The kids are running up your Google Ads cost. How to boost your marketing ROI using this secret exclusion code

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Picture this. It is Saturday morning. You are working from home at the dining table. Your son (let’s call him Kwesi for this article) is playing a new game he’d just downloaded on your phone. He’s into it but every few minutes, he returns to you complaining that he’d been rudely uprooted from his game unto a landing page. He can’t find his way back.

The kids are running up your Google Ads cost. How to boost your marketing ROI using this secret exclusion code

Picture this. It is Saturday morning. You are working from home at the dining table. Your son (let’s call him Kwesi for this article) is playing a new game he’d just downloaded on your phone.

He’s into it but every few minutes, he returns to you complaining that he’d been rudely uprooted from his game unto a landing page. He can’t find his way back.

You smile at his naivety, close the landing page, give him back the phone which has now been set back to his game and send him on his merry way.
What has happened here?

Your son — Kwesi — had clicked on one of those pop-up app-install ads that you often see when you are using free apps. You’ve seen them too. You don’t click them. But your kids do. They don’t have the patience to click out on the “x” button that is hidden somewhere on the ad, so they just click through. By doing this, they waste the ad budget of the poor game developer.

Switch places with the game developer and you can imagine how this hurts you too as a brand manager.

Your kids — or better still — kids around the world are running up the ad budget of companies all over the world including yours. As the young ones say these days; it be your own people*.

As a rule, mobile app placements tend to perform poorly; you’ll get a lot of clicks, but they are junk. There are lots of accidental clicks on mobile app ads. The problem is you’re paying for these clicks, even though they probably won’t convert into sales.

I have run a lot of ads for our clients across FMCG, enterprise, and B2B verticals. From my experience, between 30 to 40% of your ad budget is wasted on junk clicks from mobile apps placements.

How can you stop the drain? It’s a big problem that’s surprisingly easy to fix using exclusions. I’ll show you two ways you can exclude mobile apps from your placements.

Method 1: Remove app categories through the Google Ads interface.

If you’re running a display network campaign, your ads are likely to show on mobile apps. Since they are a part of the Google Display Network, your ads are eligible to show when people play mobile app games or check the weather through an app.

You may find that your campaign performance is poor on apps, in which case you can remove App Categories from your targeting. While it will not remove every application, it can help limit them overall. These are the steps.

1. Open your Google Ads Display Advertising campaign dashboard
2. Click on the ‘Placements’ dropdown menu item on the left-hand side and select “Exclusions”
3. Click on the blue button with the pen icon in the middle to add new placements to the exclusions section.
4. Click ‘exclude placements’ to get started.
5. Choose to exclude apps from your account, campaign, or at the ad group level.
6. Click on ‘App categories’ on the list.

7. Choose every mobile app category under the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store, and Windows Phone Apps.
8. You should have 141 selected at this point.
9. Click on the “Save” button to add app exclusions to your Google Display Ads campaign.

Method 2 – Use mobile apps exclusion code: mobileappcategory::69500
This is an easier method that will take you only a few minutes to execute. The steps:

Open your Google Ads Display Advertising campaign dashboard
Click on the ‘Placements’ dropdown menu item on the left-hand side and select “Exclusions”
Click on the blue button with the pen icon in the middle to add new placements to the exclusions section.
Click ‘exclude placements’ to get started.
Choose “Enter multiple placements”, campaign or at the ad group level.

Enter the code: mobileappcategory::69500. Automatically, all mobile apps will be selected. Add the placement and click “save.”
That’s it. You’ve excluded all budget-hogging mobile apps.

Final Thoughts

As advertisers, all of us would like to have the ‘Adsenseformobileapps.com’ excluded placement back. Google has essentially made it impossible to completely remove mobile application targeting from your Google Display Advertising campaigns.
Hopefully, this article is helpful for you. Check with your digital ad agency or your digital team to make sure they are excluding apps in this way. If you need some more help with advanced ad-buying strategy for your company, we are only one call away.

* “It be your own people” | A phrase to be used when you feel betrayed by the people you thought were on your side

 

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