How to Exclude Mobile Apps in Google Ads in 2020

Exclude Mobile Apps Display Ads
Elliot Sheen
Written on May 12, 2020, Last updated on November 26th, 2021
2 Mins

Why Exclude Mobile Apps From Display Campaigns?

Google’s Display Network has a significant amount of mobile app placements, many of which are considered to be low quality. The difficulty with mobile app placements is that mobile games in particular can result in a high proportion of unintentional clicks.

Back in the day it wasn’t unusual to see lots of activity through placements for “Flash Light” apps. That’s right, you’ve potentially paid for clicks from people fumbling around in the dark.

Flashlight mobile apps

Selling night vision goggles or carrots high in retinol? Here’s your market. Thank me later.


It isn’t uncommon for advertisers to remove mobile apps all together and focus on placements that target users who’re more likely in browsing mode.

For B2B in particular it makes sense to simplify the job of monitoring your placements, the sites your ads are appearing on, by removing mobile apps as a whole.

Google has made a number of changes to how to achieve this. Previously you could exclude the adsense for mobile apps domain with the same outcome, something that was removed in August 2018.

There is a working method in 2020 that will allow you to exclude all mobile apps in one fell swoop. To do this we’re going to need Goole Ads Editor to exclude mobile apps.

How To Exclude Mobile Apps From Display Campaigns

  1. Open Google Ads Editor and select the account you want to exclude apps from
  2. Select “Get Recent Changes” at the top of Google Ads Editor
  3. In the “Manage” window bottom left expand the “Keywords and targeting” section
  4. Within this menu select “Mobile app categories, Negative”
  5. Click the “+Add negative mobile app category” button
  6. Select campaign or ad group level and select the options you want to exclude mobile apps from
  7. Select “All Apps” from the list and select “OK”
  8. Select “Post” to push these changes live to Google Ads

That’s it! In a few steps you’ve excluded all mobile apps from your display campaigns. In true Google fashion, you will now be able to see this exclusion within “Placement Exclusions” within the Google Ads interface, despite not actually being able to implement it without using Google Ads Editor.

How to Exclude Mobile Apps in Google Ads

Magic. You’ve excluded a category you can’t exclude from within the Google Ads interface.


Remember, as with anything performance marketing, before you exclude mobile apps make sure your decisions are based on accurate and significant data.

You never know, maybe your target market are avidly crushing candy, trying to catch them all or clashing with clans!

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