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Every business caters to a certain section of potential customers. Many customers read the content (about you/your company) available on the web, before associating themselves with you. To do all this, Google Adwords provides some really helpful tools. Till now you were able to target keywords, to show your ads on relevant webpages. But now, you will be able to target topics ( yes, Topics! ) to promote your ads and brand name.

How will this “new topic targeting tool” help ?

With this new targeting option, you’ll be able to select from over 1,750 topics to target your ads. This will help you in reaching out to a broad spectrum of potential audience in the webspace.

According to Google, “Topic targeting is an easy way of placing your AdWords ads on multiple pages about a specific topic at once. Targeting by topics is an alternative to selecting individual placements where your ad can appear, or individual keywords that will trigger your ad.”

How is Topic targeting different from Keyword targeting?

In a blogpost, Google Adwords explains topic targeting as “using topics to contextually target your ads offers broad targeting and reach and is a good way to connect with a large audience quickly and easily to generate awareness or drive sales. When using topic targeting, our system looks at all the terms on a page to determine the topic of the page and is less reliant on particular keywords. On the other hand, using keywords to contextually target allows you to target your ads to a more specific set of pages in the Display Network, since you use individual keywords to develop a theme in your ad groups. However, both targeting options can be used together to effectively reach an audience across the Google Display Network”.

Let us take an example. Suppose your company sells footwear products. The screenshot below shows the topic targeting options, that will help you to trigger your campaign.

This is just an example of how you can use topic targeting together to build awareness, increase consideration, and drive sales. You can furthur use sub-topics that are relevant to your main topic to refine your targeting.

When keyword and topic targeting are used together, the ad will appear on contextually relevant pages on the Display Network (based on the keywords). Whenever the ad is contextually matched to specific pages associated with the targeted topics, the topic bid is used. (For example, you can bid up or down on topics and still show across the Display Network on other pages contextually related to your keywords.)

In a blogpost, Search Engine Land explains the ways in which topic targeting can improve your display advertising. In a nutshell, topic targeting can be useful in the following scenario:

What are some best practices recommended by Google for using Topic Targeting ?

Firstly, make new campaigns for topic targeted ad groups. This is because you want specialized traffic from relevant webpages and potential customers. Keep your campaigns set to “Relevant pages only on the placements, audiences, and topics I manage”.

Secondly, separate each topic into a different ad group. This is because you won’t be able to see which topics drive your appearance on which websites any other way within AdWords.

Thirdly, select straightforward topics. You have to choose a topic that is of general interest, lead-generating yet specific.

Next, implement conversion tracking. This means that everytime you implement your campaign, track your performance as your conversion data will guide you. This will also help you understand how individual topics are converting.

Using AdPlanner would also help, as it will enable you to see the sites where your ads may appear for specific topics.

Choose relevant sub-topics for your ad groups rather than adding general, top-level topics. When targeting a top-level topic, target its sub-topics, too. This will give you more specific reporting.

Use topics and keywords together. It will help you in reaching more relevant users who would be hard to reach with either individually.

To learn more about Contextual Targeting Using Topics on the Google Display Network, watch the following video.

We will review and share more on Topic Targeting. Till then, if you have any experience with topic targeting in your ppc campaigns, feel free to share it with us. We would love to hear it.

About The Author

Dave Thompson works at, a White Label Software + Services provider for online marketing agencies.