Navigating Data Exclusions in Google Ads: Identify the Need for Exclusions and How to Implement Them

Feb 19, 2024PPC

What is a Data Exclusion in Google Ads?

Maintaining the accuracy and integrity of your Google Ads campaign data is critical especially in the world of performance-driven advertising. This is where data exclusions in Google Ads come into play. Data exclusions allow advertisers to omit specific data points from their campaign performance metrics, ensuring that anomalies or inaccuracies do not skew their overall understanding and strategic decisions. Data exclusions are a feature within Google Ads that enables advertisers to selectively remove data that might misrepresent their campaign’s true performance. This could be due to various reasons, such as website downtime, tracking errors, or external events that drive atypical traffic patterns, which are not indicative of the normal performance of the campaigns.

The Importance of Data Exclusions

Utilizing data exclusions is crucial for several reasons:
  • Accuracy: It helps maintain the accuracy of campaign data by removing outliers or inaccuracies.
  • Optimization: By excluding misleading data, advertisers can make more informed decisions about optimizing their campaigns.
  • Insight: Understanding what to exclude and why can provide deeper insights into campaign performance and external factors affecting it.

When to Consider Using Data Exclusions in Google Ads?

Data exclusions are not a common, everyday tool to use but it’s really helpful in circumstances like these:

  • Website Outages: If your website experiences downtime due to hosting issues or maintenance, any data collected during this period could be misleading.
  • Tracking Issues: Errors in tracking setup can lead to inaccurate data collection. This might include misfires in conversion tracking or analytics integration problems.
  • Significant External Events: Events outside your control, such as natural disasters, societal shifts, or viral trends, can temporarily influence your traffic and performance metrics in ways not reflective of your campaign’s effectiveness.
  • Sudden Spikes or Drops in Traffic: Unexplained changes in traffic that do not correlate with recent campaign adjustments could indicate an anomaly.

Potential Impacts of Not Using Data Exclusions in These Scenarios

Neglecting to use data exclusions when necessary can have several detrimental effects on your campaign management and analysis, including:

  • Misguided Decisions: Basing decisions on skewed data may lead to ineffective strategy adjustments, budget misallocation, or incorrect audience targeting.
  • ROI Misinterpretation: Inaccurate performance data can lead to a misunderstanding of your return on investment, potentially leading to further misinformed decisions.
  • Optimization Challenges: Without accurate data, identifying the most effective campaign elements to optimize for improved performance becomes significantly harder.


How to Implement Data Exclusions?

This guide provides a step-by-step approach to adding data exclusions within the updated Google Ads interface. For additional information visit Google’s Help Guide.

Adding Data Exclusions:

  1. Navigate to your Google Ads account and select the Tools icon.
  2. From the dropdown menu labeled “Budgets and bidding” located in the sidebar, choose “Adjustments.”
  3. At the top of the page, click on the “Exclusions” tab.
  4. To initiate a new data exclusion, click the plus sign.
  5. Under “Settings,” provide a name and a brief description for your exclusion.
  6. Specify the timeframe for the exclusion by setting the start and end dates and times. Remember to account for the usual delay in conversion attribution by selecting an appropriate date range.
  7. In the “Scope” section, decide on the campaigns and devices you wish to exclude. It’s possible to apply exclusions to specific campaigns or to the entire account.
  8. If necessary, choose which devices to exclude, such as mobile devices, if the tracking issue was device-specific.
  9. Once all details are correctly filled in, click “Save” to proceed.
  10. Be aware that implementing data exclusions might affect the performance of your bid strategies. Verify the accuracy of all entered information before finalizing by clicking “Create data exclusion.”

Important Considerations:

Data exclusions can be set at both the MCC (My Client Center) level and the individual sub-account level, adhering to the time zone settings of the respective account.

This streamlined process ensures that you can efficiently apply data exclusions to maintain the integrity of your Google Ads campaigns, adjusting for any anomalies or inaccuracies in your data.

Looking for help with your PPC? We can help.

Case Study: Results of Data Exclusions

One of our major ecommerce clients recently faced a hiccup with their data due to some issues with conversion tracking. Essentially, the conversions they were tracking in their Google Ads account, which were initially set up in GA4 and then imported, hit a snag. What happened was, during this glitch, when customers completed purchases on the website, these events weren’t being relayed back to GA4 as they should have been. As you can imagine, this caused the conversion data in their Google Ads account to take a nosedive in a very short span of time. And since the account was leaning heavily on the Maximize Conversion Value bidding strategy, its overall performance took a significant hit.

After we got to the bottom of the conversion tracking issues and got the event data moving again, the account, unfortunately, didn’t bounce back as we hoped. To tackle this, we decided to exclude the data from the period affected by the outage. This move paid off, as we saw an immediate turnaround in account performance. Clicks and conversions returned to their usual levels within just 24 hours.

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