How to Automatically Optimize Google Display Ads Placements

February 9, 2024

Sara Bregasi

Sara Bregasi

Content Writer

If you’ve been struggling with optimizing your Google Display Ads Placements recently, rest assured – you’re not alone! 

As the Google Display Network continues to expand, navigating through the ocean of potential ad placements has become increasingly difficult. And if you’ve done this for a while, you probably know that not all these placements are good. 

In this article, we’ll explore some general optimization tips, and share a new feature that will put an end to your struggles and allow you to fully automate placement exclusion. 

First, let’s start with the basics.

What Are Google Display Ads Placements?

Essentially, Google Display Ads Placements refer to the specific locations where your ads are shown within the Google Display Network

These placements can be a variety of partner websites, mobile sites & apps, or even Google-owned properties such as Gmail or YouTube.

Google Display Ads Placements Examples

Why Are Google Ads Placements so Important?

Google Display Network includes millions of different websites or apps where your ads can be shown. 

While gaining more exposure may seem beneficial, irrelevant or low-quality sites can damage your campaign performance. 

Being able to show your ads in the right places can significantly improve your click-through rates and safeguard your budget from low-quality sites that do not align with your objectives. All these factors contribute to getting higher quality clicks, significantly boosting your ROI (return on investment) for your Google display campaigns. 

How to Optimize Placements Directly on Google Ads

1. Optimize your Targeting

Google has gone a long way helping advertisers optimize their display campaigns, especially with their advanced targeting options. 

When creating a new display campaign, you can now specify:

  1. Audience segments: who should see your ads based on demographics (age, gender, income), interests & habits (sports & fitness), etc. 
  2. Keywords: terms related to your advertised offer, based on which Google will target relevant websites. 
  3. Topics: select subjects, and Google will look for websites or apps centered around these subjects (e.g., computers & electronics). 
  4. Placements: you can even select specific websites or pages of a site where your ad will be displayed. 

You can add all these options under Targeting when creating a Google Display campaign. 

How to Optimize Placements Directly on Google Ads (targeting)

You can also apply Optimized Targeting, an option that uses Google AI to analyze your creatives/landing pages, and automatically find the appropriate audiences to show your ads to. 

2. Optimize with Exclusion Lists

While optimizing your targeting is crucial, it still does not address the issue of your ads being displayed on low-quality junk sites. 

This is why some advertisers use Exclusion Lists. An Exclusion List is exactly what it sounds like – a list of placements that will be excluded from your campaigns. You can create one through your Google Manager Account.

How to Optimize Placements Directly on Google Ads (exclusion lists)

You can exclude placements based on your own experience (junk sites you’ve dealt with in your past), exclude certain topics or categories, or use ready-made exclusion lists created by other advertisers. 

Optimized targeting and exclusion lists are a great way to improve your campaign performance, but there are no guarantees that you will be profitable with these options. While a placement may be relevant to your targeting and is outside your exclusion list, it does not necessarily mean it will perform well. Also, Google continuously adds new placements to their network, so exclusion lists can only go so far. 

You will still need to review your performance reports daily, detect underperforming placements, and manually pause these placements on Google Ads. This is especially important if you are advertising with large budgets, and it can be extremely time-consuming.

How to Exclude Low Quality Google Display Ads Placements Automatically

There is an easier way to optimize placements, and it can be entirely automated! 

TheOptimizer has just launched a new, unique feature that automatically syncs your Google Ads (and third-party tracker) data, and it excludes placements that are not profitable through a simple automation rule.  

In the example below, we are creating a rule that will automatically exclude placements that are receiving bot clicks. Given the average click-through-rate (CTR) of 0.2% – 1.5% on Google Display campaigns, we can confidently assume that a CTR of 20% is most likely fraudulent. 

How to Exclude Low Quality Google Display Ads Placements Automatically

You can fully customize these conditions (choose over 50 available metrics) to reflect your own optimization strategy, select specific campaigns, and let the rule run as often as every 10 minutes up to weekly. 

This feature will be a game-changer for performance marketers running Google Display campaigns, and TheOptimizer is one of the only tools that is offering this at the moment.

Use Case: Automatically Optimizing Google Ads Placements for Content Arbitrage

Content arbitrage is one industry that will highly benefit from this new feature. 

When you are operating with such large budgets and testing so many different sites, you need to optimize aggressively on placements. 

Often times, media buyers running content arbitrage campaigns also utilize third-party trackers, such as AssertiveYield, for more granular data. In this case, to be able to properly optimize Google Ads placements, you would need to review your performance data on AssertiveYield, pinpoint all underperforming placements, and manually pause them on Google Ads. This makes the optimization process even more complex and time-consuming. 

With TheOptimizer’s new placement exclusion feature, and the platform’s direct integration with top industry trackers (including AssertiveYield and Google Analytics), you can fully automate this process with 100% accuracy.

Google Display Ads Placements Reporting with TheOptimizer

In a single report, you will be able to see placement data from both Google Ads and AssertiveYield, and you can set up automation rules that will automatically exclude unprofitable placements (like in the rule example we showed earlier). 

Other Google Ads Optimization Strategies with TheOptimizer

Apart from excluding placements, TheOptimizer also allows you to automate other parts of your Google Ads campaign optimization processes. 

Similarly to pausing underperforming placements, you can also pause campaigns, ad groups, or ads through automation rules. 

You can adjust campaign bids and budgets based on performance, as well as optimize on keyword level for your Google Search campaigns. 

Finally, you can use TheOptimizer to automatically clone top-performing Google ad groups, and apply dayparting to all your campaigns. 

For more general Google Ads tips, read our deep dive article here.


If you are running Google Display campaigns, you need to ensure that you are properly optimizing your ad placements for better results. 

You can optimize your placements directly on Google Ads – by refining your targeting and leveraging exclusion lists – or you can fully automate this process with TheOptimizer’s new placement exclusion feature, which will save you an immense amount of time and effort on a daily basis. 

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