Google Ads Search Partners – Should you Be Using Them?

Google gives advertisers several options to target their potential customers, these include Search, Display, Shopping and Video. In this article we will be looking at a network that doesn’t get mentioned as much and that is Google Ads Search Partners.

Out of the advertising options that Google offer, search is most popular and tends to be the first choice for new advertisers. The reason for this is quite simple, search generates extremely targeted traffic.

Basically, when someone is searching for your product or service your ad is shown in the search results.

What a lot of advertisers don’t realise, is they are automatically opted into something called Google ads search partners.

What Are Google Ads Search Partners?

Below you can see how Google Support describes search partners

“Sites in the Search Network that partner with Google to show ads. Search partners extend the reach of Google Search ads to hundreds of non-Google websites, as well as YouTube and other Google sites.

On search partners sites, your ads can appear on search results pages, on site directory pages, or on other pages related to a person’s search.”

Google does not offer a Google search partner list, so you are unable to identify all sites included in the search partners network. You will often see ads displayed on other small search engines and large websites with search functionality.

Examples of search partners include: Ask.com, Lycos.com, Amazon and Gumtree to name a few.

Benefits of using Google Ads Search Partners

The main benefit of using Google search partners is increasing your reach on existing search campaigns.

Search volume will depend on the industry you are in. Some industries have very low traffic coming from partner sites and others you will see quite a lot of volume.

Partner sites generally produce cheaper clicks, if it works for your business, you may get much more bang for your buck. Similarly, you may also see significantly cheaper conversions.

Below is an example of a client we work with As you can see clicks and conversions are coming in at a much lower cost from Google search partners.

Google ads search partners

As you can see cost per click is roughly 20% lower on search partners and there is a higher conversion rate. This means conversions are coming in more than 30% cheaper.

Another thing you will notice in this example is there is a huge amount of impressions. Search partners dwarf Google search in terms of impressions, unfortunately the click through rate is so low that Google search generates over 80% of the clicks.

This brings us on to the negatives of Google ads search partners.

The Negatives of Advertising On Google Partner Sites

Unfortunately, its not always a positive experience running Google ads search partners, there are some definite negatives.

  1. You don’t have any control over the individual sites in the partner network. This is frustrating, because it’s common have search partners campaigns, doing OK, but not quite profitable. If there was the option to control bids and exclude certain partners, it would be far easier to make this work for advertisers.
  2. You are unable to create search partner only campaigns, again this very frustrating. If you were able to separate partners from Google search campaigns it would be far easier to optimize as you would be able to adjust bids specifically for Google search partners. Bing ads already have this feature in their Syndicated partners network. This used to be Yahoo syndicated search partners and there has always been the option to target partners separately.
  3. You are opted into Google ads search partners by default. Whenever a new search campaign is created it you will be targeting search partners unless you turn them off.
    turn off google ads search partners
    It is not uncommon for search partners to be negatively effecting campaigns without the advertiser even realising.

Who should Use Google Ads Search Partners

Search partners are worth testing for most advertisers. However It can be quite hit and miss depending on the industry.

Due to having no control over the sites ads are shown on, it can be quite difficult to optimise. You just need to test and see if it works for your campaigns.

Instances where I would recommend not advertising on Search partners include, advertisers with low budgets. In this case you are probably better focusing on Google Search where you have full control of your campaigns.

Also, we have found that call only campaigns perform very poorly on Search partners.

In conclusion, search partners can be a bit of a mixed bag. It works well for some advertisers, and not so well for others. The only way to really know is test it.

We hope you enjoyed this article on Google Ads search partners. If you have any questions about this, or any other type of Google Ads management please feel free to ask them in the comments below.

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