How to Keep Your Display Ads From Showing on Mobile Apps

How to Keep Your Google Display Ads From Showing on Mobile Apps

Word on the street is that about 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental.  Of even greater concern is that for many businesses advertising on the Google Display Network, these mobile app users  are seldom a significant part of your customer demographic.  Many of the apps out there are spammy and amateurish.  Many others are strictly produced for juvenile internet users.  Are they your customers?

We are not just talking about mobile phones here – tablets are included as well.

Google wants your ads shown everywhere possible because there is a somewhat limited amount of real estate for them to show ads.  It is not Google’s job to be sure that where your ads are shown is where your customers are hanging out…it is yours!

(And Google just wants those campaigns to run and run – anywhere possible).  The overly broad targeting that comes as part of Adwords Express proves Google’s dedication to making money for Google, whether you make money or not.

Let’s look at how to stop Google from showing your ads on mobile apps if these app users are not part of the audience you are trying to reach.  By default, YOUR DISPLAY ADS WILL SHOW ON MOBILE APPS…and they don’t make it intuitive as to how to prevent this…wonder why?

Open your “all online campaigns” tab  and select “Display Network”.  It looks like we will have to do this one campaign at a time, at least for now.

Click the new red “Targeting “ button.  Use the drop down menu to select “All Placements”.  Scroll to the bottom left of the page and select “+ Exclusions”

Select “Campaign Exclusions”, (unless you ONLY want to exclude for an Ad Group)…then select  “Placements”.

Where it tells you to enter one placement per line, enter :   (DO NOT PUT WWW IN FRONT OF THIS URL! )

Then click “Add Placements”

Click “Save”.

Google doesn’t give you a really clear notification here that you have successfully excluded your ads from showing on mobile apps.  No doubt, they hope you haven’t since it gives them lots more opportunities to show your ads.

You could go back in your campaigns and come back to the exclusions page and look for campaign exclusions.  “” should be visible now.

They don’t make the whole process easy on purpose.

Bonus!  This is a good time to make some “Site Category” exclusions (located to the right of Campaign Exclusions)  while you are already in your campaigns – depending on your product and audience.  Here , you can choose to exclude things like sexually suggestive or violent or mature subject matter sites, which may offend many of your prospective customers. Keep in mind common interests for your demographic, but most of these are probably good exclusions to enter for most types of businesses.

Thanks to Bryan at for doing the heavy lifting on this subject.

UPDATE:  Thanks to Kent Nielsen of Denmark who figured out this shortcut:  “You can add your excluded placements in your share library and use them for multiple campaigns. That will save time if you have several campaigns in the Display network.”

An anonymous suggestion was made about stopping your Google display ads from showing up on mobile apps.  Here it is:  “Reduce the bid by -100% for Mobile.”  (But keep in mind that this would effectively eliminate ALL mobile traffic from your ad…might not work out well for everyone.)

Here’s to Getting Found!

Carlin Stanton

Posted on by admin in Google Adwords, Pay-Per-Click, PPC