Google AdWords Search Partners – Do You Know Where Your Ads Are Showing?

September 30th, 2008 by Kristie McDonald

As we all know Google has a very wide, vast reach within the internet world.  When you run campaigns in Google Adwords, there are many places your ads can show up depending on how you setup your search engine marketing campaigns.   It is important to understand where your ads are showing in order to manage your account and to present the most effective ads to customers.Google Search Partners

Within your AdWords campaign settings, you have the option to tell Google where you want your ads shown.   You have 3 basic choices with some variations. 

  • Google Only Search
  • Google Search and Search Partner Network
  • Content Network (sites that have elected to show Google Adsense ads on their site)

Google Search Partner Network 

Google has relationships with search partners where they agree to show ads in response to searches performed on those sites.

Some examples are:

  • AOL
  • Netscape Netcenter
  • Earthlink
  • CompuServe
  • Shopping.com
  • AT&T
  • Ask.com

Google also allows any website to install the Google Search tool and these sites are part of the search partner network as well.

So here is the problem . . . the data you see and manage includes ALL Search traffic – Google, major search partners and all the miscellaneous sites with a search tool installed.  This can lead to incredibly misleading position and average CPC numbers if you think that all traffic is showing on Google (Please refer to Patrick’s Blog about report discrepancies for more information).

Here at JumpFly, we are hoping that Google decides to break this data apart for us in the near future.  It would be very helpful to manage Google traffic separate from Search Partner traffic.  We have been very encouraged by how much control we have been given in the Content Network area, so hopefully the same will be true in the future of Search Partners. 

But for the time being, you can view data regarding where your traffic is coming from in your Google Analytics reports.  This will give you the information you need to understand how each platform is working for you.  Just be sure to setup your goals correctly so you have the whole picture from keyword to conversion.

Learn more about Kristie

PPC Management – Google AdWords Average Position Discrepancies

September 29th, 2008 by Mike Tatge

Recently here at JumpFly, I had an odd event occur with a client’s Google AdWords account regarding the average position reported in the account and the actual position seen when using the Google AdPreview tool. The average position reported for the keywords was consistently around 5, however when we Where Are Your Adslooked at the search terms using the recommended Google AdPreview tool, the ads were being displayed 3 to 5 pages back in the results. This is a huge difference between the reported data and the actual display and as you can imagine generated many questions regarding the accuracy of this data.

First and foremost, it’s important to use the Google AdPreview tool when checking your ad’s position for Google.com. Google recommends the use of this tool in order to see the accurate position of your ads (see Brad’s Video Blog for more about finding your own ads at Google).

To be thorough, after we had used the AdPreview tool we checked Google search and found the same position discrepancies. We tried searching by state, city, and did see some fluctuation in the positioning, however we never once saw it in position 5 or above.

The question then is, “How can we see an average position of 5 in the administration feature, when we actually see the ads in positions 25 to 55?” In my mind, that would require the ad to be displayed at least some of the time in the top positions, however we never once saw the ads appear in position 5 or above. How odd?

I went straight to the source for the answer and the response from Google was very interesting. They believe that the Search Partners may have less competition, and since they use their own historical data to rank and display ads, my clients positioning could possibly be higher. Since they were able to verify on their back-end that the large majority of the volume for this client was coming from their search partners, it seems that the position of 5 was actually that of the search partner network and not at all a representation of the ads on Google.

A quick search on several of the major search partner networks like AOL.com, and Comcast.net reveled very similar results to Google.com, with the ads still being displayed several pages back in the search results. This means that the position of 5 must be achieved through other odd partner sites including those content style websites that use the Google search box feature. For some reason Google still considers these low quality sites as “Search Partners” since they use a search box. This is a point where I strongly disagree.

The solution was simple enough. I removed the search partners from the targeting. This allowed the interface to show me actual average positions as obtained through Google.com and not any of the odd search partner websites. Bids needed to be raised, however at least we were able to accurately see the results of the bid increases and the real positioning of the client’s ads on Google. If ROI permits, we may release the campaign back to the Search Partner Network.

On several occasions we have suggested to Google the ability to separate campaigns for Google and the Search Partner Network. As it is now, you only have the choice to do Google alone, or Google and the Search Partner Network combined. As a result of this occurrence, I have also suggested that Google display separate average positions for Google and the Search Partner Network.

More on Google AdWords Editor Version 6

August 5th, 2008 by Kristie McDonald

Last week I wrote about some of the new features in Google AdWords Editor Version 6.

PPC AdvertisingIn addition to the Ad Words performance statistics that I wrote about, they have made some changes to the Editing features available.

Spell Checker
By far, my favorite new editing feature is the spell checker.

This one is a huge timesaver.

We all know that correct spelling is crucial to your ad’s success, but before this change you needed to rely on manual verification.  I would go one step further and download the ad copy into Word to be sure the spelling was 100% error free.

Now this step can be eliminated, still knowing you have error free ad copy.

Drag & Drop
Another useful feature is the ability to drag and drop ad groups within the tree view.

There are many situations when you want to move or copy an ad group between campaigns or into new campaigns.

There are several settings that are available at the campaign level that would lead you to put an ad group in its own campaign.  For example you may want to control the daily budget of a particular ad group separately.  You can also control geo targeting or ad scheduling at the campaign level.  There are other settings as well, but these are the settings I use the most.

As an example, I just had a situation with a client where we noticed their campaigns were maxing out budget on a daily basis.  We were working to manage the ad groups and keywords to maximize their traffic without raising the budget, but there was one Ad Group that converted so well that it didn’t make sense to limit the daily budget in the same way.  We were able to quickly break the Ad Group out into its own campaign with its own daily budget separate from the rest of the groups.

We’ve been able to copy and paste or cut and paste ad groups between campaigns, but this just got even easier with drag and drop.

If you’d like more information or training on using Ad Words Editor, check out this release announcement from Google.