We all know about Adwords Search and that keywords is just about the only targeting option out there.  On GDN (Google Display Network) you have a dozen different kinds of targeting options such as age, gender, parental status, topics, keywords, affinity groups and placements.  You can also combine these different targeting methods together to make one ultra targeted campaign.

Adwords Display Adgroup Targeting Options is part 4 of our Google Display Training Course found at http://marketingplaybook.co/adwords-display-training-guide-gdn/.  All our Adwords Courses can be found on http://marketingplaybook.co/ppc-training/  and our Adwords Search course can be found at http://marketingplaybook.co/adwords-ppc-search-training-course/

To make your life easier and to fully explain everything we have included a companion video to go along with the written guide.  If you like the video and guide be sure to share it and consider signing up to the MarketingPlayBook newsletter to stay up to date with your digital marketing and to take advantage of our live Q/A sessions.

GDN Targeting Options Video

Adwords Targeting Options for GDN

Display Keywords:


Display keywords is the basic targeting option.  Most people are already familiar with using keywords from their Search campaigns.  You do not have match type options on the Display end.  Everything you are targeting is broad.

With that said you can always add in negative keywords to a campaign if you notice many unrelated sites.  This comes in handy if you where targeting ‘potty training’ for instance but you wanted to target only human related web pages.  You could add in negative keywords at the bottom of the targeting section relating to dog, puppy, cat etc…

To discover what keywords to target I recommend you take a look at our keyword research guide covered in our Google Search training tutorial at http://marketingplaybook.co/adwords/adwords-pcc-search-training/ppc-keyword-research/

If you just want to wing it you can start typing in general keywords as shown in the image below and then press the “Find related keywords” button.  This will show you a list of related keywords that you can choose from.  We recommend starting off with a list of 10 – 20 keywords.  This makes reporting and optimizing a bit easier to mange at a later date.


On the right site of the targeting options you will notice Adwords Display includes a graph showing you how many weekly available impressions are out there.  This is simply an estimate and there are a lot of things that can effect this number.  There is nothing wrong with having a lower estimate.  Worst case you might have to add in more generic keywords or reduce the type of targeting you are using.


Interests & Remarketing

Under the Interest & remarketing dialog box you have eight different targeting options.  We will do a brief overview of each of these targeting options


Affinity Audiences:

Think of affinity audiences as TV targeting.  Let’s say there is a show about puppies.  Chances are the advertiser who wants to advertise there will have pet related products. Google assigns an affinity status to people based upon a users web searches and pages visited.  If you are logged into Google+ or gmail you can view your profile to get an idea of how accurate targeting can be – https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/ads/authenticated?hl=en


Looking at the above image you can see wee typed in “Games” and Adwords gave us a listing of possible affinity groups to target such as Action Game Fans and Roleplaying Game Fans.

It’s important to note that when you are doing affinity targeting you are not targeting the content of a page but rather a person.  So if I targeted a few gaming people I would be eligible to show on any kind of website they are visiting that is on the Google display network.  This might be news sites or other sites that have nothing to do with the product or service I am promoting.

In-market Audiences:

An In-market Audience is some that Google believes is currently involved in making a purchase or doing research on a product or service.  A great example might be someone searching Ford F150 2016 and then visiting multiple dealer related websites.  Google has not released exactly how they determine if someone is “In-Market” but it’s a very alluring option for marketers to target.


Remarketing Lists:

This is where most people first get their feet wet on GDN.  Remarketing is often cheered as one of the best ways to see ROI with ad spend.  After all these are people who have already been on your website once and did not make a purchase or they completed a certain action on your site and you want to re-market to them.

We have a separate guide talking more in-depth about setting up re-marketing.  The below image is where you actually use the remarketing list to target your audience.


Video Viewers List:

When you setup a video viewers list you first have to link your YouTube channel.  From there you have nearly a dozen options for creating your video views list.  Some of these options are Visited a channel page, viewed a certain video, viewed any video, subscribed to channel, viewed multiple videos, viewed video as ad and a view others but now it’s getting confusing.

This is a really great way to capture your video group and re-market videos directly to them or use text or image ads to re-engage with them.


Customer E-mail Lists:

This is one of those list options that so many people do not know about yet but could be Ultra powerful.  If you have a list of current client e-mails you can upload that list and target ads directly to those individuals.  So if I have 5000 people who ordered my Amazon dog toy I can directly re-market to those 5,000 customers on the display network and let them know about a special deal on my latest dog toy.

It can also be used just to stay in the customers mind.  If I had for instance a Christmas store, that would be a really seasonal item and chances are my customers may forget about me.  I can now quickly touch based outside of just doing e-mails by showing ads to products they may want well before the next Christmas season.  You get the idea.  This is fantastic for existing businesses with customer lists.  customer-email-lists

Similar to Lists:

You have three options with Similar to lists

  • Similar to remarketing lists
  • Similar to video viewers lists
  • Similar to customer email lists

Each does the same thing just with a different type of marketing.  Similar to lists are simply people Adwords thinks are similar to the current people on your list.  This is the same as Facebook look a like audiences.  I’m sure the algorithm is vastly different but the end result is meant to be the same.

An example might be if I built a remarketing list for my puppy care website.  A similar to remarketing list will include people who closely match the current profiles of those visiting my website.  This is a great way to expand out on your current remarketing campaigns.

Use a different Targeting Method

Under this section you have 3 different targeting options


This is one of my all time favorite targeting methods.  The ability to target based upon topics is great.  No need for keywords just topics and from there you can work the websites the ad is showing on and optimize in that manner.

There are dozens of different topic sections that can be targeted.  It’s best to try and search something generic such as the example below of games and then try to drill down into a specif topic group.





With placements you can search for related sites you want your ads to show on.  Similar in how Topics targeting works but your are targeting the entire website.

You can also use placements once you already have known converting websites that are working for you.  If I was running a keyword campaign for instance and I kept having sales on certain websites I might want to just try targeting those exact websites and see if I can’t gain a little more volume.



With demographic targeting you can choose gender, age and parental status.  This option does not function in all countries.  In most instances I do not recommend targeting demographics right off the bat unless you fully understand your audience.  Still this is a great way to layer in targeting by combining demographics with anther targeting group.

That is is for this lesson.  I hope to see you in the next GDN training module.  Be sure and like and share the page with others if you found it helpful.



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