Google Brings Updates to Display Targeting

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Are you running display ads as part of your digital marketing mix?

Well, you might be interested to know that Google are “simplifying” the way that you can exclude mobile apps within your display campaigns.
Until now, the main way to block mobile apps was to exclude “” in your placement exclusion list. As of September 2018, this option is no longer going to be available.

“Starting in September 2018, Google is simplifying targeting and exclusion controls for Google Display Network ads on mobile devices in order to make it easier to reach the growing base of mobile users. As a result of these changes, you may see a significant increase in mobile apps or mobile web traffic (depending on your current settings).”

Excluding mobile apps isn’t for everyone

For some advertisers, showing display ads on a mobile app is relevant, for example if they’re advertising another app to download, where better to reach a user than in-app.

But for many advertisers, ads in mobile apps are fairly unsuccessful, mainly due to the fact that can can result in a lot of accidental clicks, which can therefore result in wasted spend. Accidental clicks can come from many places, though one key area could be from children unintentionally clicking on your ad.

A report from Common Sense Media in October 2017 stated that children under the age of 9 spent more than two hours per day on screens – a figure which can only have risen. Chances are, if you’re spending most of your display budget on mobile – it’s worth reviewing your placement report to check your budget isn’t being wasted.

Many advertisers chose to use the blanket targeting and exclusion of app inventory on mobile devices due to poor performance, such as the example above. The current device targeting options (shown below) offer a wider range of possibilities, though come September this will be simplified to Computer, Mobile and Tablet.


Google Brings Updates to Display Targeting

Essentially, this means advertisers will no longer be able to exclude all apps from the display targeting. Instead, advertisers will either need to opt in or opt out of showing ads on each device. It will still be possible to exclude topics and content exclusions, though moving forward you’ll need to exclude apps as they appear in your placement report, unless you already know which apps you want to exclude.

“As a result of these changes, you may see a significant increase in mobile apps or mobile web traffic (depending on your current settings).”

As Google already noted in their statement, there’s a high chance we’ll be seeing an increase in mobile traffic in September. If you’re concerned about this update and need help reviewing your display advertising, get in touch with the team today.

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