Why Google's iPhone Ads Are Bad News For Advertisers, And How To Opt Out


Google (GOOG) is working on an advertising product for iPhone apps, which is now in beta.

Click here to see our step-by-step guide for advertisers to opt out of Google’s iPhone ad network →

This is good news for app developers, as it gives them another money-making option besides existing iPhone ad firms like AdMob, Medialets, or Millenial. And it’s good for Google’s AdWords advertisers who want to reach free-spending iPhone users. (Someday, with targeting features like location baked into the ads.)

But it might not be the best thing for many advertisers just yet. Why not?

  • Google doesn’t run separate keyword auctions for iPhone ads — they’re the same ads at the same prices as on the “real” Web.
  • Those Google ads are often a lot more expensive per-click than iPhone ads from mobile ad networks. For instance, Google cost-per-click ads are often in the $0.50-to-$1+ range. But cost-per-click ads in iPhone apps via mobile ad networks are around $0.20.
  • Many (most?) advertisers aren’t aware their ads are also running on iPhones. We’ve heard second-hand that some major agencies weren’t aware, and are considering opting their clients out. (Here’s how.)
  • One reason that’s bad is because advertisers are sending iPhone users to the same Web sites they’re sending Windows or Mac users to — not an iPhone- or mobile-optimised site.
  • Besides being a lousy experience on a small-screen mobile device, often those standard Web sites include Flash video or navigation that the iPhone just can’t handle.
  • This all can add up to higher ad spending, a poor customer experience, and ultimately, a lower ROI.

Google also makes it a little tricky for its advertisers to opt-out of iPhone ads — it’s buried several clicks deep in Google’s Web control panel, under a setting not “recommended for new advertisers.” But we’ve assembled this how-to guide — if you want to keep your AdWords ads on the Web only, and away from iPhones.

Step 1

Log into Google's AdWords portal and click on 'Campaigns.'

Step 2

Click the 'Settings' tab.

Step 3

Click on a campaign's name or the 'Networks & Devices' setting.

Step 4

Click on 'Edit' under the 'Networks, devices, and extensions' section.

Step 5

Click 'Let me choose.'

Step 6

Uncheck 'iPhones and other mobile devices with full Internet browsers.' Then click 'Save.'

Step 7

Most users will think they have to change each campaign manually, but... It's possible to apply your settings changes to all campaigns.

Step 8

First click 'Select All' checkbox, then click 'Edit.'

Step 9

Then you can mouse over your settings in the 'Networks & Devices' column, and apply that setting to all campaigns.

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