Display Ads Targeting Guide 2023

Display Ads Targeting
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Mostly all advertising these days are targeted, especially the successful ones. It just means you are focusing your advertising dollars on reaching a specific set of people because you believe they are the most likely to respond well to your ad message.

Try selling diapers to a non-parent for example and stand back to witness a floppy marketing experience.

Ads targeting enables more user-relevant and compelling messages and the potential for reaching only those with specific pain points addressed by the ad.

However, the form and degree of targeting vary according to the ad type and this article will expose you to all the display ad targeting options.

What is Display Ads Targeting?

Display ads targeting is the billboard part of your display campaigns on the Google Display Network (DPN).

Ads targeting is a powerful tool that puts your ads in front of the right audience in the right spots so they know about you.

If you do it right, prospects take notice of your ad. Then, because they appreciate your savvy ad swagger, they click through to your landing page to learn more about what might get them where they intend to be.

You could say ad targeting is the linchpin of any campaign because it defines (and refines) where you show ads to reach more prospects.

Display ads targeting

Display Ads Targeting Options

#1. Target by audience segments

You can reach people based on what they like, what they are shopping for, what they recently bought, or how they have interacted with your business in the past.

You can reach them when they are browsing websites, watching videos, or using an app on their phone.

Audience segmentation allows you to do the following:

#1. Define your target audience

#2. Tailor your ad messaging

#3. Help push up conversion rates

#4. Build customer loyalty

#5. Draw in new leads

When a customer feels like a message was written just for them, they are more likely to be receptive to what you have to say. Segmentation makes that sort of personalization possible.

Most marketing campaigns begin with the creation of a customer persona, or a mock-up personality meant to mirror your ideal customer.

That persona can include where that individual works, whether they are married, and what their pastimes are.

Personas allow you to communicate with your customers on their level, especially when it comes to identifying their pain points and how you can help solve them. Once you create those personas, you can separate them into groups and target your message better at them.

#2. Demographic Display Ads Targeting

Demographic targeting is the way to go with your marketing if you want to target people based on their age, gender, parental status, or household income.

To sell a product effectively, you must understand who you are trying to reach. Demographics mirror customers’ characteristics, which you can leverage to create more tailored marketing campaigns.

The business can leverage demographic information to develop marketing strategies that appeal to different customer types.

Creating tailored marketing efforts for each market can serve as an effective method of retaining and attracting customers into your sales funnel.

#3. Keywords Display Ads Targeting

Select keywords, and then type in your website or product to discover new keyword ideas, including the most relevant ones for your business along with reach estimates.

Sometimes your ads may show on placements that appear unrelated to your keywords. Depending on your keyword setting, your ads rather may show to audiences based on their recent browsing history or other factors, instead of the content of the page they are currently viewing.

 Let’s say that you are a landscaping service and you are trying to use the Display ads to get cheaper leads with the keyword tree stump removal.

You might include keywords around tree removal. Google Ads will find relevant sites that include your keywords as well as relevant audiences interested in those keywords. Try to choose keywords that are relevant to whole ad groups and not just a single ad.

#4. Placement Display Ads Targeting

It is nothing but choosing the websites where you would like to show your ads within the Google Display Ad Network.

The placement could be within a site, a video, an app, or any other individual ad unit. With placement targeting, the idea is to put your ad in front of people who may be interacting with your business or similar to yours and have shown interest.

This is the only type of ad placement that gives you granular control over your ads campaigns. Whereas, when you utilize topic or interest targeting which can also be automatic placements, you are allowing Google to take control of all your ad decisions.

When it comes to Managed Placements, you choose or add websites or videos where your ads will appear and have better control of the message to those consumers who are on those placements which makes it more relevant for your business.

That is why this is the most recommended option and delivers the best market results for your Display ad campaigns.

For GDN campaigns, the CTR is below 0.5% for all industries according to the SmartInsights report.

When we talk about search campaigns, the click-through rate (CTR) is somewhere between 3-4%.

Then why do brands still run Display Ads even when the CTR is low?

