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, jump to 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.


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.

Topic Targeting can be combined with Placement or Keyword targeting for precise targeting:

  • Placement and topic targeting
    • Topic targeting allows your ads to appear automatically on any sites with related content on the Google Display Network.
    • Placement targeting allows your ads to appear only on specific sites that you choose on the Google Display Network. Your ads won't appear on placements that you haven't explicitly targeted.
    • Placement targeting and topic targeting can be used together in a single ad group. If your campaign network setting is "Specific reach," your ad will appear only on pages of the placement that apply to the topic you've chosen.
    • Example: You decide to target the placement newyorktimes.com and the topic Sports in the same ad group. In this situation, your ad will appear only on pages within newyorktimes.com that are related to the Sports topic.
  • Keyword and topic targeting
    • If you target keywords and topics in the same ad group, your keywords will be considered first when our system decides where to show your ads. Your ads won't be eligible to appear on pages that don't match your keywords — even if these pages are related to the topics that you've chosen.
    • How topics work with keywords also depends on your Display Network campaign settings. You can set your Display Network settings to either Broad or Specific reach:
    • If you're opted into Broad reach: When your keywords match a page for one of your targeted topics, we'll use the topic targeting bid in the ad auction.
    • If you're opted into Specific reach: Your ads will be eligible to appear only on pages that match your keywords and at least one of your targeted topics.

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.

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