How to Implement Behavior Targeting in DFP

DoubleClick For Publishers / Google Ad Manager Ad Optimization
Last updated: September 5, 2019 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on September 5th, 2019

‘Behavior targeting’ is an advertiser targeting based on a web user’s browsing behavior.  For instance, if a user’s behavior is categorized as a tech enthusiast, showing that person tech-related ads would increase the chances of the response.

By using behavioral targeting, ads that display are relevant to the user and not related to page content. This is a powerful method for advertisers to target users that are more likely interested in their products.

Related Read: How to Track Demographic Data on Google Analytics for Better Ad Targeting

How is behavior known?

  • Cookie/Browsing history
  • Online registration (e.g. e-commerce sites, social media)
  • Deep packet inspection by ISP’s

Behavior targeting using Doubleclick for Publishers

Create a line item or edit an existing one. Towards the bottom, you’ll see the section ‘Add targeting’ — this is where you can customize the setup by which you would like a particular line item to deliver the ads. Remember that targeting is done at the line item level only. In case you need certain targeting criteria for a specific creative, you should create a separate line item with its own targeting setup.

1) Inventory

You can target specific ad units or placements in your inventory. By default, the setup is run of network, which means the line item is targeting all the inventory units in your network.

  1. To target specific ad units, click ‘Inventory’ under the ‘Add Targeting’ section.
  2. Filter by typing a keyword or simply browse
  3. Click ‘Include’ next to the ad unit or placement you wish the line item to target

inventory targeting

Related Read: DFP Cheat Sheet for Beginners: Creating Ad Units

2) Custom Criteria

In order to use this option, you will have to first create key-values in DFP’s Inventory tab. Here’s how: You will then have to include those key-values in your DFP ad tag. If for example a line item is set to target that key-value, DFP will only serve ads to the tag containing the key-value (assuming that other targeting criteria matches the tag).

By default, you are limited to 20 keys and 200 values for each key. It could be higher depending on your network.
With custom targeting, you can target your line items to certain demographic groups or to very specific areas of your site.

Related Read: How to Implement Custom Targeting Within DFP

custom criteria

3) Geography

You can have a line item serve or not serve ads to specific countries, cities, regions, US metro areas, Canadian postal code prefixes or US zip codes. You may have a combined setup: for instance, you target the country: US + city: Paris. You can also exclude options. For example, you target country: US but exclude city: New York.


4) Devices

You may target specific devices or browsers your visitors are using:


  1. Browser: Firefox, Android, Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Chrome, etc.
  2. Browser language
  3. Device capability: Mobile apps, MRAID v1, Phone calls
  4. Device Category: Desktop, Feature phone, Smartphone, Tablet
  5. Manufacturer or device
  6. Operating system: Android, Apple iOS, Blackberry, Microsoft Windows, etc.

5) Connection

You can target users’ bandwidth, mobile carrier, or domain.


  1. Bandwidth: Mobile carrier, DSL, Dial-up, Broadband, Cable
  2. Mobile carrier: AT&T, Charter, Sprint, Telstra, Verizon, and many more
  3. User domain: Line items can be set to target specific domains or subdomains of the Internet Service Providers used by your users to access the internet. For instance, if you target .edu, you are targeting the staff or students of a certain school/university. If you target, Google employees are being targeted.

To exclude any option, click the drop-down button next to ‘Include’ and choose the option ‘Exclude’. Once a targeting criterion is set, should you decide to revoke a certain selection, you may click ‘x’ right next to the label or to start all over again, click ‘reset’.

geography targeting

6) Day & Time

You may specify which days of the week and hours of the day the line item can be delivered. This is an optional section within the line item settings under ‘Adjust Delivery’. This is helpful, especially when, for example, you intend to target users during peak hours when they are mostly online or when the ad performance is known to be good.

Click ‘Edit’ in line with ‘Day and Time’ to implement this setting.

day and time

If you need expert DFP ad optimization management, turn to MonetizeMore – the leader in website ad optimization. Contact us for a free consultation to find out more.

Related Reads:

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