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Reach a larger or new audience with Google Display Network targeting

Back to all resources

Reach a larger or new audience with Google Display Network targeting

Key take-aways

Display ads are ads that are shown on the articles, videos, or websites that consumers browse. With Google Ads, you may serve your ads on the Google Display Network, a collection of over two million websites that reach over 90% of Internet users across the globe. Read on to learn how this works.

1. Search ads vs Display ads

2. How to start using Display ads

3. How to reach customers based on interest

4. How to reach customers based on demographics

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is an advertising service by Google that allows businesses to display ads on Google search results and its advertising network.

Try Google Ads now

If your business caters to a particular age, gender, or parental status, refine your Google Display Network targeting with demographics to target the right audience.

1. Search ads vs Display ads

While 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.

When running Display ads, you might not reach those who are actively searching for what you offer. That said, you’re still introducing your business to a specific target audience who is likely to be interested in your products or services. This may help you to reach a larger or completely new audience than simply through search.

What is GDN?

Google Display Network (GDN) is a group of more than 2 million websites, videos, and apps where your Google Ads can appear.

2. How to start using targeted Display ads

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 means your ad can show up on sites related to your business, or to users who match the specific criteria that you’ve specified.

If you aren’t already running ads on the Google Display Network as part of your Google Ads account, here’s how you can do so:

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

From here, 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 ways to show ads to users and how to set them, keep reading.

3. How to reach customers based on interest

Interest targeting is exactly what it sounds like – it allows you to show your ad to people who are interested in your products and services, or those who engage in activities 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.

Custom Affinity Audiences

To narrow your targeting even further, create your own custom audience using keywords.

If you’re running ads for your running shoe shop, you might use keywords such as "marathon training", "beginner runners", and "running tips". When you set up your custom audiences, your ads will be shown to people visiting websites that contain these keywords.

You can also add specific URLs that runners might visit, like or, to target sites where you would like your ad to show up.

In-Market Audiences

With In-Market Audiences, you can identify customers who are actively looking at products or services similar to yours. Running with the same example, these might be customers who have added running shoes to their shopping cart while browsing a website, or those who have browsed numerous sites related to running shoes.

Did you know?

You can advertise on Google Maps with Google Ads, helping you attract local customers when they search for a business like yours.

Read more

4. How to reach customers based on demographics

Aside from targeting customers based on their interests, you may also base your targeting on demographics. These 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"

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 focus on 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 majority of your customers are senior citizens and want to focus exclusively on this segment, you can set up your campaign to exclude all age groups except "65 or more".

Bear in mind that the more specific you are with your targeting, the fewer people will see your ads. Test various combinations of targeting to see which brings you the most conversions.

To set demographic targeting in your campaign:

  • Go to the Display Network tab in your Google Ads 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


For those who want to grow their businesses and reach out to a wider audience, Display ads are a great solution. Make sure you serve your ads to consumers who are likely to convert by using Google Display Network targeting, and narrow down your audience based on their interests and demographics.

Sign up for Google Ads today

  • 1. Create an account
  • 2. Set your budget
  • 3. Write your first ad and decide where it's going to appear