About targeting for Display campaigns

Any Smart Display campaign in your account will automatically migrate without any action needed on your end. Also, the migration should not cause any fluctuations with your campaign’s performance. Learn more About (newly simplified) Display campaigns.

With Display campaigns, your ads can appear on the Google Display Network, which is a large collection of websites, mobile apps, and video content. You can add targeting signals to your campaign to find audience segments that help your campaign meet its goals.

Your ads appear on the Display Network depending on the type of targeting that you use in your campaign. This article explains your targeting options.

Your targeting options

You can use ad group targeting to help get your ads seen by certain types of people or in certain contexts or content.

  • When you focus your targeting on certain types of people, you can aim to get your ads seen by a particular audience (for example, people who've visited your site, or people that are likely to be in the market for a given product) or demographics (for example, young men). Learn more
  • When you focus your targeting on certain moments, you can specify keywords or topics to get your ads seen in the context of specific kinds of content (for example, bicycle-related content) or on specific websites (for example, a placement on nytimes.com). Learn more


"Reach" is the number of possible impressions that fit within your targeting settings. Generally each time you add a new layer of targeting, you narrow the potential reach of your ads. For example, if you set up targeting for women actively looking to buy a house, your ads will have a narrower reach than if you target all people in-market for real estate.

However, adding additional items within a given targeting type will broaden your reach. For example, if you have targeting for New York and then you add targeting for San Francisco, your reach expands. Learn more


To increase the impact of a particular targeting setting, adjust the bid for it. For instance, if showing your ad to parents is particularly valuable to you, use bid adjustments to increase your bid for parents.

"Targeting" and "Observation" settings

Targeting settings like "Targeting" and "Observation" determine the reach of your ads. Think of them as controls that do the following:

  • "Targeting": When you use this setting, you're telling Google Ads who you'd like to reach with your ads or where you'd like your ads to show on the internet. Use the "Targeting" setting in your ad groups or campaigns, when you want to narrow your ad group to only show to specific audiences or on specific content you've selected.
  • "Observation": When you use this setting, the reach of your campaign or ad group isn't affected. In other words, the "Observation" setting won't change who can view your ads or where they can show. Use the "Observation" setting if you don't want to narrow your targeting any further, but you want to monitor how your ads perform within certain criteria.

Learn more about the "Targeting" and "Observation" settings.

Optimized targeting

Optimized targeting grants your campaign flexibility to explore which customers have the highest likelihood to convert within your campaign goals. When you use optimized targeting, you can optionally provide targeting signals like keywords or audiences. These signals are used by our system to find similar criteria to serve your ads on.

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