About targeting for video campaigns

Video ads run on YouTube and across the web through the Google Display Network. With more than 1 billion users, YouTube is available in 70+ countries and 60+ languages, and offers rich content from all over the world. The Display Network reaches over 90% of Internet users worldwide through 2 million sites and apps (source: comScore).

By targeting your video ads on YouTube and the Display Network, you can advertise to consumers at moments that matter. With a wide variety of targeting methods available to you, such as demographic groups, interests, placements and remarketing lists, you can reach specific or niche audiences based on who they are, what they're interested in and what content they're viewing.

Available targeting methods for video ads

Here are the methods that you can use for targeting your video ads. These targeting methods are added at the ad group level. It's important to know that with each targeting method you add, you narrow – not widen – your targeting.

Audience targeting methods let you define who you want to reach. These include:

  • Demographic groups: Choose the age, gender, parental status or household income of the audience you want to reach.
  • Interests: Pick from available audience categories to reach people interested in certain topics, even when they may be visiting pages about other topics. Learn more about audiences.
    • Affinity audiences: Raise brand awareness and drive consideration with your video ads by reaching people who already have a strong interest in relevant topics.
    • Custom affinity audiences: With custom affinity audiences, you can create audiences that are more tailored to your brands, compared to our broad, TV-like affinity audiences. For example, rather than reaching sports fans, a running shoe company may want to reach avid marathon runners.
    • Life events: Reach potential customers on YouTube and Gmail when purchase behaviour shifts and brand preferences change during life milestones like moving, graduating from university or getting married.
    • In-market audiences: Select from these audiences to find customers who are researching products and actively considering buying a service or product like those you offer.
  • Video remarketing: Reach viewers based on their past interactions with your videos, TrueView ads or YouTube channel. If you've linked your Google account to your Google Ads account already, we'll create custom lists for you automatically. Learn more about remarketing lists for YouTube viewers.
If you target or exclude certain YouTube music artist channels, you’ll have to verify which videos will be included. Learn more

Content targeting methods let you define where you want your ads to show. These include:

  • Placements: Target channels, videos, apps, websites or placements within websites. For example, you can target an entire high-traffic blog or just the homepage of a popular news site. Placements can include:
    • YouTube channels
    • YouTube videos
    • Websites on the Display Network
    • Apps on the Display Network


      When you add Display Network placements, your ad may still run in all eligible locations on YouTube. When you add YouTube placements, your ad may still run in all eligible locations across the Display Network.

      Keep in mind: If you have “Video partners on the Display Network” selected under “Networks” and you add Display Network placements only, your ads may still show on YouTube.

  • Topics: Target your video ads to specific topics on YouTube and the Display Network. Topic targeting lets you reach a broad range of videos, channels and websites related to the topics you select. For example, when you target the "Automotive" topic, then your ad will show on YouTube to people watching videos about cars.
  • Keywords: Depending on your video ad format, you can show your video ads based on words or phrases (keywords) related to a YouTube video, YouTube channel or type of website that your audience is interested in.


For video ad groups using placement targeting only: If you’re targeting placements solely on YouTube or the Display network, your ads will now be eligible to run on both.
Existing ad groups without targeting will be 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 at Pause or resume your ad groups.
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