DFP Cheat Sheet for Beginners: Targeting Line Items

DoubleClick For Publishers / Google Ad Manager Ad Optimization
Last updated: November 24, 2020 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on November 24th, 2020

This is the fourth installment of our new weekly feature: The DFP Cheat Sheet for Beginners. Stay tuned every week for a new post on the step-by-step process of DFP optimization, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for each edition delivered straight to your inbox.

Step 4: Targeting Line Items

Targeting line items will give you full control of where to put your ads and who can view them. This will filter your user base using the given options such as geography, age, and even based on the OS they use to access your site. Though it sounds complicated, completing the targeting step of your DFP implementation is easy as pie.

Related Read: DFP Cheat Sheet for Beginners: Trafficking Orders and Line Items

1) Open your line item and click on the settings tab. You’ll see the targeting criteria when you scroll down to the bottom part of the page.

line item Ad targeting

2) There are several criteria that you can choose to target.


The yellow box gives you the filtered inventory that matches the size you defined. You can choose an ad unit or a placement to target. You can either search directly for the specific ad size or placement you want to target using the search box, or you can choose the placement by selecting from the list and clicking Include.

line item inventory

Custom Criteria

This criteria allows you to set a key-value, meaning your ads will only be served once a visitor matches the key value. In the box, you can select the key (you can have 20 keys and up to 200 values for each of your keys). Select an operator of “is” or “is not” for a positive or negative match, then use the box below for your list of values for each key. You can then add another key by clicking “add” at the bottom part of the box.

line item custom criteria


You can define the filter for your user base to segment by their location — not just the country, but the city as well. In the search box, type the country that you want to target. To choose a specific city, click the country that you have chosen and there will be a list of cities you can choose from. Click Include located at the bottom part of the box.

Line Item Geography


Media-driven advertising means it is especially important to know what type of device people are using to access your site. Luckily, there’s a segment for that. Just click on a category, and the list of options for each will pop up. You can filter by the browser, browser language, device capability, device category, manufacturer/device, and operating system. Once you’ve got each item set, just click “Include”.

Line Item Devices


You can also target viewers based on their bandwidth, mobile carrier, and user domains. Choose the category that you want to target, and the familiar list of options will appear. Search for your choice by typing it in the search box and click Include.

line item devices Connection

So you’ve got all of your filters narrowed down to what you want, but what about what you don’t want? Good news: you can also choose criteria to exclude. For example, you want to target users from all over the world except for, let’s say, Canada. You can just head back over to your Geography tab, search for poor, left-out Canada, and toggle the logic to “Exclude” by clicking the little arrow next to the Include button.

line item exclusion

Note: You can only use the “Exclude” option for Ad Exchange line items.

Before saving and getting your ad tags, be sure to review the criteria you’ve just created. All of your selected criteria will appear on the right-hand side of the criteria box. You can remove criteria from the list by clicking the X, or you can click Reset to go nuclear and delete everything if you just need to start fresh.

Related Read: DFP Cheat Sheet for Beginners: Generating DFP Tags

3) Click “Save”.

save line item DFP


Need help optimizing your ad inventory? MonetizeMore is Google Certified Publisher Partner and can help you take your ad revenue to the next level. Sign up to get started today!

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