How To Stop Your Google Adwords Ads Appearing In Apps

Google is very good at spending your advertising money if you are not careful. One of the major changes that they have made to increase the amount you are spending is the introduction of enhanced campaigns. What this has done is made it impossible to turn tablet advertising off which has ramifications for the performance of all campaigns but in particular campaigns that are opted into the display network.

If you are running a campaign on the display network your ads will be shown through the Google Adsense networks on relevant websites around the internet and when run correctly these campaigns can generate a large volume of conversions at reasonable prices. What you may not know however, is that your ads are very likely running on iOS & Android apps that have little to do with your business or your targeted keywords on just a tablet or a smartphone device as well if you have failed to turn off mobile. From experience I know that these adverts are extremely low converting with accidental ‘clicks’ occuring during game play or navigation of an app. So how do you check if advertising on apps is working for you?

An example of a campaign which has had its adverts appearing on a range of unrelated Mobile Apps.

An example of a campaign which has had its adverts appearing on a range of unrelated Mobile Apps.

Checking your performance on apps is simple, go into the display network campaign and go to the ‘Display Network’ tab and then into the ‘Placements’ option, this will list all locations that your ad has appeared in. Then simply type ‘app’ in the search bar and you will be able to see every app on which your ads have appeared. Using the aggregated data for each app look at the cost per conversion and conversions generated. If these results are acceptable to you and cannot be obtained better elsewhere then you can continue to advertise. If however the results are poor and you want to stop advertising on apps simply follow these 3 steps.

1. Navigate to the Placements tab of the Display Campaign and scroll to the very bottom of the page.


2. Open up the ‘Campaign Exclusion’ option and edit the ‘Placements’ section.

3. Add the placement as a negative campaign placement and hit save.


That is all you need to do, and now more of your budget will be spent on websites and your overall ROI from your display network campaigns should improve instantly with the step by step process repeated on every appropriate campaign. To improve the results of your display campaigns further you should also look to exclude websites that are not converting well, one that commonly comes up as a bad performer is the website which has huge volumes of very low quality traffic and should be added as a negative in almost every campaign – others should be determined purely by your results as every campaign is different.

Duncan Jones

About The Author - Duncan Jones

I am a growth marketing specialist from New Zealand and im passionate about growing businesses through creative and performance focused digital marketing. I insist on tracking everything, follow proven growth processes and I still love the thrill of getting a first conversion then optimising & scaling the campaigns for clients across a huge range of industries. You can find me on LinkedIn here, find out how to hire me here or you can contact me here.

One Comment

  1. Well done on putting this info up. My Google experience with Apps in the display network is the following. One of my almost dormant accounts was running at around $100 per month over the past 2-3 years. In the past 3.5 months I have been charged over $17,000. I did not pick up on it because the site conversions had not changed. I only noticed when I returned from running a business overseas for the past 3 months that my credit card charges had all these new Google charges. So far Google is only suggesting token (few thousand) dollars compensation for the massive ramp up in non performing traffic. Beware Google’s tactics with App advertising. Weather Channel app was the biggest problem.

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