How Google Ads spends your money behind your back

In recent months, Google has increased efforts to automate many aspects of Google Ads, for example the display targeting. By doing so manual controls have been hidden or removed from Google Ads or default settings have been changed. This is not always in the best interest of the advertiser. Below I will collect cases where Google has started to take decisions over the head of the advertiser, and how advertisers can take back control.

Display Native Apps Exclusion

Many advertisers see little to no return on their ad spend invested on native app placements on the Google Display Network. Meanwhile, for Google it’s a fast growing market as more and more impressions are generated in native apps, mostly free-of-charge games.

In earlier, happier days, all in-app ads could be disabled by excluding the placement . Google has phased this convenient possibility out in 2018. This article describes a workaround, but the setting has become harder to find and it’s not possible to exclude all native app placements as one anymore.

Display automatic targeting

If advertisers pay close attention they can see that by default, much of their display ad spend goes into something called Display Automated Targeting. This inflates media spend considerably which is especially misleading in Remarketing campaigns where an advertiser wants to target exclusively users that have visited the website before.

Here is how to deactivate Display automatic targeting for Remarketing (and other) campaigns.