How To Target Pages on the Google Display Network

A reader who just joined the Vitruvian Way Café just asked a question on the forum about how to target pages on the Display network. Nobody is searching for keywords, so how do you tell Google on what pages to show your ads?

My forum reply:

For Display campaigns, you can target pages in many different ways. The most basic is to select keywords. Then Google goes out and finds pages in the Display network that contain content about those keywords. You know when you do a search and you see something at the top about “35,000,000 results in 1.09 seconds” – some of those pages run AdSense, and your ads will appear on some of those.

You can also select pages on the Display network directly, by adding them to “managed placements.” If you like the way a site is performing for you, add it to managed placements so you can be assured of continued exposure. Also, you can adjust the bid of a managed placement, but not for a keyword-triggered automatic one.


There are other ways to target pages on the Display network, like audiences (a particular demographic plus interests, whom you can show ads to even on pages unrelated to the subject of your ad). In the screenshot below, I’m targeting people whom Google has identified as being fans of martial arts movies. They’ll see my ads even if they’re on a site devoted to iPad cases or workflow software.

Audience targeting on Google Display Network


And topics, which cover broad subject areas. For example, you can select the entire Arts & Entertainment topic, or drill down into Movies, then Action Movies, then Martial Arts movies. In the following screenshot, I’m targeting pages about martial arts movies.

Topic targeting on Google Display network

Targeting Leverage Beyond AdWords

One of the benefits of using Audiences and Topics is the powerful metrics you can get quite quickly and cheaply, which you can use to improve any Facebook advertising you might be doing. (You can also do it in reverse, using Facebook ads to identify strong veins of interest in the Google Display network.


Want to ask questions and get answers directly from the authors of Google AdWords For Dummies and our team? Join the Vitruvian Way Café. Free for 49 days, and no credit card required to join.

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