Google Ads to discontinue content targeting for YouTube conversion campaigns in 2023

A handful of powerful targeting features will be removed in early 2023 according to a Google Ads help article.

The help article, “Optimize your Video campaign for more conversions” contains a content targeting section that recommends avoiding the addition of content targeting (by keywords, topics or placements) in campaigns.

Furthermore, the article mentions that in early 2023 all existing content targeting settings will be automatically removed “from video campaigns that drive conversions.”

A major blow to targeting? These content targeting options are beloved by many advertisers due to the granularity they provide. Placements could target YouTube Channels, specific videos, video lineups, URLs, Apps, or collections.

With the current targeting, advertisers could match ads to channels/videos to deliver more customized messages to audiences. This change will effectively put an end to the hyper-targeting that made YouTube so appealing for ad dollars.

Another major blow is the loss of keyword targeting on the self-proclaimed 2nd largest search engine in the world. The removal of query targeting on a (video) search engine hurts.

While keywords on YouTube haven’t historically been as powerful as traditional search, it has been a way for advertisers to help answer queries with their video content. There is no doubt that advertisers will need to get more creative in order to hit their target audience.

What will happen to existing campaign when the change occurs? Advertisers running YouTube content targeting campaigns that leverage keywords, topics or placements will have the targeting removed. The article states:

“All existing content targeting settings will be automatically removed from video campaigns that drive conversions.”

We’ve reached out to Google for more clarification on this, but if you are running placement/keyword/topic targeting, this could wreak havoc on your campaigns. Stay tuned for this transition date as you won’t want to have all targeted swept from your accounts.

Why we care. A major benefit of YouTube ads has been the powerful targeting options, many of which will now be removed early next year. For performance marketers, the ability to fine-tune ads to channels or videos will no longer exist nor will the use of keywords on the second-largest search engine. These clearly can’t be chalked up to privacy or PII issues, but rather as a fundamental change away from content targeting options on the network.

If you are running ads using content targeting options, you should stay tuned to updates as those targeting settings will be automatically removed from your campaigns. With less targeting, you’ll reach a larger audience and may spend more on less qualified users.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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About The Author

Greg Finn is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that provides digital marketing and web development. He is a co-host of Marketing O’Clock and has been in the digital marketing industry for nearly 20 years. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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