GDN does what Search campaigns may not necessarily do. GDN campaigns offer you higher brand visibility and recognition.

Hence by focusing on serving ads to consumers and prospects in the right place and right time, you will have higher chances of boosting engagement and click-through rates.

But a lot of times, people are so sick of seeing banner ads that aren’t relevant to them, and that is why their minds have become trained to ignore them easily.

With audience targeting alone, users see so many irrelevant display ads that 86% of them say they have developed banner blindness, according to a study by InfoLinks.

Display ads

#5. Topic Display Ads Targeting

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

Topic targeting lets your ads be eligible to appear on any pages on the Display Network or YouTube that have content related to your chosen topics.

As content across the internet changes over time, the pages on which your ads display can change with it. To display your ads on those pages, simply choose one or more topics that you find relevant for your ad campaign.

This display ads targeting option allow users who might get tired of clicking around to search by topic codes instead.

They can use your keyboard shortcut Command + F (Mac) or Control + F (PC) to find what topic audiences are relevant to them.

Drill down into topic grouping to narrow in on your market, or enter a keyword, e.g. graphic design, and you’ll see a list of broad topics related to your niche.

Why you should target topics?

#1. You would like to show your ads on a broad set of sites related to specific topics. For instance, if you sell bicycles and know that your customers also like camping and hiking, you can try advertising on a large number of websites by selecting the Camping and Hiking subtopic to show your ads on webpages about this topic.

#2. Including all the subtopics isn’t the same as including the top-level topic. Some pages won’t be targeted if you include only the subtopics in your ad group. I recommend adding the first-class topic as well.

#3. You would like to cultivate a broader brand identity or lifestyle association for your brand.

#4. You have a flexible or unlimited campaign budget.

#5. You would like to quickly ramp up your ad delivery, or your CPA goal is fairly flexible.

#6. Google Adwords Display Ad Targeting

Adwords display ads appear on over two million sites and in over 650,000 apps, so your ad can show up wherever your target market is.

The AdwordsDisplay targeting options include the following ad types:

#1. Text Ads: Like an ad on Google Search, display adverts include a headline, two lines of text, and a URL.

#2. Google Mail Ads: Show custom ads in Gmail so users can save, forward, and expand your ad in their inbox.

#3. Banner Ads: With images or rich media, these display ads allow you to include custom layouts, animations interactive elements, and more.

#4. App Ads: Create a campaign targeting certain mobile app categories, or track the performance of the in-app ads you are already running.

With millions of sites, news pages blogs, and Google sites like Gmail and YouTube out there, the Google Display Network reaches 90% of online users worldwide.

With specialized options for targeting, keywords, remarketing, and demographics, you can encourage prospects to notice your brand, consider your offerings and take action in your funnel.

#7. Adroll Display Ads Targeting

AdRoll was launched in 2007 on the principle that you could successfully advertise online, even without huge resources and a budget. Since then, they have made it easy to challenge established brands and grow your business on the Internet.

AdRoll lets you create new audiences to target based on how visitors interact with your website. You can organize your site visitors based on either what their interest is or how high their intent to convert is.

#1. Interests: Create an audience based on how much interest a person shows to send messages catered to the defined audience.

#2. Intent: Create an audience based on a visitor’s level of intent to identify which users are most likely to convert.


Display ads are widely used to ensure your brand can be seen everywhere on the internet. It is for this important reason that we decided to write on this topic.

Display advertising when used in collaboration with Social Platforms can ensure that your brand is seen no matter where your prospects are browsing on the internet.

Whether you are targeting your potential customers based on the websites they are looking at, predefined keywords, or email addresses that you already have, display ads targeting is your best choice. You will want to show your ads to the right people at the right time and in the right spot, right?

Terhemba Ucha

Terhemba Ucha

Terhemba has over 11 years of digital marketing and specifically focuses on paid advertising on social media and search engines. He loves tech and kin in learning and sharing his knowledge with others. He consults on digital marketing and growth hacking.

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