Help Center Manage Your Account Ad Targeting using Restrictions

Restrictions for an ad, zone, campaign or group

Restrictions can be applied to any ad, zone, campaign or group to enforce a specific condition or target a specific audience. For example: Ad "Test123" should only be displayed during Monday, from 9-5, for viewers from Canada. See a full list of available restrictions.

Restrictions should not be added if the ads can always be shown. For example: if you want this ad to display all days, you do not need to create a restriction to show in all 7 days (Mon-Sun).

Set up a restriction

  • Click on the ad/zone/group name
  • Click on the tab "Restrictions", then tab "Add" to create a new restriction or apply a new targeting criteria
  • View all restrictions

    For a convenient view that lists all restrictions and targeting criteria, you can access the summary page from the main menu "Tools / Targeting Summary". It also displays a timeline of all ads with Start/End date.

    Multiple level restrictions

    You can build a restrictive funnel to make sure an ad appears precisely to the right audience. If there are restrictions on ad, zone, group and campaign, the ad's restrictions will be evaluated first. If the ad's restrictions pass, then restrictions from the next level, including all linked zones, groups and campaigns will be considered next in that respective order. If the ad's restrictions fail, the ad is blocked from showing.

    Shared/inherited targeting restrictions

    If you have multiple ads that have similar targeting criteria (eg: target several U.S. states), you do not have to put the same restrictions in each of the ad. You can apply the restrictions to a group/campaign, then link the ad to this group/campaign. Inheritance from multiple parent entities can become complex and caution is required to avoid unexpected conflicts and confusions.

    AND vs. OR

    You can set up multiple restrictions together. They connect with each other via a logic conjunction (AND) or a logic disjunction (OR).
    • A OR B is true when either A or B is true
    • A AND B is true only when both A and B are true
    • AND has a higher priority than OR. Operator precedence is important when you combine multiple ANDs and ORs. Therefore, A OR B AND C is the same as A OR (B AND C)

    Combining multiple restrictions

    Ad targeting with multiple restrictions can be very powerful but it can also be challenging to get it right. When combining multiple logic operators, AND has a higher priority than OR.

    Multiple "Show" restrictions
    For this setup, OR should be used instead of AND (with exceptions).
    • Example: You want to show this ad to visitors from these countries: USA, Canada
    • Problem: Show to visitors from USA AND Show to visitors from Canada is impossible because a visitor cannot be in both USA and Canada at the same time
    • Solution: Show to visitors from USA OR Show to visitors from Canada
    • Example: You want to show this ad on 2 specific time periods
    • Problem: Show between X1 and X2 AND Show between Y1 and Y2 is impossible because time cannot be both within X and Y ranges
    • Solution: Show between X1 and X2 OR Show between Y1 and Y2
    Multiple "Don't Show" restrictions
    For this setup, AND should be used instead of OR (with exceptions). This is similar to a double-negative sentence.
    • Example: You want to hide this ad from visitors from these countries: USA, Canada
    • Problem: Don't show to visitors from USA OR Don't show to visitors from Canada will still show to a visitor from USA/Canada because one condition passes and one fails means that the final result passes
    • Solution: Don't show to visitors from USA AND Don't show to visitors from Canada

    Logical group

    For a complex scenario with multiple AND and OR logical conditions, you should separate them into different groupings. Restrictions in the same group are evaluated together and are enclosed with parentheses. Logical/bracket group is an advanced setting and it is only available when you edit an existing restriction.

    For example: A or B or C and D and E is difficult to understand. You can group A, B, C into one group and D, E into another group. The final evaluation would be (A or B or C) and (D and E). To view the grouping brackets, click on the icon of the last row.

    Typically, when you combine multiple ORs, you can group them into different logical groups. For example, multiple date ranges DailyQuota AND MonthlyQuota AND (Feb-Apr OR Aug-Sep OR Nov-Dec). In this example, DailyQuota and MonthlyQuota have logical group 0. Feb-Apr, Aug-Sep, Nov-Dec have logical group 1. Another example for multiple geo-targeting: DailyQuota AND MonthlyQuota AND (Canada OR Australia OR Germany)

    Preview and testing tool

    Under "This ad would" column, you see "SHOW", "DON'T SHOW", or "N/A". This column is only an example with your current data. It will certainly be different for each visitor, depending on his/her browser, device, IP address, originating country and other user-specific settings.

    Click on the icon of the last row to view a detailed logical evaluation and test the combined restrictions with your own value (IP address, URL, etc.)


    Please check your restrictions for potential conflicts and overlaps, which restrict your ads from showing to the expected/right audience. For example: Ad XYZ should show to visitors who speak English or Vietnamese. At the same time, there is another restriction to hide from visitors who speak Vietnamese.

    Other Articles in Ad Targeting using Restrictions

    Learn about ad targeting and restrictions ad serving such as frequency capping, geo-targeting, quota, roadblock, flight date, etc.

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