Of all of the things which bug me in this world… few drive me as crazy as to the limited control options available within Google regarding Search Partners.
Seriously, I get irritated on a daily basis with this one piece of control I don’t have. It is so bad that it makes me extol the virtues of BingAds just because they give me the level of control I desire… and I know almost every other PPC practitioner worth their medal would scream and shout for joy if given the control tomorrow on Adwords.
Let me ask you as an awesome analytical marketer if you looked at something like the image below what would you want to do?
Your natural instinct would be to break it out. You would set different bids, and budgets because the two groups perform so differently. Who here would deny that if you could but have Google Search and Search Partners in separate campaigns but that you could improve the performance of both?
But what does Google allow us to do?
Yep it’s all or nothing when it comes to Search Partners.
You must have Google Search enabled, in order to have Search Partners. Which creates quite the conflict… I am forced to choose to sacrifice potential conversions because I have no control by turning off Search Partners. Or I am forced to include them and possibly limit the performance of Google Search including the phrase any Search Engine hates to hear, “with lower bids”, because I am now forced to optimize to the worst performing of the two.
You would think that simple logic would reign and Google Adwords would allow us to separate the two much like BingAds does. In this area BingAds totally is kicking Google’s butt as pointed out by @drurytheelder
Think bout it this one change would increase potential competition on Google for keywords that performed – by allowing savvy advertisers to increase bids to rake in more of those “bread and butter” conversions. It would also increase revenues from those of us who simply choose to have better performance by completely cutting Search Partners where they perform worse than Google Search. But it would also give in those instances where Search Partners performed better than Google Search (yes they exist) for us to increase our bids there, where otherwise we are left to simply have lower bids across the board, or completely shut down campaigns & ad groups because of the lack of control.
This is definitely a dream many of us wish for as Melissa Mackey, and others noted on Twitter.
Along those same lines something which BingAds allows competent PPC practitioners to do (and Google allows on the Google Display Network but not Search) is to negative match or restrict your ads from showing up on certain partner sites. Whether that be for Brand reasons, or for performance. Especially in the case of performance, shouldn’t the best of the best be rewarded? And in the case of the underperforming should they really be allowed to reap the revenue when they don’t give back the performance which some of their counterparts do?
I can only think of one reason why Google wouldn’t want to disclose it’s Search Partners and allow us to exclude them.
They don’t really want the public, or marketers to know where it gets outside traffic for search ads. Could there be some hidden traffic sources which would possibly cause some issue for the “don’t be evil” behemoth? PPCHero blog talks about parked domains as Search Partners. JumpFly relishes the idea of more control (clear back to 2008), and mentions one reason as any site which installs the Google Search tool is included in Search Partner traffic.
No matter the reason why Google doesn’t allow more control over Search Partners currently – I know thousands of businesses and marketers who would think much better of the Search Giant if it gave to them the control they desire. Can you think of one thing more mentioned as desired, for so long (over 4 years in blog posts) that Google hasn’t given some sway? It’s time this changed!
If your are one of those who would like the control given to those who should hold it, let us know in the comments below. Also sign the petition and share it. It worked to help us get rotate evenly to stay indefinitely – maybe Google will finally realize how frustrated we all are at not being able to have true control over the performance of our campaigns and make the change they should have years ago.