With over two million websites, the Google Display Network (GDN) is one of the most expansive ways to reach your audience on the Google Ads platform. There are a myriad of ways to target the far-reaching traffic tied to the GDN, which means that what you decide to exclude is just as important as what you’re targeting.

One of the most powerful tools at your disposal are the content exclusion settings. It is imperative for you to take advantage of these settings for your display campaigns, as this will dictate which sites you do not want your content showing on. Opting out of certain categories of websites can help avoid the negative impact to your brand from showing on sites that do not align with your message. Preemptively adding these content exclusions is considered best practice and can also be a quick win if you are seeing poor quality traffic coming through the door.

So, how do you know which content you should exclude? There are few different options to choose from, outlined below.

What are the main segments of content exclusions?
  1. Digital Content Labels: This category is analyzed using Google classification technology, and allows you to see how they rate sites across the GDN for maturity level. If your brand is more kid-friendly, perhaps you should exclude mature audiences. If it is for a more mature crowd, perhaps you’ll want to exclude content suitable for families.
  2. Sensitive Content: This category is rather self explanatory. We generally recommend excluding all categories here, unless your brand is looking to be aligned with sensational, shocking, or otherwise sensitive issues.
  3. Content Type: These exclusions include content such as parked domains and live video streams. Some of these types of content, such as games, have been retired. The others, however, can help you avoid types of content that don’t fit your needs or your users don’t tend to visit. For example, if your audience tends to do a lot of streaming, you may want to leave embedded video or in-stream video content on. However, if your audience has a short attention span and doesn’t do a lot of research beforehand, you may want to exclude below-the-fold, as you don’t want to waste money on ads lower down on a page, where you know your users don’t tend to scroll. This is definitely a section where you will put your persona information to use to meet your potential customers where they’re at (and, conversely, avoiding them where you know they won’t be).
Main segments of content exclusions in google ads

It is important to note that your exclusions can be applied at the account level (which will be applied to all display campaigns) or on a campaign-by-campaign basis, if some require different content exclusions. These can be updated any time in the settings of your display campaigns. Reach out to our team if you’d like to discuss your brand and which content exclusions would work best for you!