AdWords Tips

How to Exclude an IP Address: AdWords IP Exclusion Tool

By Tom Demers August 16, 2010 Posted In: AdWords Tips Comments: 5

Google has an interesting tightrope to walk with their AdWords platform in that they have two central competing interests:

  1. They want to make the system intuitive to use and easy for the "tail" of AdWords advertisers to spend money with.
  2. They need to continue to make AdWords a profitable channel for the top advertisers, who represent the bulk of the money spent on their platform, and they need to present power users with access to power tools.

To date the way they've handled this is to offer defaults on the front end that encourage spending, with advanced features that help optimize larger spends available but less accessible (which possibly accounts for their alarmingly high client churn amongst small businesses).

A great example of this push-spend-in-the-front-intelligent-features-in-the-back is the AdWords IP Exclusion Tool. The tool can be a very handy means of limiting unwanted clicks and impressions, but it's very difficult to find and a bit cumbersome to utilize. This post will walk you through what it does, where to find it, and why you might want to use it.

What is the AdWords IP Exclusion Tool?

The AdWords IP Exclusion Tool is basically the place within AdWords where you designate IP addresses you don't want your AdWords ad to be eligible to show in.

Why Would I Want to Use the IP Exclusion Tool?

The IP exclusion tool allows you to eliminate clicks from IPs you've identified as malicious or irrelevant. This means both hard and soft cost savings:

  • Hard Cost - You can actually eliminate irrelevant clicks, meaning a tangible reduction in cost.
  • Soft Cost - By eliminating irrelevant impressions, you're increasing your click-through rates and subsequently your Quality Score. This means pricing discounts and improved ad rank.

When Should I Use the IP Exclusion Tool?

There are a number of different reasons you might consider using the IP Exclusion Tool. Some of the most popular are:

  • Click Fraud - This is more prevalent on the content network (where you would want to leverage placement exclusion) but you may notice a sudden surge in clicks from a single IP driving up your AdWords spend; possibly a competitor or other malicious agent.
  • Competitive Intelligence - You might consider blocking a competitor's IP so they can't see your ads, particularly if you're bidding on their brand terms.
  • Limit Impressions from Your Company - You should also block your company's IP address to limit impressions from your own employees that may cost you quality score increases and clicks that can cost you money.

And I'm sure there are several other reasons you may want to block a specific IP (if you have some interesting reasons/examples, please leave them in the comments).

Where Do I Find the AdWords IP Exclusion Tool?

Here's where you see that design conflict: the IP exclusion tool is located within the "opportunities" tab.

Before you can get to the IP exclusion tool, you have to navigate through Google's opportunity tab, which gives you ideas on how to spend more money on things like:

  • Increased budget
  • New keyword bid ideas
  • Keyword ideas

The default driving force for these recommendations is to "increase traffic." In other words: generate more clicks and increased revenue for Google:

 The AdWords Opportunities tab offers ideas around how to get more "traffic"

Not unlike their emphasis on click-through rate, the only sure winner in increased traffic to your site is Google.

But that's a bit of a digression from our topic: to find the IP exclusion tool you simply need to scroll wayyyyy down the page and look at the left hand side of your screen, under your campaign navigation, in the tools section:

 tools -> more tools.

Select more tools, and you'll be taken to a larger list of AdWords tools, including the IP exclusion tool:

IP exclusion is a tool within Googles list of AdWords tools.

Select the IP exclusion tool and you'll be presented with the option to select a campaign. Unfortunately, there's no way to exclude an IP address at the account level, which can be extremely cumbersome if you've built out several campaigns within your account. Either way you want to select the appropriate campaign and click Go:

The IP exclusion tool only works at the campaign level.

Next, copy the IP address you'd like to exclude into the tool and click Exclude IP Addresses:

Exclude an IP address

Finally, you can see a list of the IPs you've excluded:

Excluded IP addresses are visible within the IP exclusion tool.

Now, you're able to exclude IP addresses to limit impressions and clicks you don't want - while it may not be ideal for Google, IP exclusion can save you money!

AdWords Performance Grader




If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment.

Comments

Monday August 16, 2010

Chad Summerhill (not verified) Said:

Great post, Tom! You might want to start with your own companies IP address and get used to using the Ad Preview Tool when you’re interested in how your ad is showing up against your competitors.

I’ve also run into situations where other employees (who have nothing to do with marketing) search on a brand term and click a PPC ad to get to our website. They just don’t understand what they are doing. We have thousands of employees, so it’s easier to exclude IP’s than to try and educate everyone.

Monday August 16, 2010

Tom Demers Said:

Hey Chad: thanks for commenting! Yeah the Ad Preview Tool is definitely handy, and excluding employee IPs is a great practice, particularly anyone who might be doing brand searches or rank checking on your core terms from home.

Tom

Sunday October 24, 2010

Justin in Japan (not verified) Said:

Oct 2010 - Google has just upped the no. of IPs you can exclude to 100 (from 20).
Excellent news..... !
Here is another (easier ?) way to get to IP exclusion :
1.Click the Networks tab near the top, towards the right.
2.Click on Exclusions at the bottom left.
3.Click the Manage IP address exclusions (advanced) link at the bottom right.
4.Select Campaign
5.Enter the list of IP addresses to exclude.
6.Click Save.

Friday November 30, 2012

Sua binh nong lanh (not verified) Said:

Hello!
How to know the IP of the first customers click on the ad?
Please

Thursday April 03, 2014

Jim (not verified) Said:

Hi Tom, 

This is an old blog and an old topic, I know.   Was wondering if you had any favorite IP address monitoring software packages that you've used.   I'm on a WordPress site, and one of our competitors is taking the gloves off and getting dirty, including blowing our Adwords budget.     G is investigating, but I need to do everything I can on my end as well.  

 

Thanks!

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