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What does ‘’ mean?

Google just made a change within the last week that affects all YouTube advertisers.

As best as we can tell, Google made this change last Friday. Before I get into the details, let me back up and give you some context leading up to this change that you need to be aware of if you’re not already.

At the end of 2021, Google removed our ability to exclude video partners on the display network. If we wanted to run ads that only showed to people on YouTube, we used to be able to uncheck the “Video partners on the Display Network” box in our campaign settings. That would ensure our ads would only show up on YouTube.

Because we can’t uncheck that box anymore, our ads have been able to show up on display network websites, and these placements generally don’t perform very well… not as well as in-stream ads running directly on YouTube.

We made the best of the situation as advertisers. There were things we could do like compiling lists of display network sites and excluding those from our campaigns.

We could also use certain types of targeting and, with those types of targeting, our ads would not show up on the display network.

As of last week, we could target video and channel placements and our ads would only show on the specific placements we were targeting. (With most other types of targeting, our ads were showing up on the display network, but with placement targeting, they were not.)

Then, at the end of last week, placement targeted campaigns started getting traffic from the display network.

We were wondering what the heck is going on, and it didn’t take long to figure out that there was this new ‘thing’ showing up in our campaigns.

When we went to our placements, we could see a new placement was listed:

It had the red X saying that the placement was removed, but in fact, it was getting traffic. It had data, impressions, views…this was costing us money.

If you go to the URL, it doesn’t work (domain names are not allowed to have underscores in them in the first place). Google has not put out any information about this as of this writing.

So what’s the deal?

Well, now we have a placement. The question is, can we exclude this placement from our campaigns? And would we then stop getting the display network traffic?

To exclude a placement from all of your campaigns, you can go to your Google Ads tools and settings, and then to your placement exclusion lists. You can create a list and then apply it to all your campaigns.

I created a list that just has this specific URL as an exclusion. I added this URL ( as an exclusion. I then applied it to all of the campaigns in the account.

So by creating this exclusion list by excluding this URL from our campaigns, does that stop the display traffic?

The answer?


So far, this has stopped display traffic in all of our campaigns. So that’s the good news!

We can’t uncheck that box anymore to stop display traffic, but now we can add this URL as a placement exclusion and our ads will stop showing up on video partners on the display network.

Is this going to work tomorrow?

I don’t know.

But, today it works. So go ahead and do this now and your ads will stop showing on the display network.

It seems like a pretty sneaky move on Google’s part to suddenly start showing ads on placements that we were not trying to target with our placement targeting. It’s obviously good that we can now exclude this URL in existing campaigns and in brand new campaigns that we are setting up. Hopefully, that continues to be an option for us!

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