Last week, Google announced its latest changes to the Google Display Network campaign settings.

These changes affect ads that are set to appear on the Display Network on “Relevant pages only on placements, audiences, and topics I manage” and that only target keywords in at least one ad group.

If you have not selected placements, audiences and / or topics, and only entered keywords, then your ads will be affected by this change.

Until last week, ads that had been selected to appear on “relevant pages only on placements, audiences, and topics I manage” but hadn’t got any managed placements, audiences, and topics to appear on would not be shown at all.

However Google has now changed the settings and the labelling of the settings as follows:

  •  ‘Relevant pages across the entire network’ has become “Show ads on pages that match the broadest targeting method”. This means Google chooses where to place your ads solely based on your selection of keywords.
  •  ‘Relevant pages only on placements, audiences, and topics I manage’ has become “Show ads only on pages that match all selected targeting methods”. This means that Google shows your ads on web pages the match your selected keywords but also your chosen placements, audiences, and topics.

With these new settings, ads that are set to “Relevant pages only on placements, audiences, and topics I manage” will begin to appear on relevant pages based on the keywords within the ad group even if placements, audiences or topics have not been selected. If placements, audiences and topics have been selected Google will only show the ads on web pages that match your managed criteria but also contextually match your selected keywords.

You do not need to make any changes within your account for them to be affected by these new settings so if you start to see your ads receive a lot more impressions, then it might be because you have opted to show your ads on “relevant pages only on placements, audiences, and topics I manage” but hadn’t chosen any to manage.

This also means that advertisers should make sure that they do select audience, placements and/or topics if they wish to have more control over where their ads are shown as Google could choose some quite random, “contextually” relevant sites if you are not careful.