Google recently released Display Content Keywords, formerly known as Display Select Keywords (DSK), as a targeting method for the Google Display Network (GDN). Using the same algorithm that powers Google Search results, Google’s aggregated “Search Query to Page Matching” function matches “Content Keywords” to relevant pages across the GDN with more accuracy than regular display keywords, now known as “Audience Keywords.”

Your options for targeting users across the web just expanded significantly. Image via Pexels.

Your options for targeting users across the web just expanded significantly, and you won’t have to create your own billboard. Image via Pexels.

Why is it important?

The Google Display Network isn’t just a brand-awareness channel. For many advertisers, traditional GDN targeting can drive direct conversions through display ads. Display Content Keywords’ highly-selective keyword targeting gives direct ROI-focused advertisers an opportunity to grow revenue or leads through the GDN. Display Content Keywords also offer the ability to reach a more qualified audience when building brand awareness and filling the top of the purchase funnel.

How do I set it up?

Content Keywords function differently from Audience Keywords, and as such, your strategy for selecting display keywords will differ as well. For a traditional Audience Keyword-targeted ad group, I recommend overlaying 10-12 keywords in an ad group together with an additional targeting method, such as an Interest or In-Market segment.

Display Content Keywords function more similarly to Search campaigns. As such, you can simply copy over your best-performing Search ad groups to your Display Content Keywords campaign, taking the guesswork out of selecting appropriate Display Keywords. After you copy over the Search ad groups to your Display campaign, the keywords will be set to “Audience” by default, so you will need to change the setting at the ad group level to “Content.”

From the ad group level, navigate to the Display Network tab and select “+ Targeting.”


From this menu, select your Display Keywords and change the setting from Audience to Content.


Voila! You’re now using Display Content Keywords.

Does it work?

Initial testing has been promising for Display Content Keywords. With just a month or two of testing, Display Content Keywords have reached high-quality placements, and in several cases drive ROI and CPA better than traditional Display targeting. I recommend testing Display Content Keywords alongside your existing traditional Display efforts. This is an exciting new feature from Google, and it’s definitely worth testing to see if it can drive results for you.