From January 18, 2017, Google is making an important change to how it shows ads on the Display Network. Currently ad groups with no targeting method selected are ineligible to to show, even if they have approved ads and bids set on keywords.

However, after the deadline, such ad groups will be eligible to show on the Display Network as long as there’s at least one approved ad in the group and a bid has been placed. The same applies to video ad groups on YouTube as well.


Is this really important?

This might be a small change in the grand scheme of things, but a significant one if you’ve got a bunch of ad groups not running because you haven’t set a targeting method. Maybe your account is in need of tidying up or you’re simply not ready to run certain ad groups live yet.

Whatever the reason, any ad group with no targeting method selected will be eligible to run as of January 18. So you can use this as a method of leaving groups paused until you’re ready.

Why is this important? Well, if you’re ad groups start running without a targeting method set, they’ll be showing to anyone and everyone, which you probably don’t want. Targeting is fundamental to everything in AdWords and it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever want to run an ad groups without a targeting method selected.


What if I don’t want these ad groups to run?

Google isn’t about to suddenly hit the play button on any of your existing ad groups. Any groups you’ve already created that don’t have a targeting method selected will be automatically paused, instead of becoming eligible.

However, the change will apply to all ad groups created on January 18 or after – so keep this date in mind.

For any ad groups you don’t want to be eligible, your best bet is to pause them until you’re ready for them to run. However, Google can’t make any ad group eligible until at least one ad is approved and you place a bid, which won’t change after the January deadline.


As we say, this isn’t the biggest AdWords announcement we’ll be making in 2017 but it’s an important one all the same. You don’t want to be unintentionally showing ads and you certainly don’t want to be paying for clicks on ads that aren’t yet part of a fully optimised campaign.