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Is it possible to limit ads to just users running a particular operating system?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

All of my keywords say they have "low quality scores." According to the guides, you can improve your score by using more specific keywords, but I'm finding just the opposite is true.


The keyword suggestions with the great quality scores are all generic, while my specific keywords all get low scores.


My problem is that I sell Macintosh software. If I use generic keywords (i.e. leave out "mac" from the keywords) I end up paying for a bazillion ads sent to Windows and Linux users. I could use more generic keywords, but only if I could limit my search ads to just users running a particular OS. Is this possible?




I've seen where you can do this for mobile devices, so it's obviously possible from a technical standpoint, I just can't seem to find any settings relavent to desktop operating systems.


I've already added negative keywords for Windows, Linux, Vista, etc.


I've already limited my display network to OS-specific topics, but I'm most interested in targeting my search-diven ads.

3 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Is it possible to limit ads to just users running a particular operating system?

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
I have never heard of being able to target an OS through the search network.

Were the low QS keywords active as in getting impressions and clicks? And if so how was the CTR on the search network for the low QS keywords? AND Smiley Wink if they were active what are the average costs per click for those keywords in comparison to the more generic higher QS keywords?

Also have you every considered targeting Mac related websites through the display network? You may be able to get your ads in front of just the right audience through the display network.

Kim Clink, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the 'Best Answer.'

Re: Is it possible to limit ads to just users running a particular operating system?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
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That's too bad. For many computer products, I would think this would be a simple and effective filter. Smiley Sad


Most of the keywords for my ads get a quality score of 1 or 2. I have a couple of 3s and one 5, but those have never gotten a click.


The low quality score ads are getting displayed, and they get costs-per-click somewhere around $0.60. I don't know enough about ads to know if that's low or high, or how the quality score affects it. Their click-through-rates are aobut 0.04%. Again, I have no idea if that's good or bad.


I entered a few of the (more generic) keywords that were suggested by the keywords tool. Most got a quality score of 4.


As I mentioned, I've already targeted Mac-specific websites through the display network. My question was concerned with search+keyword ads.

Marked as Best Answer.
Accepted by Zee (Community Manager)
September 2015

Re: Is it possible to limit ads to just users running a particular operating system?

Google Employee
# 4
Google Employee

Hi James,

That’s a great question. At this time, operating system targeting is limited to mobile and tablet devices. However, there are some other strategies you might consider to try to improve the relevance of your advertising and make sure you are using your resources to collect qualified leads.

1. Negative Keywords
You hit the nail on the head--adding negative keywords can limit who your ads show to and potentially help boost your CTR (Click-Through Rate), which factors into Quality Score. Keep building your list and referring to the Search Terms Report for ideas of terms to exclude.

2. Placement, Interest, and Topic Exclusions
I know you’re mostly focused on Search advertising, but I wanted to call to your attention that, just as you can exclude negative keywords, you can also exclude Interest groups, Topics, and Placements. For instance, if you have a campaign targeting the Display Network, you may wish to exclude the Interest group ‘Linux & Unix’. For instructions on how to exclude a specific audience, please follow the directions found here. The method for excluding Placements and Topics is similar.

3. Create very specific ad groups
Each ad group within your campaign should focus on a single kind of software or (if you only have one kind of software) a specific customer concern (i.e. convenience, security, scale). This can help make your ads appear more relevant to customers. Relevance tends to lead to higher quality ads, and being specific is one way to become more relevant.

4. Use a strong call-to-action
Make sure people know what to do when they see your ad. A call-to-action encourages users to click on your ad and helps them understand what they can do once they reach your landing page. Some calls-to-action that might be relevant to a software business include Order Now, Try Today, Test Drive, etc.

5. Include keywords in your ad text
Particularly for Search Network advertising, include your keywords in your ad text (especially in your ad's headline) to show people that your ad is directly relevant to their search. When people see their search terms in your ad text, it shows them that your ad is probably relevant to what they're searching for. Again, if your ad is more attractive to a user, this could have a positive impact on your CTR, which in turn could have a positive impact on Quality Score.

Thank you for your question, and best of luck with the success of your campaigns!

Kind regards,

The Google AdWords Team

Re: Is it possible to limit ads to just users running a particular ope

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Two year later and this limit still exists. It would be very easy for Google to be able to limit the OS served. I publish and Android App and half my clicks are from IOS (total waste of money). When is Google going to serve their customers interests instead of their own?

Re: Is it possible to limit ads to just users running a particular ope

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
And I am hitting the same problem. My first google add and I am completely at a loss with the language used by google adwords. My ads are currently throttled by google because I am spending my budget but looking at my web stats I have not had a single mac user click on an ad. All windows. I am completely at a loss as to how to make this work.

Re: Is it possible to limit ads to just users running a particular ope

Community Manager
# 7
Community Manager
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