Google has been busy refining the options they’re giving advertisers for excluding categories of sites from their display network campaigns on the Google Display Network.

Due to the change that Google is making, there are several site category exclusions that are being eliminated or recategorized, and even some of the new ones are being added.  As of last week, a number of exclusions aren’t available for new Display campaigns.  All existing campaigns will be switched over to the new settings automatically in early 2018.

Last week, Google started showing an alert in the site category exclusions menu.  If you have any older campaigns, you may see the following options.  The following screen was shared on Twitter by digital marketer Steve Seeley

Any campaign that is newer will show an updated version of the site category exclusion options.

There are five primary changes, outlined in a support page:

  • Roll-up: The “Crime, police, and emergency,” “ Military and international conflict” and “Death and tragedy” categories are being rolled up into the “Tragedy and conflict” exclusion category.
  • New: There is a new category for “Sensitive social issues,” which includes content “related to discrimination and identity relations, scandals and investigations, reproductive rights, firearms and weapons and more.”
  • New: Another new category is “Content suitable for families.” Note that if you exclude “General audiences (DL-G),” that will also exclude content suitable for families.
  • Removed: The gambling and error pages categories are being eliminated, since Google already restricts ads on those types of content.
  • Removed: The Forums, Social networks, Photo-sharing pages, and Video-sharing pages options are going away, too. Instead, Google recommends using “Digital content labels” such as Mature audiences and Content not yet labeled, and other “Sensitive content” exclusions to restrict ads from showing on various types of user-generated and social content.

(In the new AdWords interface, Site category options are called Content options.)

So why is Google making these changes?  They relate to the announcements made earlier spring and summer of changes Google is busy implementing in response to advertisers pulling their ads from YouTube after ads made their way next to extremist content.

This newest update is part of a larger update to simplify the management of exclusions and align Display and Video controls.  In an update made earlier, the ability was added at the account level rather than just at the individual level.

According to a Google spokesperson, the company is recommending advertisers to use the Digital Content and Sensitive Content Labels to achieve their “brand suitability” goals rather than many of the individual category exclusions.

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