reporting about audience demographics, segments and exclusions is now consolidated in one place, the 'Audiences' tab within the left-hand page navigation menu. You can also easily manage your Audiences from this report page. Learn more About Audience reporting
  • New terms
    We’re using new terms on your audience report and throughout Google Ads. For example, 'audience types' (these include similar, custom, in-market and affinity) are now referred to as audience segments and 'remarketing' is now referred to as 'your data'. Learn more about the Updates to Audience terms and phrases

Your audience is who you want your ads to reach. You can reach people based on:

  • Who they are
  • Their interests and habits
  • What they’re actively researching
  • People who’ve already interacted with your ads, website or app, who may return

Learn more About audience targeting

Content targeting

To provide a comprehensive and consolidated view of your content targeting and make content targeting management and optimisation simpler, you’ll see the following improvements in Google Ads:

All types of content targeting can now be found under 'Content' in the side navigation:

  • 'Topics', 'Placements', 'Display/Video keywords' and 'Exclusions' for all types of content targeting are now categorised under the 'Content' tab in the side navigation menu. For 'Exclusions', click the drop-down arrow to the right of the term 'Exclusions' to select exclusions for topics, placements or Display/Video keywords.

Soon, you’ll see further improvements:

  • 'Topics', 'Placements', 'Display/Video keywords' will be consolidated into a single 'Content' page and report. Exclusions will also be consolidated into a single report in the same page ('Content').
  • Your ads will target any of your selected content in your ad group. For example, if you targeted 'bikes' as a topic and 'cycling' as a Display/Video keyword, your ads will show on content that matches either.

Until your account is migrated, we recommend that you only use one content targeting method (topics, placements OR Display/Video keywords) per ad group. Before the upcoming changes, combining methods can limit campaign performance.

  • Topics: Target one ad to multiple pages about certain topics at once. Topic targeting lets you reach a broad range of pages on the Display Network. Google Ads analyses web content and considers factors such as text, language, link structure and page structure. It then determines the central themes of each web page and targets ads based on your topic selections.
  • Placement: Target websites on the Display Network that your customers visit. If you select this type of targeting, we'll only look at your chosen sites (managed placements) when searching for relevant sites. Unlike contextual targeting (automatic placements), placement targeting doesn't require keywords. A placement might be an entire website, or a subset of a site.
  • Content keywords: Choose words that are relevant to your product or service to target users making searches using those same terms. You can tailor a set of keywords to manually reach certain demographics or meet specific goals. For instance, you can change your keywords to reflect seasonal interests or make the most of a sale.
  • Display Expansion for search: Let Google Ads find users for you with a combination of automated bidding and smart targeting. Display expansion works for both Search and Display campaigns, targeting high-performance moments for the best results.

Example

If you run a kennel in Birmingham, you could add the Search keyword 'dog care', and 'Birmingham and nearby cities' as the target location for your Google Ads campaign. Then, when people in Birmingham type 'dog care' on Google, they could see your ad next to the search results.

If your business sells costumes, you could add the Display/Video keyword 'buy costumes' and target your image ad at iPhones or Android devices. Then, people could see your image ad when they use their Android phones to visit sites on the Display Network that have information about buying costumes.

Bear in mind

When you select multiple targeting methods on the Display Network, your success depends on your network settings.

Display ads only appear on the Google Display Network. They don't appear on search results pages. Like other Google ads, display ads can be created for campaigns based on cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM), target cost-per-action (tCPA), target return on ad spend (tROAS) and enhanced cost-per-click (e-CPC).

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