Navitas Marketing Logo
October 12, 2020

Posted by: Leonardo Moura


Google AdSense: Targeting and Restriction Options for Website Publishers

Google AdSense offers a way for publishers to earn money from their online content. AdSense works by matching ads, which are created and paid for by advertisers who want to promote their products, to websites based on their content and their visitors. It can serve publishers’ content sites such as text, images, video, or interactive media advertisements that are targeted to the sites content and audience. These advertisements are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google. AdSense offers publishers different targeting types for their ads, which is what we will go over today.


Contextual Targeting

Once a site is crawled and indexed, AdSense will examine the sites’ content to determine exactly what it exactly is about and try and match Google Ads to each page. The more text-based content on a page, the easier it will be for specific Google Ads to serve. For instance, a travel blog with a lot of text-based content about travelling to different countries is more likely to get travel-related ads to show up more frequently, as opposed to an image-based site where AdSense has less to digest. The easier a publisher’s site is laid out with complete sentences and paragraphs, the easier time Google’s crawler will have of understanding the website. It considers certain factors such as keyword analysis, word frequency, font size, and the overall link structure of the web, to determine what a webpage is about and precisely match Google Ads to each page.

Placement Targeting

Advertisers will sometimes choose a specific ad placement, a site or group of ad units within a site, to run their ads. This means that the ads served in these placements may not be specifically related to a sites content, but they are specifically picked by advertisers who have matched the website’s user base’s interests to what they offer. Depending on the placement set up, this placement could be the entire website or a specific selection of ad units.

One of the ways ads are targeted to AdSense publishers' sites is through placement targeting. Placement targeting allows Google Ads advertisers to choose specific sites where they would like their ads to appear. Based on the website’s URL, placement targeting allows advertisers to choose specific ad placements, or subsections of publisher websites, on which to run their ads. Ads that are placement-targeted may not be precisely related to the content of a page but are hand-picked by advertisers, who can determine a match between what the users are interested in and what they have to offer. It is important to note that all publisher websites in the AdSense network are automatically offered as a placement to advertisers, which will stay like this unless publishers set up their own placements on their site.

Personalized Targeting

Personalized advertising enables advertisers to reach users based on their interests, demographics, and other criteria. Personalized targeting type reports may include contextual targeting when user data, such as cookie ID, is not available. If “Non-personalized ads” is selected in the user consent settings, Personalized targeting type ads might still be seen even though user data is not being used. Even though personalized targeting targets specific users based on their cookie ID and Google Account if the user opts into these features, this targeting type may also include contextual targeting when access to user data is lacking. Another way of advertising to users is by looking at their interests and demographics. Google does this by looking at a user’s Google Account. This will show which items they have searched for and which websites they have browsed, as well as their activity on other devices they run google apps from. To opt out of personalized advertising, users can change their controls in Ads Settings.

Run of Network Targeting

Lastly, Run of Network allows advertisers to target all sites in the AdSense network, except explicitly excluded sites, according to the available inventory. It is also important to note that when targeting users with Run of Network, ads that are simply displayed across an entire site, and ‘none’ or ’other’ will show up on reports, even though these tend to make up a significantly smaller portion of a site’s revenue. In all, Google AdSense allows publishers to block ads which may not be appropriate to their websites, customize where ads appear, and choose which ad types best fit the website.

Tell us what you think!