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How to Exclude Mobile Apps from PMax Campaigns in Google Ads

How to Exclude Mobile Apps from PMax Campaigns in Google Ads

10/25/19 UPDATE: Hello Facebook Agency Visitor Person!  We’re delighted to have you visit this awesome post. About a year ago, ZATO stopped offering Facebook Ads solutions so we could focus solely on what we do best: Google Ads. Because of this, we’re always interested in partnerships with great Social Advertising agencies (like yourself, wink wink!) and we offer referral fees for signed clients!  Anyway, back to it, and happy reading…

Post Summary

This post was originally published in 2017, then updated in 2018, and again after that! That reflects the long and meandering path that Google has taken in how it allows mobile apps to be excluded within Google Ads by advertisers. I'm sure this won't be the last update, but as far as we at ZATO know, this is now currently the best way to exclude mobile apps from your PMax campaigns.

First, it is important to note that (currently to our knowledge), the only way to exclude Apps at a Campaign level is by making a request through the Google Ads Campaign Modification Form, found here: 

Second, you can exclude mobile apps from PMax campaigns directly in the UI, but it is only at the account level.

Step by Step for excluding Mobile Apps in your Google Ads PMax campaigns

Follow these steps for this Easy Button of App Exclusions (must be account level):

(1) Select ALL campaigns. Navigate to Content in the left nav.

Exclude Mobile Apps from PMax Campaign in Google Ads

(2) Select "Edit exclusions" and "Account"

If you select "Campaign" here, you will not see the option for selecting PMax campaigns from the list.

(3) Select App Categories

exclude mobile app categories in pmax campaign

(4) Check all boxes for each of the app categories in both Google and Apple options

mobile app exclusions in google ads

Make sure to CHECK the boxes, that means they will be excluded.

exclude mobile apps in google pmax content settings

Please be aware, you may still get some mobile app traffic in your reports (you can see that by viewing the Pre-defined Reports options for PMax Campaign Placements, and then select Placement Type in the report. We have found this doesn't totally get rid of all apps, but does eliminate the vast majority of app traffic. And don't forget to exclude any poor placements from your PMax campaigns as well, especially those that may cause branding concerns!

view placement types in pmax google ads reports

report placement types in pmax google ads

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Kirk Williams
@PPCKirk - Owner & Chief Pondering Officer

Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his Paid Search & Social PPC micro-agency of experts, and has been working in Digital Marketing since 2009. His personal motto (perhaps unhealthily so), is "let's overthink this some more."  He even wrote a book recently on philosophical PPC musings that you can check out here: Ponderings of a PPC Professional.

He has been named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero 6 years in a row (2016-2021), has written articles for many industry publications (including Shopify, Moz, PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, and Microsoft), and is a frequent guest on digital marketing podcasts and webinars.

Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, six children, books, Trek Bikes, Taylor guitar, and little sleep.

Kirk is an avid "discusser of marketing things" on Twitter, as well as an avid conference speaker, having traveled around the world to talk about Paid Search (especially Shopping Ads).  Kirk has booked speaking engagements in London, Dublin, Sydney, Milan, NYC, Dallas, OKC, Milwaukee, and more and has been recognized through reviews as one of the Top 10 conference presentations on more than one occasion.

You can connect with Kirk on Twitter or Linkedin.

In 2023, Kirk had the privilege of speaking at the TEDx Billings on one of his many passions, Stop the Scale: Redefining Business Success.

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