AdWords Display Targeting Options – Layering For The Win

In an earlier section of the GDN training course we talked about all your targeting options.  See . I wanted to take a little time to talk about combining multiple targeting options together to laser in on your target group.

AdWords Display Targeting Options – Layering For The Win is part 8 of our Google Display Training Course found at  All our Adwords Courses can be found on  and our Adwords Search course can be found at

As with the rest of the course we have included a video for you so you can get a full understanding of Layering within Adwords Display

There are 5 main targeting options on GDN.  They are

  • Keywords
  • Interest and Remarketing to include Affinity Audiences, In-Market Audiences, Remarketing Lists, Video Viewers Lists, Customer Email Lists, Similar to Remarketing lists, Similar to Video viewers Lists, Similar to Customer email Lists
  • Topics
  • Placements
  • Demographics

What is Layering?

Layering refers to combing 1 or more targeting options together.  An example of this might me combing Females + the topic games together inside an adgroup.

In this examples your ad will now only show on websites that Google deems to be gaming related and your ad will only show to females.  You could go a step further and layer in keywords or setup an age range.

As you layer your audience you will find that the traffic estimates for your combined targeting group will get smaller and smaller. If you are on a tight and limited budget this might not be a bad thing as you can target the exact audience you want to target.  However you in most cases will not be able to scale your campaign in any meaningful way.

What Elements should I Layer?

Not all targeting options are available in all countries.  With that said I generally tell people to only layer 2 audiences to start.  This might be keywords combined with a Gender or an affinity group combined with keywords.  If you find that you are quickly spending your daily budget and having some decent results you can then try adding on another layer of targeting to help zero in on an audience.

The Down sides of Layering

It’s harder to get significant volumes when you combine targeting options.  Your audience will get smaller and smaller as you combine.  Keep in mind that Conversion Optimizer and Display Optimizer are built in tools inside AdWords that can help you get more leads and sales as your campaign starts to take shape.  If you find you are getting little volume when layering you either need to increase your CPC bids or remove an element of layering.

Negative Targeting Options

Negative targeting Options can be applied on both the Campaign or Adgroup level.  This is a quick and easy way to eliminate targeting that is not working for you or to narrow down targeting off the bat.

You cane Exclude just about all the targeting options.  This means instead of targeting Females you could enter into your campaign and exclude known Males and unknown Genders.

The same cane be done with topics, keywords, affinity audiences, remarketing lists and more.

Campaign Categories

With negative targeting you can also exclude Site Categories that are not relevant or that do not fit in with your Brands image.

Adwords Site category images

Placement Exclusions

It’s worth specifically mentioning placement exclusions.  We will dive more in-depth on this in our optimization video but placement exclusions can be very powerful and worth mentioning now.  A big problem with GDN is you can’t eliminate tablet device traffic.  Because of this you will be flooded with tablet users who are using apps.

This could possibly be a good thing for you but in 90%+ of all cases this is a really bad thing so you will want to add in the negative placement of


What this will do is stop all app traffic for Mobile Adsense on both tablet and mobile devices.  You will still get mobile and tablet traffic but at least it won’t be app traffic.

In the next section of our GDN training we cover AdWords Display Optimization as seen in

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