About Mobile Device IDs for Remarketing

Mobile Device ID for remarketing lets you use the activity of your customers within your app to reach and re-engage with those customers across Search, Shopping, and YouTube. You can also use Mobile Device ID lists using one of the following methods:

  • Uploading the MDID information that you collected from your customers with their consent and using the uploaded list to reach and re-engage with them.
  • Collecting the MDID by using Google’s app software development kit (SDK) and analytics tool Firebase or a third-party app analytics tool that fires events based on the customer’s actions within your app. You can then set up rules to create the lists based on the specific events of interest to you.

Note: Targeting or excluding a list of mobile device IDs only work for searches made in the Google app.


Here are some of the benefits of using Mobile Device ID lists for remarketing:

  • Advantage of using MDID remarketing lists over Customer Match:
    • Increase Google Ads campaigns’ coverage to users who engage directly with your app.
  • Advantages over remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA):
    • You can create lists based on specific actions carried out by the users within your app when you use either Firebase or a third-party app analytics tool.
    • You can reach users who do not visit your website, but only engage with your mobile app.
    • Upload the MDID list of your customers to reach them in Google Ads.

Using Mobile Device ID for remarketing

Advertisers who want to use Mobile Device ID for remarketing need to follow these two steps:

  1. Collect the MDIDs for the list that you can upload to Google Ads.
  2. Create the User List for list collection to be used for Google Ads campaigns based on the collected MDIDs.

How it works

Collecting the Mobile Device IDs list

Let’s say that you are the advertiser and the app owner for the website https://www.example.com/someresource.

  • URL Scheme = https
  • Path = www.example.com/someresource

You can use the Demo project as an example.

  • Android - https://www.example.com/someresource?gmpaid=1:300830567303:android:9b9ba2ce17104d0c&adid={IDFA}&anid=applovin&aclid={DID}&cs=AppLovin&cm={AD_TYPE}&cn={CAMPAIGN_NAME}
  • iOS - https://www.example.com/someresource?gmpaid=1:300830567303:ios:09b1ab1d3ca29bda&idfa={IDFA}&anid=applovin&aclid={DID}&cs=AppLovin&cm={AD_TYPE}&cn={CAMPAIGN_NAME}

When a user clicks the link https://www.example.com/someresource from within the app, the analytics partner populates values for {IDFA}, {DID}, {AD_TYPE}, and {CAMPAIGN_NAME}. The deep link looks like this: https://www.example.com/someresource?gmpaid=1:300830567303:android:9b9ba2ce17104d0c&adid=testAAID&anid=applovin&aclid=testClickID&cs=AppLovin&cm=testAdType&cn=testCampaign
You, the app owner can now examine your web logs and see that device ID “testAAID” completed a specific action in your app. You can add this device ID to a “Device ID upload list” so that you can reach and re-engage this user.

You can export the Device ID using Big Query to escalate the process. Learn more about big query export schema.

Note: You can use third parties other than GA4F like Emma, Appsflyer, and Adjust.

Uploading Device ID lists via Google Ads

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Click the tools icon in the upper right corner, then under “Shared library,” click Audience manager.
  3. Click Audience lists from the page menu on the left.
  4. Click the plus button to create a new audience list.
  5. Select Customer list.
  6. Give your audience list a name.
  7. Under “List members,” click the drop-down arrow and select Upload Mobile Device IDs.
  8. Select the mobile app platform and browse for your specific app name. You can select only one app per list upload that matches with the type of IDs being uploaded. Note: A single list upload can’t include both advertising IDs (Apple IDFA/Android AdID).
  9. Create your Mobile Device ID file using a typical advertising ID; either an Apple ADFA or Android AdID, but not both within a single file. You can use this template or upload a plain text (unhashed) .CSV file with a single column labeled "Mobile Device ID". Mobile Device IDs cannot be combined with any other type of customer data (email addresses, phone numbers, zip codes, etc).
  10. Select Choose File and upload your list of User IDs according to the formatting guidelines. Once you’ve selected your data file, click the checkbox to indicate you agree with Google's Customer Match policies.
  11. Select the circle to customize the Membership duration and Description.
  12. Click Upload and Save List. You’ll see this message after you save it: “Your customer list has been successfully saved.” If there are any formatting errors in your file, you will receive a notification.
  13. After a list is saved, it will show an “In progress” status until it has finished uploading, which can take up to 24 hours. You’ll see a list status change in the Google Ads UI when the file has been uploaded, matched successfully, and is eligible to serve (has met the minimum size). If you see “In progress” for more than 24 hours or if you see “error with the last upload,” it means that the system has timed out. You need to ask your client to re-upload the list to fix the issue.

Uploading Device ID lists via the Google Ads API

  • The mobile ID field is part of UserIdentifier type in OfflineUserDataJobService to allow listed users to upload user data based on AAIDs (Android Advertising IDs) and IDFAs (Identifier For Advertisers).
  • The UserList must have the upload_key_type set to MOBILE_ADVERTISING_ID when uploading mobile IDs.

Learn more about remarketing and audience targeting using the API.

Both the Google Ads UI and the Google Ads API also support adding customers to a current list, removing specific customers, and replacing a list of customers with a new list.

Collecting and creating user lists

List collection can be done in multiple ways, depending on your interactions with your users.

  1. By scanning customer devices during store visits or collecting information offline in some other way, while ensuring you adhere to Google’s first party data policy. To create a list based off of this collection, you could upload the collected MDIDs through the Google Ads interface or the API.
  2. By using Firebase or another third party analytics tool to collect App Events based on a user’s actions within the app. To create a list based off of this collection, you can create rules on App Events to create audience lists based on rules about events of interest.

When list collection and list creation are complete, an audience list of users becomes available to be utilized in Google Ads.

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