Choose keywords for Display Network campaigns

Alert: Beginning in April 2019, all ad groups targeting audience keywords will be automatically migrated to custom intent audience segments. Learn more about the migration here.

Display Network keywords help you connect your campaigns to likely buyers.

For example, if your most likely customers hike, you might add keywords around hiking or the outdoors. Google Ads will find relevant websites that include your keywords as well as relevant audiences interested in those keywords. Try to pick keywords that are relevant to entire ad groups, and not just a single ad.

This article explains how to use keywords on the Display Network.

How it works

Keywords are one of the targeting options on the Display Network. Sometimes your ads may show on placements that seem unrelated to your keywords. Depending on your keyword setting, your ads instead may show to audiences based on their recent browsing history or other factors, rather than the content of the page they’re currently viewing. Learn more at About contextual targeting.

When choosing keywords for your Display Network campaigns:

  • Create ad groups for your products or services so we can show ads related to them.
  • Choose keywords that you imagine could appear on websites where your customers might browse.
  • Get additional ad group and keyword ideas.

Create ad groups

Before you choose keywords for your Display Network campaigns, make sure that the ad groups for each of your campaigns are organized by the products or services that you offer. Once you have keywords that describe the products or services that you're advertising, you can then create ads related to those keywords.


Let's say you're building a campaign for your bakery. When you set up your campaign, you should separate your ad groups into the different types of products that you sell. Here are examples of poorly structured and effectively structured ad groups to get a better idea of how to organize ad groups for your campaign:

Poorly structured ad group

Ad group: Bakery

Keywords: chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, snickerdoodles, chewy brownies, brownies with nuts, dark chocolate brownies, red velvet cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes

Effectively structured ad group

Ad group: Cookies

Keywords: chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, snickerdoodles

Ad group: Brownies

Keywords: chewy brownies, brownies with nuts, dark chocolate brownies

Ad group: Cupcakes
Keywords: red velvet cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes

Choose keywords

Your ad group's keyword list helps Google Ads show your ads on relevant websites or to relevant audiences. Follow these guidelines to create a high-quality keyword list:

  • Choose keywords related to your product or service.
  • Create a set of 5 to 20 keywords that relate to the ads in that ad group. Two to three-word phrases tend to work well.
  • Select keywords that are related to each other. For example, if you sell flowers, you may want to add "roses" and "flower arrangements" to your keyword list. That way, your keywords could show ads to customers who are interested in buying roses or flower arrangements.
  • Select keywords related to the websites your customers see.
  • If you have a strong and well-recognized brand, include branded keywords.


Ad group: Brownies

Keywords: chocolate brownies, dark chocolate brownies, chewy brownies, dessert recipes, brownie recipes

Get keyword ideas

You can get new keyword ideas that you might not think of when you build your campaigns.

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click Content and select Display/video keywords, or click Ad groups.
  3. Click the plus button to add a new keyword or ad group.
  4. Under “Get keyword ideas” fill out the “Enter a related website” or “Enter your product or service” field.
  5. Click the plus button next to each keyword to add it to your list of keywords.

Monitor and improve your keyword performance

To see results for your Display Network keywords:

  1. From the workspace bar at the top, select Display campaigns.
    Note: If you prefer to use the navigation panel on the left, click Change view in the top right of your Google Ads account.
  2. Select Content from the page menu on the left, then select Display/video keywords.

You’ll find a table including impressions, clicks, and other results showing how well your keywords are meeting your advertising goals. Based on these results, you can make decisions about revising your keyword list.

Google Ads may use data from your Audience sources to improve the bidding and targeting of your audience campaigns.
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