Starting this week, Google Display Network advertisers will be able to specify topics, as opposed to just keywords, when contextually targeting ads. There will be over 1,750 topics and sub-topics to choose from.
"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," says Lisa Shieh of Google's Inside AdWords Crew. "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," she adds. "However, both targeting options can be used together to effectively reach an audience across the Google Display Network."
Advertisers will also be able to exclude topics. A couple of things worth noting, as pointed out in the Help Center:
When you target a top-level topic, you also target all the related subtopics. However, we recommend adding the subtopics for bidding and reporting control.
Adding all the subtopics isn't the same as adding the top-level topic. There are pages that won't be targeted if you add only the subtopics to your ad group. We recommend adding the top-level topic as well.
The new targeting options work for all ad formats that the Google Display Network supports, which include text, display, video, and rich media formats. The are also available for all bidding options.