Topic targeting

Why topic targeting?

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

Topic targeting allows your ads to be eligible to appear on any pages on the Google Display Network 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.

You can use topic targeting in combination with individual placements -- which are pages or sites you've chosen where you'd like your ad to show -- and keyword targeting -- which lets you choose the keywords that should trigger your ad to show.

Example: By targeting the "Autos & Vehicles" topic, for instance, you enable your ad to appear on any Google 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.

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

  • Placement and topic targeting
    • Topic targeting allows your ads can 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 and the topic Sports in the same ad group. In this situation, your ad will appear only on pages within that belong 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.

Topic targeting costs

Pricing for targeting by topics works the same way as pricing for other placement-targeted ads. You select the maximum price you're willing to pay each time your ad appears, 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.

Common reasons to use topic targeting

  • You'd like to generate additional traffic or want to reach a broad audience quickly.
  • For example, if you sell bicycles and know that your customers also like hiking and camping, you can try reaching a broader audience by selecting the Hiking and Camping subtopic to show your ads on webpages about this topic.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • If you'd like to control where your ads appear on the Google Display Network, or you're a brand-oriented advertiser, or you have strict CPA goals and want to actively manage your budget, we recommend using our other targeting options, such as keyword contextual targeting or placements targeting.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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