Digital Reach
By Digital Reach | SEM | August 5, 2015

Topics & Interests in the Display Network

Before we get into what topics and interests are on the display network, let’s talk a bit about what the display network is.

On the Display Network Your Options are Open

The display network is a collection of over a million websites, apps, blogs and other destinations that show AdWords ads, giving you the opportunity to reach 80% of all internet users world-wide. The difference between the search network and the display network is that on the display network you have the ability to place images.


On the display network you can target specific people that share interests and topics related to your business or products with image ads that increase the opportunity for them to visit your website. The display network matches your keywords list to sites and forums that match the theme of your business/products.

By targeting themed websites, your ad has relevance to what people are looking for and increases your chance to gain conversions. You can read more about the display network and how to set it up for your business here.

Making use of Topics & Interests

Let’s say you sell expensive automobiles. You want people to see your ad who are interested in buying expensive cars and trucks. This is where we make use of topics and interests. You’ll want to be able to filter out websites to show you images that have nothing to do with your high-end cars, so you aren’t wasting your hard earned advertising budget marketing to people that are looking for European vacations. It is also just as important to exclude topics and interests as it is to include them. When you are targeting an audience often advertisers don’t understand the difference between targeting and interest targeting.

Topics target the content of a specific page

By targeting a specific topic, you make your ad eligible to appear on any Display Network website or other placement that includes content about your topic theme. You can also select more precise subtopics. So from selling expensive cars you can further dictate that you sell SUVs and Trucks.

Interests target the attributes of a specific person

For example, if the sites a person visits have a majority of female visitors (based on aggregated survey data on site visitation), Google may associate the person’s cookie with the female demographic category.  Using our expensive car example above a man might be more interested in a Land Rover Range Rover where a woman might go for the Aston Martin DB9

Google further breaks down audiences into three groups:

  • Affinity Audiences
  • Custom Affinity Audiences
  • In-market Audiences

You can read more in-depth Google’s definitions on these categories here at Google Support.


Custom Combinations

Google also allows you to create custom combinations. This can come in very handy when you’re targeting a group of people (say men over 45) who are interested in the Range Rover but also looked at the Aston Martin. Say that you want to offer a special price to people who buy both automobiles as a set, but these products are in different URLs, what do you do?

You can create a list of people who visited both sites. One list of “people who visited the Land Rovers” and a third list of “people who visited Aston Martins.” Then you could create a custom combination to reach people who saw both. Pinpointing the target audience will save you valuable advertising dollars by focusing your efforts on the largest population that will actually convert in the end.

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