Google Ads Targeting: How to Build More Effective Campaigns

Jumping into the various types of targeting in Google Ads can be a daunting task. If you've had trouble building out a good ad campaign, take a look at our list of tips that highlight examples of the most common types of targeting. And, why your ad campaigns should be utilizing each.

Google Ads Targeting Options Graphic


Choose words or phrases relevant to your product or service; your ads appear when customers search for those terms on Google or search-partner sites.

By showing ads to users that searched with keywords relating to your brand, dealership, vehicle makes or models, you’ll know the placement of the text ad is aligned with the goal of the searcher.

Language and Location

Choose the language—targeting a specific language can lower your cost-per-click—and geographic locations—such as a country, region or city—where your customers are located.

Customizing ad text and landing pages for the device and language can lead to higher conversion rates.


Show your ads to the right people across all devices based on their specific location, time of day, and device type.

Mobile shoppers are different than desktop shoppers. Targeting a specific device can help you make a more effective call to action, which can lead to higher conversion rates and more showroom traffic.

RLSA (Remarketing Lists for Search Ads)

Show your ads to people who have previously visited your site.

This type of targeting can be used to convince people who have visited your site once to come back, while also giving you another chance to close the deal and convert them into a customer.

Customer Match

Show your ads to previous customers by uploading customer emails to Google Ads.

Previous customers know your company, brand, and products. Targeting these consumers is a cost-effective way to re-ignite your existing customer base.

Targeting for the Google Display Network:

The Google Display Network, or GDN, gives you the opportunity to reach potential customers by placing display advertisements (image or animated) on thousands of news sites, blogs and an assortment of other websites. Below you'll see a list of useful GDN targeting options.


With contextual targeting, ads are displayed on websites that have content and ideas related to targeted keywords in your ad group.

By showing ads to users that are viewing or have viewed pages about your brand, you’ll know the placement of the ad is aligned with the content the user is viewing.


Topic targeting is used to place ads on a variety of Display Network pages containing content related to pre-designated topics, interests and subjects.

By targeting the “Autos & Vehicles” topic, for instance, you enable your ad to appear on any Google Display Network website or that includes content about cars or other automotive themes. You can also select more precise subtopics, such as Trucks & SUVs, Commercial Vehicles or Motorcycles.

Language and Location

Choose the language and geographic locations—such as a country, region or city—where your customers are located.

Location targeting helps you focus your advertising on the areas where you’ll find the right customers, resulting in a potential increase in campaign efficiency. We suggest you choose the region where your customers live and where your business can serve them.


Do you already know which websites your customers visit? Placement targeting lets you put your message on exactly those sites—and on videos, RSS feeds, and mobile sites, too.

If you sell used cars, you can choose a website about used cars (that’s the placement targeting) and then use Google contextual targeting to automatically find relevant pages on which to display your ads. The choice, and the power, is yours.


Choose to show ads to your customers when they visit Display Network sites only on desktop and laptop computers, or only on iPhones and Android devices—or on all of these.

If your potential shoppers are on a mobile device, you can have custom landing pages that would lend themselves to a higher conversion rate based on the device in use.


The ability to target customers based on specific demographic groups, including gender, age and parental status.

If your customer base skews toward a particular age range or gender, you can use demographic targeting to show ads specifically to those people. For example, if your products are expensive, young people may be less likely to buy them, so you'd exclude the age range of 18-24 and focus your budget only on your best customers.


People who have already visited your site are shown your ads as they browse other sites on the Google Display Network.

When it comes to convincing the people who visit your site to take action and convert, one visit is typically not enough. Remarketing gives you a chance to bring back indecisive customers with tailored ads and offers that relate to the experience they had on your site. With remarketing, you get another chance to close the deal.


Reach potential customers while they’re actively researching and comparing products, regardless of what site they’re currently visiting.

In-market audiences can drive incremental conversions, helping you to connect with consumers as the last step before they make a purchase decision. This is a particularly important Google Ads target for auto dealership PPC campaigns. Ask us how we use in-market targeting to help our dealerships see more ROI on their paid ads.


Affinity audiences consist of aggregated consumers who have demonstrated a qualified interest in a particular topic.

Affinity audiences allow you to reach and connect with an enthusiastic audience of consumers likely to love your brand, on a massive scale. You can purchase and reach audiences the same way as you would on TV, helping to keep the process of online buying simple and familiar.

Customer Match

Show your ads to previous customers by uploading customer emails to Google Ads.

We all know that the best customer is an existing customer. Target previous buyers with specific creative to bring them back in your showroom or service drive.

Topics: Automotive, Digital Experience