Your Google Display Network performance is about to take a nose dive

Posted by Aaron WeinerGoogle Ads

In case you weren’t aware, Google recently sent out an email about some upcoming changes they were making to mobile targeting on the Google Display Network (GDN).

The email looked something like this:

The email Google recently sent about the exclusion

Background – and how this change could impact your account’s performance.

If you’re running any campaigns that target the GDN and you don’t update your settings, you’re in for a real surprise.

Before I explain what changes you need to make to your GDN campaigns to stay ahead of this ticking time bomb, I need to give a bit of background.

One of the best ways to save money and improve your performance on the GDN is to use the automatic placement report. This report will help you identify where your ads were displayed across the GDN for a given date range.

With the report, you can easily exclude placements from ever displaying your ads, and it can help you identify some great performing placements on the GDN.

If you’re not familiar with this report, I highly recommend that you regularly use it to analyze your campaign performance.

As you read through this report, you’ll notice domains and URLs that are displaying your ads. Then you might be surprised by all the placements that mention “Mobile App” or “mobileapp”. Each of those types of placements are mobile apps that are displaying your ads.

What might be even more surprising is that you may have previously set your mobile device and tablet device bid adjustments too -100%, which should have excluded them entirely.

Actually, that wasn’t the case. You also needed to add the exclusion of the following domain to block all these “mobile app” or “mobileapp” placements –

Cheating is good!

The big change and what you need to do.

According to the email, Google is getting rid of the exclusion.

If you were using it in the past, you will soon start to see a flood of mobile device placements. And for some advertisers, ads don’t perform well on those devices, which is why they probably excluded them in the first place.

What you now need to do is visit the settings for each of your campaigns that target the GDN. Once in the settings, click on “additional settings” and then click on “devices”.

You should then see something like this:

Setting within Google Ads to show on all devices

If you were using the exclusion in the past, you might want to change your settings to this:

How to set specific targeting for devices in Google Ads

What’s great about this new feature is that it gives you more granular control. You can now exclude just mobile apps and potentially still run ads in tablet apps. Or maybe you don’t want your ads displayed in any apps, but mobile and tablets are something that you would still like to try.

You’re now more in control which is a surprising turn of events for Google. They tend to take away control, or at least make it really confusing to use.

Sadly though, Google chose not to explain this in more detail in the recent email. Nor did they make these changes for you automatically within their system.