Google Ad Manager offers an advanced feature i.e. key-value targeting that allows you to place ads where you want in a more granular way. Key-value pairs define custom targeting parameters within Google’s ad server.

With the help of key values, you can serve targeted ads on a particular page, publishers can also serve ads on a specific ad slot via DFP key-value targeting. To enable KVP targeting or tracking, publishers need to go into DFP, then Inventory tab and choose Key-values to create Key-Value Pairs.

 Key-value pairs are custom targeting tags that can be attached to ad units in GAM which pass additional information to the ad server for each ad request. Key-value pairs consist of two elements; a key (such as “numbers”) and a value (“1-100”).

After setting up key-value tags in GAM, if a line item targets a specific key-value pair the ad server will only place that line item on publisher inventory that includes said key-value in the ad request.

What are the Types of Key-Value Targeting?

There are two types of key-value types; predefined and dynamic.


Predefined key-value pairs have a limited, pre-defined set of possible values. They are best utilized when publishers already know the possible range of values. For example, if you create a key “even numbers” with possible values “2-10”, “12-24”, “14-48”, and so on. Pre-defined key values allow publishers to get full reporting insights into each key-value pair.


Dynamic key-value pairs use a defined key but have dynamic values, for example, any number or a freeform text value. Dynamic key values could be used to target ads to a user based on their specific search terms on a site, or to pass in an engagement score. Dynamic key values allow publishers to have many targeting values without having to define them in advance but don’t allow reports broken down by individual values.

How to Add Key-Values to the Specific Ads?

Publishers can define if they want to target at the page level or at the ad slot level. You can pass one or more keys, each with one or more associated values, for each ad request. These key values will be compared to targeting choices set up in Ad Manager at the line item level.

Page-level targeting allows you to set the same key values across all ad slots on your page. For example, you may want to target specific sections on your site, such as your blog section. You can assign the value “blog” to pages that fit within that category and when targeting it in the line item, it will target all ad units on those pages. 

Use the function googletag.pubads().setTargeting () to utilize page-level targeting.

Slot level targeting allows you to configure key values for individual ad slots on your page. For example, some advertisers may want to target only your premium inventory, such as those with the highest viewability. 

Use the function Slot.set.targeting() in such cases.

The primary benefit of key-value pairs is the ability for publishers to create custom targeting packages in order to sell them at higher CPMs than their run-of-site inventory. The added context provided by key-value pairs is a critical component in identifying high-performing segments that are highly valued by advertisers. These desirable segments are a way to improve overall revenue.

Publishers can also leverage key-value pairs to gain a more granular understanding of ad performance as it relates to different attributes such as contextual categories. Reporting on key-value metrics can drive higher-level insights into website traffic and provide information about your site’s unique visitors. Employing key-value pair targeting and reporting as part of your contextual strategy is a simple and often underutilized way to improve revenue and match content with the right audience.

Key-value pairs are useful for identifying context and targeting other ad inventory but are most useful to publishers when based on demographic information and in conjunction with reporting to create unique ad targeting strategies (i.e. creating custom values for specific demographics) that suit publishers’ goals.

These key-value parameters also account for an advertiser’s brand safety and ad campaigns. 

If you’d like to learn about Key-Value Targeting for specific ads, request a demo here. We AdPushup working to help publishers enhance ad publishing and optimization strategies.

FAQ Related to Key-Value Targeting

What is the meaning of key-value targeting for publishers?

Key-value targeting allows publishers to target their ads to specific users, webpages, and ad slots.

How to define Key-values in Google Ad Manager (GAM)?

Key values in Google Ad Manager (GAM) allows publishers to define ad slots’ with their targeting criteria. Publishers can determine these key values by analyzing website visitors’ information, such as their age, location, and other demographics.


Shubham is a digital marketer with rich experience working in the advertisement technology industry. He has vast experience in the programmatic industry, driving business strategy and scaling functions including but not limited to growth and marketing, Operations, process optimization, and Sales.

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