What is ad targeting?

Ad targeting is the process of narrowing down the available ad pool from many ads to just one single ad to display. This process is done automatically by the ad server for every single ad request. The targeting criteria are setup by the ad operations team from advertiser's requirements and also from publisher's sales planning. It can be very simple or very powerful. Powerful ad targeting does not invade visitor's privacy if it is used appropriately. It can deliver interesting and relevant ads to the visitor, which might be what he/she is looking for. Frequency capping can be used to avoid displaying the same ad to the same visitor too many times.

Simple - Ad Targeting

You can limit an ad to display only to visitors from Chicago, USA. This is geo-targeting. People from other cities will not see this ad. The restriction has a direct meaning to the ad as specified by your advertiser.

Simple - Zone Targeting

You can limit all ads within a zone to visitors from Chicago, USA. People from other cities will fall back to the secondary zone. This secondary zone contains ads for other cities.

Simple - Group Targeting

A marketing event in Chicago has several ads spreading across different zones. It means the ads can be in different content sections, categories or ad placements. You group all ads for this event into a group. Then, you can limit all ads within this group to visitors from Chicago, USA. People from other cities will not see any ads in this group.

Advanced - Four-Layer Zone Chaining

You can combine multiple targeting scenarios into one complex setup. There are four zones chained together:
  1. Exclusive: an advertiser wants to buy the full inventory for a placement for a month. For this zone, there is maximum one ad here at any given time. When there is no exclusive deal, there is no active ad in this zone.
  2. Premium: few advertisers share this zone, which displays more frequent and can have more targeting criteria than a Standard zone.
  3. Standard: this zone often contains ads that pay less than premium, ads from networks, or longer-term ad deals
  4. Default/Remnant: this zone often contains in-house ads or public service ads. These ads should have few or no restriction to fall back in case ads from all above zones can not be displayed.
Ads in any of these zones can have its own targeting criteria and also inherit restrictions from linked groups and/or campaigns.
September 16, 2010