The freshly-named Google Ads, formerly Google AdWords, are making some drastic new changes to “simplify” the Display Network, but we’re not too sure everyone’s going to be pleased.

Google released this statement:
“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).”
Currently, you can set specific targeting by device (computers, mobile app, mobile web, tablet app, tablet web) and simply tick boxes depending on which ones you choose to target.
In September 2018, this specific targeting will largely be removed, leaving only the option to target computers, mobile and tablet. This change will remove the option to exclude targeting apps and games – meaning you’re either all-in or all-out when opting to advertise on mobile or tablet.
Put simply: it will be a lot more difficult to keep mobile Display ads from showing on apps.
Why is this problematic?
By depreciating placement targeting, it’s going to become much harder to limit targeting on apps, resulting in a lower quality of targeting for Display ads.
Anyone currently running Display campaigns and excluding apps will see a spike in impressions and potentially unnecessary spend. Google will be showing ads across platforms we were previously able to exclude, giving us less control over who sees them.
Targeting apps is great for building brand awareness, but we often steer clear as we typically see a high volume of unnecessary clicks via apps on touch-screen devices. It’s easy for consumers to click adverts accidentally – and accidental clicks don’t usually lead to conversions.
With placement targeting also being depreciated, it’s going to become much harder to limit targeting on apps, resulting in a lower quality of targeting for Display ads.
Why are they doing this?
As their statement says: they’re doing it to “make it easier to reach the growing base of mobile users”; this gives the opportunity to build brand awareness across a much larger audience than before.
Going forward
It will be important to check exactly where your Display ads are being shown and to exclude specific locations to reduce unnecessary spending.
What do the team think?
Daniel Bebb: “Unless properly managed, this will be counterintuitive and result in unwanted additional spend across Display.”
Carly Pardoe: “This feels like a step backwards rather than forward with the new AdWords interface. By taking away this feature, it is removing an aspect of control for advertisers, which will never be a good thing.”
John Langley

John Langley


I am the founder of Click Convert, an Award Winning agency, here to deliver great marketing for Small and Medium Businesses. We’ve created over $1.1 billion in sales for clients. We’re one of the top digital marketing companies in America and the UK for small and medium businesses digital marketing. We’re a Google Premier Partner, a Google Top 50 agency and our work was recommended by Google’s CEO in 2020. Outside of family and Click Convert, Cars, Adventure and Pizza are my passion. Our vision is to Inform, Empower and Deliver to help both clients and readers.

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