3 Exclusion Tactics for Google Display Network Targeting

Google Display ads are the billboards of the internet. However, this “billboard” is by no means stationary. It can appear on various websites and apps in different sizes and formats, reaching a wide audience. While the ad and it’s offering are important, many marketers overlook the targeting when it comes to controlling where the ad is displayed (i.e., placements). 

There’s a lot more to consider than just launching ads to a target audience. Why? Because that target audience could be anywhere. Your ads aren’t going to perform well if they are displaying to someone who is playing a mobile app game. In fact, one study found that as much as 50% of mobile app clicks are accidental. Another issue may be kids on their parents’ devices clicking your ads and depleting your marketing budget. 

To avoid these types of targeting mistakes, you need to exclude where your ads are shown. Here are three exclusion tactics for Google display network targeting and best practices to help you optimize your placements.

Content Exclusion

Content exclusions will prevent your display ads from appearing on websites and apps that may be inappropriate for your brand. These exclusions are key to protecting your brand’s image. To add these exclusions go to “Settings”, “Content exclusions”, and then check the boxes next to the different content categories (e.g., tragedy and conflict, sensitive social issues, profanity and rough language, etc.).

Ongoing Placement Pruning

Just as you should be keyword pruning for your paid search ads on a regular basis, you should be pruning placements for your display ads as well. Placement pruning helps you exclude individual placements after your ads have appeared there. To prune, go to the “Placements” tab, “Where ads showed”, and then select the placements you want to exclude.

Placement Exclusions

You can also exclude placements before your ads show in a specific place. The easiest way to do this is by uploading a list of exclusions. Many marketers have reported their display budgets being wasted by clicks coming from kids YouTube channels. Kids are on their parents’ devices and are accidentally clicking ads. If you are having this issue, you can upload a list of kids youtube channel URLs, like the one in this article, and then exclude them from your placements. 

You can also use placement exclusions to exclude certain app categories. Say you want to exclude mobile placements on gaming apps. You know this is likely not the best place to reach your audience, and that clicks from mobile devices have a lower conversion rate than clicks from desktops. To do this, you would go to the “Placements” tab, “Exclusions”, click “Exclude placements”, and then select the mobile app categories related to gaming. You may need to combine this tactic with ongoing placement pruning as Google’s app exclusion capabilities aren’t always the best.