How to Exclude Your Google Ads on Mobile Apps

The Display Network is a truly amazing tool that each advertiser should rely on heavily to get their campaigns in front of their ideal clients.

But when it comes to your Google ads on mobile, there’s a little bit more to the story.

How to Get Your Google Ads on Mobile Apps

Showing your ads in mobile apps is a fantastic way to reach a new audience that primarily uses their phones and tablets! You’ll have easier access to a wide variety of potential new clients by reaching them through their handheld devices.

By default, Display Network campaigns will show your ads in apps if the target you’ve set for your campaign matches the placement, which is the destination for your ad.

If you are advertising an app yourself, Google has a specific ad campaign just for that, called an App Campaign!

But What if You’re Not Advertising an App?

If you just want to advertise your regular Google Ads on mobile apps, you can target mobile app categories and specific apps. ?

To do this:

  1. Log in to Google Ads.
  2. Choose Display campaigns, which is located in the navigation panel.
  3. In that menu, choose Placements.
  4. Once in Placements, choose the ad group you’d like to modify.
  5. If you want to target specific categories, go to “App Categories” and expand the app store. From there, you can choose the categories you’d like to apply. You’ll find that these categories are the same as the category names in each store.
  6. If you want to target specific apps, you can search for the apps by name by clicking “Apps”.
  7. If you already know the app IDs that you want to target, choose “Enter multiple placements”, then type in the IDs in the following formats:
  • Google Play apps: mobileapp::2-<your package name, found in the Google Play store>
  • iOS apps: mobileapp::1-<9-digit numeric app ID>
  1. Make sure you save your changes!

If you want to view which apps currently show your ads, all you have to do is go to Display campaigns located in the navigation menu and choose Placements in the page menu!

Do I Want to Put My Google Ads on Mobile Apps?

The Display Network is an amazingly powerful tool, especially for advertisers. It spans across millions of apps, websites, and videos, and reaches over ninety percent of online users.

When trying to utilize the Display Network, many find that there’s quite the learning curve to grasping the best way to use this tool to their advantage. There tend to be many specific optimizations that tend to fly under the radar.

Specifically, these are optimizations related to mobile apps. ?

It’s no secret that mobile searches are growing quickly, but there are several apps where ads really don’t make a ton of sense. Not only does Google place ads on targeted websites based on categories, interests, etc, but also within mobile games and apps. 

We’ve all been there; we download a game or app onto our phone, and as soon as we’re three seconds into checking out the app, an advertisement pops up for something random. Most of us go to click that tiny “x” in the top corner, only to accidentally click on the ad.

While it’s a momentary annoyance to us, on the other end are advertisers who are reading those clicks as relevant clicks and driving traffic to their destination.

After a deeper glance into those clicks, though, it’s pretty clear that it’s unintentional traffic that isn’t interested in converting, which means a wasted budget.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes including mobile apps for your campaign placement might be the right move for you, but often it seems the costs well outrun the benefits.

If this is the case for you, then you might want to consider excluding mobile apps. ?

How to Exclude Your Google Ads on Mobile Apps

There are a couple of different ways that you can go about this, but Google makes it very difficult to exclude ads from all app placements.

Exclude Mobile Traffic Entirely

If you’re using Display and Video campaigns, you’ll be able to target specific types of device, their operating systems, the device models, ad inventory – which are spaces publishers allow ads – carriers, and wireless networks.

You’ll also have the option to create targeted bid adjustments for desktops, cell phones, and tablets. 

Previously in AdWords, you could set your ads to target these specific devices and choose your ad space by going to “settings” in the “devices” menu. Now, you’ll be able to accomplish this task by simply going to “devices”, which is located in the page menu.

By excluding the “Mobile” and “Tablet” options, you will effectively exclude all app placements. But this means that you can’t advertise on those devices at all. 

Basically, if you choose to target mobile devices, your ads will show in mobile apps. This shows that Google was attempting to simplify the process so you could choose one of two options; to show in mobile apps or to not show in mobile apps. 

So if you want to show in mobile, but not show in mobile apps, you’re left excluding the apps one by one.

Exclude Specific Webpages and Videos

Follow this tutorial from Google to exclude individual apps from display campaigns.


It all boils down to one question: to exclude, or not to exclude.

Essentially, there isn’t really a right or wrong way to display your ads on mobile. If the fact that you may be spending more money in the long run by including ads in apps and games, then all the power to you.

Otherwise, you’re left with the time-consuming task of excluding these apps one by one.

Feeling a little overwhelmed by your to-do list when it comes to getting your ads out there? Lucky for you, Google Ads just so happens to be my specialty!

Reach out if you have any questions or want to talk about how I can help you and your business.

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