The first time I was presented with these two options while creating a display network campaign I can confess that I was confused to say the least. I remember reading each description again and again until my brain simply refused to accept what they actually meant. Over the years I realised it wasn’t just a case of me not getting it, however, as I noticed that other advertisers also struggle to get their head around this aspect of display targeting at times.
So how would I best explain it to those who are in the position I was in? Well let’s say that we have an ad group which contains both keywords and a single placement, example.com, as targeting methods. If we set both of these methods to Target and bid then our ads will only show on example.com pages which match our included keyword themes. The ads will not show outside of these two qualifying targeting factors while under a combination of these settings.
If we changed the placement targeting to Bid only however then our ads have the opportunity to show across the entirety of example.com while also on other placements which match the keyword themes.
If you therefore find that your display network traffic is limited at times then it’s worth checking to see which targeting options you have selected for your ad groups. I personally prefer to start a display campaign with the restricted Target and bid approach and then over time open it up to Bid only if required.