About topic targeting

To provide a comprehensive and consolidated view of your content targeting and make content targeting management and optimization 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 categorized 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.

Just like your business caters to certain customers, your customers may be interested in certain topics. Topic targeting lets you place your ads on web pages, apps, and videos about those topics, whether it's agriculture, music, or something else entirely.

This article gives an overview of topic targeting. You can use this feature in Display Network or Video campaigns. For step-by-step instructions, explore Target websites about relevant topics.

Topic targeting allows your ads to be eligible to appear on any pages on the Display Network or YouTube that have content related to your selected topics. As content across the web changes over time, the pages on which your ads appear can change with it. To display your ads on those pages, simply select one or more topics that you find relevant for your ads.

Note: Topic targeting also applies to non-skippable in-stream ads and bumper ads served on YouTube TV in Google Ads auction campaigns. Learn more About YouTube TV ads

Example

By targeting the "Autos & Vehicles" topic, for instance, you enable your ad to appear on any Display Network website or other placement that includes content about cars or other automotive themes. You can also select more precise subtopics, such as Trucks & SUVs, Commercial Vehicles, or Motorcycles.

Why target topics

  • You'd like to show your ads on a broad set of websites related to certain topics. For example, if you sell bicycles and know that your customers also like hiking and camping, you can try advertising on a large number of websites by selecting the Hiking and Camping subtopic to show your ads on webpages about this topic.
  • Adding all the subtopics isn't the same as adding the top-level topic. There are pages that won't be targeted if you add only the subtopics to your ad group. We recommend adding the top-level topic as well.
  • You’d like to cultivate a broader brand identity or lifestyle association for your business.
  • You have a flexible or unrestricted campaign budget.
  • You'd like to quickly ramp up your ad delivery, or your CPA goal is moderately flexible.

Additional tips

  • When you target a top-level topic, you also target all the related subtopics. However, we recommend adding the subtopics for bidding and reporting control.
  • If you'd like to prevent your ads from appearing on pages about specific topics that aren't performing well or are unrelated to your business, you can exclude those topics.

Placement and topic targeting

  • Target frequency campaigns use expanded contextual matching to help you meet your frequency goals if you use topic and placement targeting. Learn more About Target frequency.
  • For Target frequency campaigns, expanded placement matching serves the first ad strictly within the target placements. It then builds frequency by continuing to show ads to the same user over the following week, irrespective of the placement. This enables frequency building by efficiently maximizing reach at the Target frequency, utilizing your ad spend effectively to optimize your ad.

How much topic targeting costs

Pricing for targeting by topics works the same way as pricing for other types of targeting. You set your bid or choose an automated bid strategy, and the Google Ads system will show your ad on pages on the Google Network with content about that topic where your bid can win a position. A popular topic may have thousands or even tens of thousands of pages where your ad could appear.

About expanded matching for Target frequency campaigns
Starting the 2nd half of 2022, you can use Target frequency campaigns to treat building frequency as the most important goal for your campaign. For Frequency campaigns, expanded topic matching serves the first ad strictly within the target topic. It then builds frequency by continuing to show ads to the same user over the following week, irrespective of the topic. This enables frequency building by efficiently maximizing reach at the Target frequency. Learn more About Target frequency
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