Set up targeting for a display campaign

Business Benefits

Drive more interest and action by serving your display ads to the right audience on the right websites.


Review your ideal client avatar(s) and define their interests, demographics, and go-to blogs or websites before setting up your targeting.

Be specific, and create multiple profiles whenever possible. For instance, “people interested in home makeover projects” is probably too broad to be useful, so should be broken down into categories such as:

  • Eco-friendly moms interested in sustainable home textiles and projects.
  • “Fixer Upper” fans looking to create a farmhouse chic style on a budget.

Don’t define criteria that’s not relevant to your target. It’s better to have a broad age range than arbitrarily limit your audience to 45-year-old parents of teens.

Navigate to your display campaign or create a new one in your Google Ads account, then select or create an Ad Group to set up ad group level targeting for each Ad Group in your campaign.

Skip over setting targeting options if you’re creating a new ad group to retain the option of choosing between Target and Observation.

Within your ad group, select Settings and then Edit ad group targeting.

  • If you don’t see the option to Edit ad group targeting, be sure you’re in settings for your ad group rather than at the campaign level.

Click Narrow Targeting button and complete the section to define your targeting, then click Done to save your work.

Targeting narrows your reach by serving only to your selected methods, which can include audiences, demographics, topics, placements and keywords.

Keywords and Demographics can only be set as targeting. Audiences, Topics and Placements can also be used as observations instead of targeting, but they can’t be used as both.

Click Add Observations and complete the section to define your observations, then click Done to save your work.

Observations don’t restrict who can see your ad, but they create segments that allow you to review performance and adjust bids.

Observations can include Audiences, Topics and Placements as long as those methods aren’t used in Targeting.

Set your targeting expansion to Restrict or Expand reach to determine how often your ad is seen by users beyond your defined audience.

If you have precisely defined ad groups based on targeting or remarketing, you’ll want to adjust this setting to “off” so that your reach matches your intended audience.