How to Exclude Mobile App Traffic in Google AdWords

Flappy Bird might be dead, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t another mobile app sipping away at your budget!

When was the last time you took a look at your display network traffic placements? If you don’t remember, well that means it has been too long. A lot of your budget might be being wasted on clicks from kids playing mobile games on their iPhones. I see this happen all the time. Follow the instructions below on how to check your AdWords account and also on how to disable mobile app traffic completely.

Checking Your AdWords Display Network Placements

Navigate into your Display Network campaign in AdWords. Select the “Display Network” tab and then click into the “Placements” tab.

Display Network Placements

Sort by your “cost” and look at the placements. You might be surprised to see such games as Flappy Bird, Splashy Fish, etc… Most likely these clicks will not convert in your niche. However, you could look at your past 6 months data and conversion data to see if they really don’t convert.

Display Network Mobile App Traffic

Do you see parts of your budget being wasted on mobile apps? Well, my advice, after carefully looking at your conversion history, would be to exclude mobile app traffic. This includes the iOS store and the Google Play store.

Exclude Mobile App Traffic in Google AdWords

Step 1

The first step is to browse to your Shared Library. This makes it easier to add the exclusion later on to all of your campaigns. Or you can simply do it via AdWords Editor.

Google AdWords Shared Library

Step 2

Then click into “View” under Campaign placement exclusions.

Campaign Exclusions

Step 3

Click on the “+ List” to add a new exclusion list.

Campaign Exclusion List

Step 4

Then select a name for your list. In my example I named it “Mobile Apps”, and then enter the following in the placements box:

List Name - Exclusions

Step 5

Now we have created the exclusion list, we need to add it to your Display Network Campaign. So while on the placements screen from earlier, scroll down to the very bottom and click the “+ Exclusions.”

Campaign placement exclusions

Step 6

Select “Placements” from the Add campaign exclusions drop down.

Add Campaign Exclusions

Step 7

Now add the name of your exclusion list and hit close.

Mobile App Traffic Exclusion List

You have now excluded mobile app traffic within your AdWords campaign. Don’t forget to add the exclusion list to your other display network campaigns. Feel free to comment below if you have something to contribute!

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Brian Jackson

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6 thoughts on “How to Exclude Mobile App Traffic in Google AdWords”

  1. When was this article written? Does this still work? I am getting conflicting reports online saying this doesn’t work anymore.

    Good article by the way.

    • This still works fine. Just did this on a new GDN campaign this morning after seeing your comment. However, before Step 5, make sure you refresh your entire adwords screen. F5 or right click/refresh. Otherwise your list won’t show up. AdWords isn’t always good about updating real time. Hopefully that helps!

      • Sweet man. Thanks for the insight, I really appreciate it. I just implemented this on a half dozen campaigns and am excited to see what it does. This has been driving me crazy over the last few weeks. All these freaking Mobile App placements and you can’t just pause mobile all together or pause these things one by one. P.S. If you are wondering, I found your site through organic search. Cheers.

        • No problem. I write these posts for this exact purpose, to help people where I struggled. I went through the exact same thing a couple months ago… I was seeing money flying out the window on flappy bird, random IOS games, etc… lol. I am in the medical field, and we just don’t get any conversions period from mobile games. Depending on your niche I could see where mobile game ads could be useful, like dominos pizza or something… but for most businesses I highly recommend getting rid of this source of traffic. Hopefully you will gain some of your budget back over the next couple weeks so you can spend it in better places :) Good luck!


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