Get Your Exclusions Right

Don’t ignore exclusions, but don’t overdo it either.

There’s a balance when it comes to targeting exclusions that many advertisers get wrong. While exclusions can help limit waste, overdoing it can increase your costs unnecessarily.

If you’re promoting a product that can only be purchased once, it makes sense to exclude those people who already bought that product. You don’t need to spend your money on them.

Exclude every possible custom audience that would capture those customers. This is necessary because each individual custom audience by itself tends to be incomplete. Combine them to exclude these people as completely as possible.


That includes:

If you’re promoting the registration for a specific opt-in, that could mean three different custom audiences you should exclude:

  • Customer list custom audience for people who subscribed
  • Website custom audience for the subscription confirmation page
  • Lead form custom audience for these subscribers if you use lead forms

You can otherwise overdo exclusions.

You don’t need a true prospecting campaign that eliminates anyone who knows you. This is a common strategy where advertisers want to reach only new people, so they exclude their entire email list, all website visitors, and all engagement.


Beyond excluding the product you’re promoting, there’s just no need. Those people who know you are the most likely to buy. Including them improves the performance of your ad and keeps costs down.

If you separate broad remarketing into its own ad set, you shrink that new audience. It hurts the performance of the prospecting ad set while creating a situation where the remarketing ad set costs more than it should. Smaller audiences result in increased CPMs.

Other than specific remarketing where the offer is unique (abandoned cart or upsells from a related opt-in), these exclusions are not only unnecessary but counterproductive.