The Google Display Targeting options available can be divided into two main groups, one based on the content of sites visited by your potential customers, the other based on targeting specific users.

In terms of Display targeting based on the content, you have the following targeting options:

  • Contextual Targeting – In your campaign, insert a list of keywords. The AdWords system will automatically associate Display Network sites including the same keywords (or thematic) to ensure relevance between ads and content of the site for you.
  • Targeting specific topics – Display Network sites are ranked according to their thematic content. You can choose one or more themes to display your ads on all the sites included therein (eg travel sites).
  • Placement managed – If you want to target your ads on specific websites, because you believe that your customers are there, you can add these sites as placement managed campaign.

There are some targeting options that depend no longer  by the content of sites, but by the very nature and profile of users. See the targeting options below:

  • Remarketing – With this feature, you can target users who have already visited your website or a particular page. So you can develop ads for users that visited a particular section of your website but have not yet converted / made a purchase. Your ads appear when users are navigating  anywhere on the Display Network. In these ads, you can create an additional commitment with your potential customers to attract them back to your site and invite them to complete their purchases (or any other type of conversion).
  • Targeting interests – This targeting is based on themes, products or services accessed by users when browsing. The AdWords system then combines users’ interests, that you can use as targets for your campaign. For example, suppose you decide to serve ads to users interested in fashion, your ads will be shown to all of these users even on travel sites (because, as interest in fashion has been defined for these users).


To show your ads on the Display Network, you can of course use multiple targeting options simultaneously. However, we recommend that you initially keep a broad focus to ensure optimal distribution (maximum one or two methods) and then refine the targeting to optimize the performance of your campaign.

By Pedro Silva

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