Using Google search partners is effective at expanding the reach of your search or shopping campaign if you don’t mind less control and visibility compared to Google’s search network. But what are Google Search Partners and why should you care about them? Google search partners are websites that have partnered with Google to show ads. In return, these sites will receive a share of the advertising profit. As a digital marketer, Google Search Partners can enhance your campaign’s reach, clicks and conversions. In general, you can expect to yield a lower CTR, average CPC and conversion rate for this portion of your campaign compared to Google search. But, CTR numbers vary depending on what you’re advertising and may even be larger for search partner portions of certain campaigns. Now, let’s dive in to examine Google Search Partners, how you can benefit from it and how to circumvent drawbacks.
Managing Visibility & Control On Google Search Partners
Adding search partners to your campaigns allows you to capture a larger audience by showing up on more sites than what is possible with Google’s search network alone. In turn, this can trigger more impressions, clicks and valuable conversions for you or your client. Of course, there are a few constraints. First, Google doesn’t allow you to see which of these search partner sites your ads are showing up on or to exclude certain sites. Fortunately, this lack of visibility and control doesn’t mean you can’t manage where you show up online.
One strategy to handle this is to review your keywords and match types regularly for campaigns running on Google Search Partners. This helps you determine which are the most relevant for your audience and specific campaign strategy. Google Ads can provide you with a performance breakdown using the Segment Tool which can be used to discriminate against search partners and Google search at the keyword level. Then, eliminate keywords or adjust the match type for ones yielding poor results on Google Search Partners to reduce unproductive spend and target a more relevant audience. You can also monitor performance using the Segment Tool at the campaign, ad group, ad, landing page, audience, demographics and placement levels. Checking these areas regularly ensures Google Search Partners isn’t negatively impacting your campaign. Also, it’s important to note that ads shown on the search partner sites do not affect your keyword quality score. This translates to your average CPC being unaffected by search partner CTR’s.
How To Retain High-Performing Keywords
While analyzing keywords and match types you might find some that perform very well on search partner sites. Therefore, if you decide to exclude search partners from that active campaign, you’ll lose profitable clicks and conversions from these keywords. A useful strategy to overcome this limitation is to pause keywords that are under-performing and add them into a new search network-only campaign that excludes Google search partners. By doing so, you retain the high performers on search partner sites while removing keywords that are generating a high cost per conversion and weak click conversion rate. In effect, this helps you trim the fat off of your campaign.
Short & Sweet How-To Guide To Creating Search Partner-Only Campaigns
Another small obstacle with Google search partners comes in the form of not being able to create search partner-only campaigns or make bid adjustments specifically on search partner ad placements. It seems evident that Google wants customers to use Google Search Partners as a supplement to their existing search network audience rather than a stand-alone network. This makes sense when you consider that Google Search Partners is less targeted compared to the traditional search network.
One way to hack the system in regard to not being able to create search partner-only campaigns is to create a combined Google Search Partners and search network campaign. Then, generate a duplicate of that very campaign but opt out of Google Search Partners. Thereafter, bid higher for the new campaign which will result in winning auctions over your search network segment on the original. This results in the generation of mainly Google Search Partners traffic for the original campaign. Notably, this strategy eliminates the need to do keyword specific targeting to discriminate against Google Search Partners and the search network. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still monitor your keyword performance regularly and remove or negative keyword poor performers. Keeping a close eye on the health of your campaign at a granular level and making necessary changes often is the mark of an effective PPC Manager.
Should You Use Google Search Partners?
Google Search Partners can produce exceptional results for you and your client by casting a wider net and tapping into a myriad of websites. Nevertheless, it isn’t always the right choice to utilize its capabilities. When deciding on whether to use Google Search Partners or not, consider your campaign goals. At Jigsaw, if our goal is to maximize efficiency we typically don’t switch Google Search Partners on for a couple of reasons. Namely, search partners usually leads to lower CTR’s and conversion rates and a higher cost per conversion rate compared to that of the search network. Conversely, if our goals involve maximizing impressions, clicks or conversions we’ll routinely implement Google Search Partners. This way, we draw upon the larger audience available to us while being mindful of unit cost given that the average CPC for search partners is generally lower than that of the search network.
Google Search Partners can be a powerful tool in any digital marketer’s tool belt. Examine your campaign-specific goals and determine which of these routes is best for you. Hopefully, this information will help you make better decisions when you’re weighing whether or not to incorporate search partners and will assist in sidestepping some of the shortcomings.