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.

Audience targeting

To provide a comprehensive and consolidated view of your audiences and make audience management and optimisation simpler, you’ll find 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 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 and may return

Learn more About audience targeting.

Content targeting

To help you reach more potential customers, your ads will now show on content that matches any of the topics, placements or Display/Video keywords you target. 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.

You’ll also notice contextual targeting simplified into a single page in Google Ads, so you can manage all content targeting types (Topics, Placements, Display/Video keywords and Exclusions) in a single view. The new page can be found in the 'Content' section in the left-side menu.

For video campaigns that drive conversions only: To help you find more conversion opportunities, you’ll no longer be able to add content targeting to new and existing video conversion campaigns in the coming months. From early 2023, all existing content targeting settings will be automatically removed from video campaigns that drive conversions. To manually remove content targeting from existing conversion campaigns, go to your ad group settings. Learn more about optimising your campaign for conversions

Content targeting methods let you define where you want (or where you don’t want) your ads to show. By combining multiple content targeting methods, your ads will target any of the selected content in your ad group and help you reach a broader audience.

  • Topics: Target one ad to multiple pages about certain topics at the same time. 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 website.
  • 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.

You can manage your content targeting settings in an individual campaign or to all eligible campaigns through the 'Content' section of Google Ads.

Examples

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 view 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 view 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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