Reach a Larger or New Audience with Google Display Network Targeting

Reach a Larger or New Audience with Google Display Network 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.

If you've ever seen an advert in a banner or a small box on a website that you were browsing, article that you were reading, or video that you were watching online, then you've seen a display ad. With AdWords, you have the option of showing display ads on the Google Display Network, a collection of over two million websites that reach over 90% of Internet users across the globe.

While AdWords search ads show up to potential customers the moment that they start looking on Google for what you offer, display ads show up while people are visiting sites across the Google Display Network. So, how do you know if the people seeing your display ad are interested in what you offer?

Google Display Network targeting allows you to set where or when your ad is shown based on features of your ideal audience, such as their personal interests, age or gender. This way your ad can show up on sites related to your business, or to users who match the AdWords audience targeting that you’ve set as they browse sites on the network.

The benefit is that while someone may or may not be looking for what you offer at that exact moment, you’re still introducing your business, service or product to people who are more likely to be interested and inspired to click your ad to find out more by visiting your website. This might help you to reach a larger or completely new audience than simply through search.

How to start using targeted display ads

If you aren’t already running ads on the Google Display Network as part of your AdWords account, just:

  • Log into your AdWords account
  • Click on “Campaigns,” and then “New Campaign”
  • Select "Display Network only" as the campaign type

You can then select the types of Google Display Network targeting that you’d like to include as part of your campaign. To find out about the different types of audience-based targeting available and how to set them, keep reading.

Target customers based on interest

Interest targeting is exactly what it sounds like – you choose to show your ad to people based on the fact that they seem to be interested in your products, services or pastimes related to your business. There are three categories of interest targeting you can choose from:

  • Affinity Audiences: This includes 80 different groups based on interests or hobbies, such as "sports fans", "auto enthusiasts", or "gamers". You can choose to show your ads to one or more of these audiences, depending on which you think could be drawn to your business.
  • Custom Affinity Audiences: Narrower than affinity audiences, you can create your own custom audience by using keywords. If you own a running shoe shop, instead of choosing "sports fans" as an affinity audience, you can type in words like "marathon training", "beginner runners", and "running tips". Your advert could then show up to people who are visiting websites that contain these keywords. You can also add specific URLs that runners might visit, like or, as a way of targeting sites where you would like your ad to possibly show up.
  • In-Market Audiences: This targets customers who are actively looking at products or services similar to yours. They may have running shoes in their shopping basket on a website or are looking at particular running shoes on different sites, triggering your ad to show up.

To add this AdWords audience targeting to your campaign:

  • You’ve already created your "Display Network Only" campaign, as explained above
  • Select "No Marketing Objective" and "All Features"
  • At the ad group level, select "Interests & Remarketing”
  • From the dropdown menu, you can select the different types of audiences you’d like to target in your campaign

Target demographic groups

Targeting by demographic groups lets you pick the audience that you would ideally like to show your advert to by kinds of personal characteristics. You can target your ads to these demographic groups:

  • 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 one or a combination of these particular groups, then refining your Google Display Network targeting by demographic will help narrow the audience who sees your ads, to better help you reach only people who may be interested in what you have to offer.

You can combine demographic targeting with affinity audiences and in-market audiences to reach a narrower, even more relevant customer base. For example, if you own a baby boutique and want to promote your prams designed for jogging, you might target the "Parent" demographic group along with affinity groups based on running, fitness and athletics.

You can also exclude specific demographic groups from seeing your ads. If you know the great majority of your customers are senior citizens and want to use your budget trying to reach only people in that age group, you can set your campaign to exclude all age groups from seeing your ads except "65 or more".

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.

Bear in mind though, that the more targets that you apply, the fewer people will see your ads. Test combinations of targets to see which bring in the most business.

To set demographic targeting in your campaign:

  • Go to the Display Network tab in your AdWords account
  • Click the "+ Targeting" button, and choose the ad groups to which you'd like to add demographic categories
  • Click "Add Targeting" and check the boxes for the demographics you want to target

If you’re interested in running display ads to get the word out across a wider part of the Web, consider using Google Display Network targeting as part of your campaigns. You might just reach a new or bigger audience of interested potential customers and help your business keep growing.

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