Reach a larger or new audience with GDN targeting

Reach a larger or new audience with GDN targeting

Find out how Google Display Network targeting can help you reach larger or new audiences across websites and apps based on user interests and demographics.

You know that your ads can show up to users who look for your keywords. But did you also know that you can decide who sees your ads based on their interests and their demographic data? Google Display Network targeting allows you to choose the audience that will see your ads based on who they are and what they like. By reaching tailored audiences beyond the search results page, you may be able to reach a larger or even a new audience altogether.

If you’ve ever seen an ad on a website in a banner or a small box to the side of articles or videos, you’ve seen a display ad! The Google Display Network (GDN) is a collection of over 2 million websites and apps, reaching over 90% of Internet users across the globe (source). GDN ads are different from search ads because they target users while they visit other websites or apps, rather than just on the search engine results page. AdWords users must opt-in to take advantage of Google Display Network targeting features, and AdWords can then find the best places for your ad across the GDN based on your preferences.

To add Google Display Network targeting to your campaigns, you need to create campaigns that include the GDN. To do this, log in to your Google AW account, click on “Campaigns” and then click the “New Campaign” button. Next, select “Display Network only” as the campaign type. You can then set your preferred AdWords audience targeting based on their interests and demographics.

Google Display Network targeting can help you reach larger or new audiences across websites and apps.

How to target people based on interests

One of the benefits of AdWords is its ability to help you customize which people you'd like to see your ads based on whether they are interested in your products or services. This way, when they’re on websites that are similar to yours, they’ll see your ads through the Google Display Network. There are three helpful categories of Google Display Network targeting that you can choose from within your AdWords account.

  • Affinity Audiences: Affinity audiences include 80 different groups of consumers who like similar things. For example, “sports fans,” “auto enthusiasts,” or “gamers.” Choose to show your ads to one or more of these audiences to reach groups of people who may not otherwise see your ads.
  • Custom Affinity Audiences: Narrower than affinity audiences, you can choose a custom set of audience keywords to whom you can show your ads. For example, if you own a running shoe store, instead of choosing “sports fans” as an affinity audience, you can type in words like “marathon training,” “beginning runners,” and “running tips.” People visiting websites that contain these keywords will then see your ads. You can also add specific URLs that avid runners might visit, like or
  • In-Market Audiences: This category targets customers who are actively researching products and considering products or services similar to yours. They are further along in their purchase journey than the Custom Affinity Audiences, so they may have running shoes in their shopping cart on a website or are looking for particular running shoes.

Easily add these audience targets to your ad groups within your AdWords campaigns. After creating your “Display Network Only” campaign, select “No Marketing Objective” and “All Features.” Next, at the ad group level, select the “Interests & Remarketing” button. From the dropdown menu, you can select the different types of audiences for your campaign.

How to target demographic groups

Targeting your ads to certain demographic groups that better represent your customers can help improve your return on investment. The AdWords audience demographic groups include:

  • Age: “18-24,” “25-34,” “35-44,” “45-54,” “55-64,” “65 or more,” and “Unknown”
  • Gender: “Female,” “Male,” and “Unknown”
  • Parental status: “Parent,” “Not a Parent,” and “Unknown”

If your business caters to a particular age, gender, or parental status, then refining your Google Display Network targeting with demographics will help narrow the audience who sees your ads. This way, your ads aren’t being shown to people who may not be interested in your products or services. For example, if your business carries strollers and baby nursery decorations, you may want to target the “Parent” demographic group.

If your business caters to a particular age, gender, or parental status, then refining your Google Display Network targeting with demographics will help narrow the audience who sees your ads.

You can combine the demographic targeting with the previously mentioned Custom Affinity Audiences and In-Market Audiences to reach a narrower customer base. Keep in mind, a narrower customer target may prevent a large number of people from seeing your ads. It is helpful, however, for reaching the right audience for your business.

In addition, you can exclude specific demographic groups from seeing your ads. If shoppers at your business tend to be a certain age, like senior citizens, you can opt to exclude all age groups from seeing your ads except “65 or more.”

To target by demographic, go to the Display Network tab in “Campaigns” in your AdWords account, click the “+ targeting” button, and choose the ad groups to which you’d like to add demographic categories. From there you can click “Add Targeting” and check the boxes for the demographics you want to target.

When you target by user interest or demographic, you can start reaching a new or more specific AdWords audience for your business. Try adding these features to your GDN campaigns to help bring more visitors to your website.

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