With the advent of the smart phone and the tablet, technology and, in turn, advertising have become more mobile and accessible than ever before. If you’ve ever used any sort of free version of a mobile app or game, chances are you’ve seen the ads that are displayed around the screen, which is why it didn’t cost you a dime to download it: advertisement revenue

As a user, these ads are usually no more than a minor annoyance that can be dismissed with a tap of the screen or eliminated entirely for a dollar or two, however for PPC managers, these ads can have a pretty significant impact on your AdWords campaigns.

Recently, Google introduced Enhanced Campaigns, which includes a feature that automatically opts users into mobile and tablet platforms for their AdWords campaigns. While users can pull out of showing on mobile devices that have full browsers by setting bid modifiers to -100% and excluding GMob mobile app non-interstitial in the site category options, we’re basically stuck still showing for tablets.

This may seem like it might not have an astronomical impact on your campaigns, but you’re about to see how it could have a serious impact on the cost of your campaign.

What Harm Could a Fun Game Cause?

If you’re privy to the world of mobile gaming or you frequent any sort of tech community, chances are you’ve heard of the mobile game Flappy Bird. For a few weeks this simple game was stirring up some massive waves throughout the Internet for both its highly addictive gameplay and when creator Dong Nguyen pulled the game off of the iTunes Store, its mysterious and surprising end.

The creator was raking in, at one point, $50,000 a day in ad revenue, which is exactly where your ad campaigns come in.

In a specific example of how a vastly popular mobile games like Flappy Bird can effect your AdWords campaigns, a relatively stable Contextual KeyWord Targeted Display campaign for an Ecommerce account targeting an audience 50+ saw a 221% increase in spend in a single day, with 34% of that spend coming from one placement. What placement was that you might be asking? Mobile App: Flappy Bird, of course.

How could this happen so quickly? A large part of this has to do with the target audience. For example, if you’re targeting stay-at-home-moms mobile gamingaged 30-40, who do you think is probably on their phones and tablets? Their kids. What do kids like to do at that young age? Press and explore anything new and shiny, including the ads that pop up while they’re playing Flappy Bird or any other mobile app, resulting in a possible drastic increase of spend with a probable extremely low conversion rate.

Now, if you’re trying to garner traffic this way, you absolutely want to do everything you can to boost your impressions on these mobile apps. However, you’re most likely not looking for a 221% increase in spend in a single day, so you’re going to want to make sure that your ads aren’t showing up on these apps. To do that, you need to add adsenseformobileapps.com as a campaign placement exclusion, and as an extra preventative measure, also include the Topic Exclusion “Games.”

While the whole Flappy Bird ordeal isn’t necessarily a common occurrence, all it takes is one breakthrough game and a lax handle on your campaign restrictions and you could be looking at losing some serious bread with little to no return for your troubles. With that being said, simply heed this as a preventative word of caution and take the few minutes necessary to protect your campaigns if need be.