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+31% ROAS with Open Targeting on YouTube/Display: How to Use This Surprising Strategy to Scale

Step-by-Step Strategy for Open Targeting on YouTube/Display

Step 1: Start with High-Intent Audiences

When you’re getting started with YouTube and Display campaigns, the best strategy is to target high-intent audiences. These are people who have already demonstrated interest in a specific category or search term, making them potentially high-value customers. You can create custom segments based on people’s search behavior, such as specific search terms, websites, or apps.

Step 2: Scale with Open Targeting Campaigns

After successfully testing and scaling high-intent audiences, you can start experimenting with open targeting campaigns. This means launching a new campaign with no audience targeting at all and letting Google figure it out for you. While it might seem counterintuitive to not target any specific audience, open targeting campaigns have shown to outperform high-intent audience targeting in many cases, with up to 31% higher ROAS.

Step 3: Exclude Low-Value Placements to Protect Efficiency

One of the dangers of open targeting is that Google might spend your budget on low-value placements, such as kids channels or placements with high bounce rates. To protect your efficiency, you need to exclude these placements and only focus on the ones that perform well.

Step 4: Use Insights to Target New High-Intent Audiences

The insights tab in Google Ads is a valuable tool to find new audiences to target. You can scroll down to the consumer spotlight section and test audiences with a high index in a separate campaign. While some of these audiences might seem irrelevant or random at first, they can surprise you with their performance.

Is Open Targeting Right for You?

Open targeting is an advanced strategy that works best for advertisers with higher budgets. If you’re spending less than €1,000 per day on YouTube/Display, you’re probably better off targeting high-intent audiences. However, if you’re spending more and have a matured ad account, open targeting can help you scale your campaigns and achieve better results.

Real Data from Our Accounts

We’ve tested open targeting on YouTube and Display campaigns and have seen promising results. In one specific account, we saw a ROAS uplift of 31% in one country and 27% in another on open targeting campaigns compared to high-intent audience targeting. On Display, we achieved an 80% higher ROAS on open targeting campaigns than high-intent audience targeting. While the ROAS might go down as you scale your spend, the initial results show that open targeting is a strategy worth testing.


Open targeting on YouTube and Display can be a surprising strategy to scale your ad campaigns and achieve better results. By starting with high-intent audiences, scaling with open targeting campaigns, excluding low-value placements, and using insights to target new high-intent audiences, you can unlock additional scale and achieve up to 31% higher ROAS. However, this is an advanced strategy that requires careful testing and monitoring to ensure optimal results

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