How to Setup Creative Level Targeting in DFP

How to Setup Creative Level Targeting in DFP

The usual and old practice when creating line items in DFP is to upload at least one creative per size, per line item. Depending on the setup, you can add up to 20+ line items to accommodate the desired targeting.

Creative level targeting lets you target each creative to its own set of criteria. You can reduce the overall number of line items by directly targeting multiple creatives within a single line item.

This also allows you to track aggregate impressions for campaigns with varied targeting.

Here are the steps for creative level targeting:

Step 1: Open Delivery tab.

Step 2: Open Order.

Step 3: Create Line item and give it a name.

Step 4: Under Inventory Sizes, click link “Target creatives and help forecast available inventory.”

inventory sizes

Step 5: Enter the size of each creative and the number of creatives for each size (this allows for better forecasting). Enter the count based on the targeted inventory. If you plan to target two ad units, each with 300×250 sizes, input 2 for the count.

inventory size selection

Step 6: Click Add Targeting.

Step 7: Create a name to describe targeting for the creative (The name will be listed in the line item view).

creative targeting

Step 8: Once your targeting criteria have been created, the name cannot be edited. If you want to change the name, you have to delete the targeting and add a new one.

Step 9: Target as applicable: Inventory, KVP (key-value pairs), geographical location, Devices, and Connection.

Step 10: You have the option to set the selected targeting as a preset.


Step 11: Give it a name and click save.

Step 12: Once done, click save.

US Chrome

Step 13: The preset can now be loaded from the Targeting Preset box.

targeting preset

Step 14: The creative targeting name is now listed under Creative Targeting column.

inventory sizes

Note: This is specific to this Line Item only – it won’t be available with other Line Items.

Step 15: Click the Add Size button to target the next creative.

ad size

Step 16: Finish setting up the rest of the line item settings, then save & upload creatives for each size.

Step 17: Next, you’ll need to open the line item where an alert for missing creative sizes will be shown.

ad sizes

Step 18: You should at least have one creative per size and targeting rule combination.

target ad unit size

Note: Depending on the count you specified for each size & targeting rule combination, you should upload as many creatives.

The creative should be a subset of the line item. See the following examples:

Scenarios wherein the creative WON’T serve:

  1. If the creative criteria are inconsistent with the line item criteria, the creative won’t serve (an example is where the line item targets Canada and the creative targets the UK)
  2. If line item targets AdUnit1, creative targets AdUnit2 – creative won’t serve

Scenarios wherein the creative CAN serve:

  1. If the line item targets the United States, the creative can target Texas.
  2. The line item doesn’t have device targeted (means it targets all devices), creative targets mobile.

If targeting a particular ad unit, both the line item and creative must target the particular ad unit.

Watch the video below for more information:


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Kean Graham

CEO and Founder at MonetizeMore

Kean has been a pioneer in the AdTech world since 2010 who believes in the supremacy of direct publisher deals, programmatic advertising, and building ad technology as keys to scaling ad revenue. Here, he provides publisher resources and guides covering areas like website monetization, AdSense optimization, Google Ad Manager, Ad Exchanges, and much more.

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