Is the Search Partners Network Hurting Your CTR?



The Google search partners network is made up of sites that partner with Google to show Google ads to their visitors. On search partner sites your search ads can appear on search results pages, on site directory pages or on other pages related to a users search. You have less control over where and how these ads appear and for this reason being opted into the search partners network can hurt your ad’s performance.

You can determine how search partners is performing by segmenting by network (search partners).

Ampersands in search term reports…?

One way to find out if the search network is hurting your ad’s performance is to look in your search terms reports for repeated or unusual search terms. For more on how to find your search term reports click here.

I recently noticed some strange terms appearing in a new client’s search term reports that were really hurting click through rates. There were thousands of impressions and dozens of clicks for terms ending with ‘vans & utes automotive’. There were also similar search terms ending with ‘parts & accessories automotive’. I found it hard to believe that 15000 people would enter a search term like this one.


Adwords search terms report excerpt


I started with a few Google searches and couldn’t find much on the topic. Especially on the official Adwords Community where Google’s accepted answer was very robotic. “Everything in the Search Query Report is the exact Match terms that a user typed into a single search request that triggered your ads to show. So someone typed in “clothes shoes & accessories men’s clothing jumpers & cardigans new”.”

To me this wasn’t an acceptable answer so I kept digging. A colleague of mine mentioned search partners and how sites like Gumtree (an Australian classified ad site) often display Google ads at the bottom of their search results pages. This made sense and after looking at Gumtree I realised that the strange search terms in the account matched some of the automotive categories. It appears that Google was pulling the term the user had searched and adding the category name.

The Solution

Unfortunately there is no way to disable specific search partner sites but it is possible to disable the search partners network (see below). Before you go ahead and do this make sure to check performance as search partner network CPC’s tend to be cheaper and this can result in lower cost per conversion.

 To disable search partners when creating a new campaign make sure to deselect it under networks.


exclude search partners


If anyone has come up with an alternative solution I’d love to know. Please join the discussion on our Google + page or in the comments below.


Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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