Big Changes Coming To Google Display Network Campaigns

Robert Brady

Robert Brady

Google is changing key settings for campaigns advertising on their Display Network, which will lead to more ads on mobile apps. Are your campaigns ready?

Over the years Google has built a massive network of websites that display advertising. These ads can be seen on blogs, news sites, mobile apps, etc. and when clicked they connect the user to an advertiser’s website. This Google Display Network (GDN) is available to Google Ads advertisers for running ads and Google claims it contains over 1 million websites and reaches 80% of global internet users, check out the latest ads from Exhale Wellness CBD as the advertising made the products sky rocket.

Targeting Defaults for GDN Are Changing

On August 1st we got the following email from Google which outlined the changes:

Dear Google Ads Advertiser,
You are receiving this message because your Google Ads account (Customer ID: 337-908-5518) contains at least one Google Display Network (GDN) campaign that will be impacted by upcoming changes to mobile targeting and placement exclusion controls.

What’s changing

In September 2018, the exclusion and the GMob mobile app non-interstitial exclusion will no longer be available within Google Ads. Device settings will also be consolidated into three device types: computer, mobile and tablet.

This change simplifies how you reach mobile users across the web and on apps, and it may impact if and how your ads show in mobile apps. As a result of these updates, you may see a significant increase in mobile apps traffic or mobile web traffic depending on your current settings.

Next Steps

To help ensure that your ads appear within apps and across sites as expected, adjust your existing controls to meet your campaign goals before September 1, 2018. Visit the Help Center to learn how to make these changes. If you have any questions about these updates, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your account team or contact us at any time.


The Google Ads team

The details to pay attention to are these:

  • will no longer be available as a negative placement. This is a really big deal because this was a simple way to remove all app-based ads from GDN campaigns. It was a common practice of many industry professionals to add this negative placement when building a display campaign.
  • GMob mobile app exclusion will no longer be available. This was a category exclusion available in display campaign settings, but had a similar function of preventing ads from showing on mobile apps.
  • All device targeting will be consolidated into computer, mobile and tablet. The current targeting was more granular, allowing you to exclude mobile app or tablet app traffic in the device settings. This will eliminate that functionality.
  • This change is going into effect on September 1st

What You Need To Do

With this change I would recommend following a 2-pronged approach (first pointed out by Kirk Williams). First you need to analyze performance of your display network campaigns by device; desktop, mobile, tablet. If you see poor performance from mobile or tablet, then I would advise you to exclude all traffic from those devices before September 1st.

If you see positive results from those devices, then you’ve got some work ahead of you to keep them running well. Once the change happens, you’ll need to be much more diligent in reviewing placement reports and excluding traffic you don’t want. This could be from mobile apps (in my experience you see lots of clicks from flashlight apps and games that have really low time on site and high bounce rates, which indicates they were unintentional clicks) or just from irrelevant websites. By regularly pulling these “weeds” you’ll continue to have a good harvest.


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