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Ad targeting helps you focus a campaign or ad group on potential customers who meet specific criteria, so you can increase the chance that they see your ads.

Microsoft Advertising targeting options can help maximize your ad's exposure to customers who are likely to be interested in your products or services. Ads that display for customers in specific areas at opportune times are more effective. For example, with mobile ad targeting, you can target customers within a one-mile radius of your restaurant at noon when they would be looking for a place to eat.

After reading this information on PPC targeting, you will understand how to:

  • Configure Microsoft Advertising targeting options.
  • Arrange bid adjustments for targeted customers.
  • Set ad language and country.

Ad targeting basics

You can set display and mobile ad targeting options at the campaign level or at the ad group level. The targeting options you set at the campaign level apply to all ads in the campaign. However, you can override campaign targeting with different target settings at the ad group level.

You can target ads according to the following:

  • Geographic location
  • Day of the week
  • Time of day
  • Gender and age
  • Device

Setting up targets in your campaign

You can target your PPC ads using a variety of variables, and then you can increase your bid amount to improve the chance that your ads are displayed.You can target your ads using a variety of variables. There are four ways to target your ads: Location, Date, Device, and/or Age/Gender. You can use these individually or in combination:

To get started, click Campaigns located at the top of the page. Click the name of the campaign you want to change. Click Settings.

To target by geographic location:

  • Click Edit location targets next to Location under Campaign settings.
  • Select locations you want to target or exclude. You can target and change your bid adjustment for:
    • United States and Canada
    • All available countries/regions
    • Selected cities, states/provinces, countries/regions, and postal codes by searching for your specific location and clicking Target or Exclude from the search results.
  • Select who exactly should see your ads: People in your targeted locations, people searching for or viewing pages about your targeted locations, or both.


To target by specific day or time of day, click Advanced campaign settings, then click Ad schedule. You can increase bid adjustments up to 900% and decrease them by as much as 90%. Note: When targeting by time, you are targeting the searcher’s local time zone.

To target by device type, click Advanced campaign settings. Then click Device. You can target desktop (including laptop) computers (bid adjustments -100% to +900%), tablets (-100% to +900%), or smartphones (-100% to +900%).

To target by age or gender, click Advanced campaign settings, then click Demographic. You can increase bid adjustments up to 900% and decrease them by as much as 90%. Keep in mind that when you apply bid adjustments to age group and gender, your ads will appear more frequently for the targeted demographic but will still also appear for non-targeted demographic.

Click Save.

Bid Adjustment

Remember, a bid on a keyword can increase your ad’s exposure to potential customers who meet the specific targeting criteria mentioned above. So, a bid adjustment is a percentage of your keyword bid – an addition to your original keyword bid.

Think of bid adjustments as an opportunity to bid more competitively against target areas that are most relevant to your business, or more likely to generate a conversion. For example, a user searching on a tablet over the weekend within a 10-kilometer radius of your businesses location.

When you select any of the specific targets, you can place an optional extra bid. Placing a bid adjustment increases the likelihood that your ad is displayed in a better position for customers who meet your targeting criteria.

Review how to target customers using bids adjustment.

Ad language and country 

When determining if your ads are eligible to be shown to a particular search user, Microsoft Advertising first determines if your ad language allows for your ad to be shown in a particular country, then considers the location target (and other target) settings you have configured. If the target criteria is met and the ad language is available in the country, the ad is eligible to display.

Here are the steps you'd take to determine where your ads are shown:

Set ad language. The language you set for your ads also determines where those ads can be shown. You can create different ad groups with different languages.

Select location target settings. When selecting your PPC targeting locations, you can choose from:

  • All available countries and regions.
  • Selected cities, metro areas, states/provinces, and countries/regions.
  • Near a specific business, landmark, zip code, or coordinates.

Select advanced location targeting options. In addition to selecting your location target settings, you can:

  • Show ads to people in your targeted location.
  • Show ads to people in, searching for, or viewing pages about your targeted location.

Let’s say you set your ad language to German. Because the language you set for your ads also determines where the ads are shown, setting the language to German will show your ads in not only Germany, but Austria and Switzerland as well. But because your ads are specific to a market, you decide to select your location target to Berlin, and even more specifically, show your ads only to people in your targeted location. Now, your ads will only show to searchers physically located in Berlin.

Your ad language setting determines what countries your ad can be displayed in. For example, ads in German will not display in Italy.

This is true even if you have set location targeting to show your ads in “all available countries and regions.” German-language ads, for example, will still only show in countries where German is supported. English-language ads will still only show in countries where English is supported.

Check out the list of available languages and corresponding countries.

Ad targeting exceptions

There are some exceptions and important details you should be aware of when using Microsoft Advertising targeting options.

  • Location: Microsoft Advertising will show ads to people in, searching for, or viewing pages about your targeted location, unless you specify otherwise with advanced targeting features (e.g. only serve ads within the area of your targeted location).
  • Language: Microsoft Advertising will only support one language target per campaign or ad group. If you require additional languages, you will need to create additional campaigns or ad groups to cover each additional language.
  • Time of day: Microsoft Advertising displays ads according to the end-users’ local time zones. You can pinpoint the scheduling of your ads to 15-minute increments throughout the day and adjust your bids based on peak or low traffic volumes.
  • Gender and age: You can target customers by age and gender so that your ads are displayed more competitively to people you think will be more interested in them.
  • Device: By default, your search ads are displayed to all customers who use browsers on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers. Incremental bids can be applied to all device types.


If you use ad targeting, you should set your basic targets at the campaign level and then refine your targets at the ad group level. If there is no conflict between the targeting settings at both the campaign and ad group levels, Microsoft Advertising uses both. If there's a conflict, ad group targets take precedence. Remember, campaign targets apply to all ad groups in that campaign. Ad group targets override campaign targets within that ad group.

Remember these key points when considering your PPC targeting options:

  • Target your ads by geographical location, day of the week, time of day, gender and age and device.
  • Make bid adjustments for your most important, targeted customers.
  • Set both location (country) and language targeting criteria for an ad to display.

Thanks for reading this training on Microsoft Advertising targeting. Continue your training or take the Microsoft Advertising Certified Professional exam to become certified.

Please note all features in this training may not be available in your market.