Google Ads, previously known as Google AdWords, announced in a blog post they are streamlining the display campaign targeting process through a series of changes that will take effect September 2018. The most notable change from this “simplification” are new limitations on targeting and exclusion controls for Google Display Network ads. Advertisers will no longer be able to exclude mobile apps or mobile interstitial from display advertising campaigns. Here’s what Google has to say about the update: 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).

The Google Ads impact and why does it matter?

Before this update, marketers managing PPC could block their ads from appearing on most mobile apps. They could do this by excluding the domain while customizing their add settings. The primary reason to exclude ads from mobile apps was to keep from spending add budget in ineffective areas (many paid search campaigns do not see positive ROI from mobile app ads). The update will prevent marketers from blocking apps or mobile interstitial from display targeting. The change includes “simplified device targeting,” giving marketers the choice between computer, mobile, or tablet. Once this update takes effect, anyone who wants to publish display ads on mobile will have to commit to publishing them through all mobile channels, including apps. Here’s what Google says about it: Device targeting will be consolidated to 3 device types: computer, mobile, and tablet. If you previously targeted by certain mobile categories, such as Mobile app, Mobile app interstitial, or Mobile web, all mobile placements will now be targeted. Similarly, if you previously targeted by Tablet app, Tablet app interstitial, or Tablet web, all tablet placements will now be targeted.

How to get ready for the Google Ads update

Google published instructions on how to prep your campaigns for the upcoming changes:

Step 1: Remove blanket exclusions from your campaigns

If you’ve added the “” domain to your exclusions, remove it now. You can see your exclusions by clicking Placements > Exclusions.

Step 2: Update your device targeting

Update your device targeting to reflect the new, simplified options. According to Google, you should follow these steps:
  1. Visit your campaign settings.
  2. Click Additional settings.
  3. Click Devices.
  4. Click Set specific targeting for devices.
  5. Select the device settings that apply to you:

– To target mobile traffic, check all of Mobile app, Mobile app interstitial and Mobile web. If you don’t want to target mobile traffic, uncheck all these options. (Starting in September 2018, these three mobile controls will be consolidated into a single “Mobile” control to opt into or out of mobile traffic.)

– To target tablet traffic, check all of Tablet app, Tablet app interstitial and Tablet web. If you don’t want to target tablet traffic, uncheck all these options. (Starting in September 2018, these three tablet controls will be consolidated into a single “Tablet” control to opt into or out of tablet traffic.)

Step 3: Check your granular controls

Even with these changes, your topic targeting will remain in effect. Review to make sure your topic targeting and placement controls are up to date

Step 4: Review your brand safety controls

In the content exclusions setting, review your brand safety controls to make sure they’re up to date. You’ll notice, once the update takes effect, that the checkbox for “G-mob mobile app non interstitial” will disappear. Other existing controls in this area may be updated or enhanced, so make sure your selections are up to date and in line with your goals. You can read Google’s full instructions here.]]>

Greg is the founder and CEO of Stryde and a seasoned digital marketer who has worked with thousands of businesses, large and small, to generate more revenue via online marketing strategy and execution. Greg has written hundreds of blog posts as well as spoken at many events about online marketing strategy. You can follow Greg on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.