Search Engine Marketing Toronto Digital Agency

Who Should Use Google Search Partners?

By default, “Google Search Partners” is enabled when creating a new AdWords campaign. While this option can extend your reach, it can negatively impact your campaign if not used properly.

Who are Google Search Partners?

Google will not publicly list their list of Search Partners but these can include other Google properties such as YouTube or Gmail, other search engines such as and or retail sites such as Ebay or Amazon.

Should you enable Google Search Partners?

Whether or not to enable Google Search Partners will depend on your advertising budget and goals. Generally, Google Search Partners have a lower CPC. If you are tracking conversions, you’ll want to ensure your cost per conversion is similar to Google Search. When launching a new campaign, you may want to opt out if limited by budget and maximize your spend on Google Search. If not restricted by budget, it may be worth enabling until you have enough data to suggest otherwise.

Once a campaign has been in market long enough with Google Search Partners enabled, the first step in determining if you should opt out is to segment by Network (with search partners) at the campaign level.


If you are satisfied with the results, you may want to continue opting into Google Search Partners. However, if the results are not on par with Google Search, you may want to investigate further before turning it off completely.

Run a Search term report

The next step in optimizing for Google Search Partners is to run a search query report. If you sort by impressions, you’ll probably notice long tailed keywords with high impression volumes. These are likely coming from Google Search Partners as there is no way someone is searching for these keywords in Google. This can easily be validated by segmenting your search term report by Network.

With a campaign I recently took over, I was noticing high impression volumes for the broad match keyword “fitness exercise”. By running a search term report, I discovered these impressions were all being triggered by Google Search Partners and contained “<city name> buy and sell sporting goods exercise exercise equipment”.  Since fitness equipment was not relevant to this particular campaign, I was able to prevent these impressions by adding equipment as a negative keyword.

Measuring Engagement

While Google Search Partners typically return a lower CPC and can extend your reach by driving more visitors to your site at a lower cost, engagement should also be measured to ensure the increase in traffic quantity is not of poor quality.

In Google Analytics, the Ad Distribution Network dimension will give you an overview of how visitors coming via Google Search Partners are engaging with your site. This can also be added as a Secondary dimension at the ad group or keyword level. Google Search Partners at the campaign level may be performing poorly but there may be certain keywords returning strong engagement.


Alternatively, you can also tag your URLs with the ValueTrack parameter {network} if you are not using Google Analytics. By adding “?network={network}” as a URL parameter , clicks coming from Google Search Partners will appear as “s” while Google Search will appear as “g”.

Create a new campaign

After analyzing how your keywords are performing with Google Search Partners, you may have identified a handful of keywords returning strong results. Consider creating a smaller campaign with Google Search Partners enabled targeting just those keywords and opt out in your main campaign.

Unlike the Display Network where you can analyze and manage which placements your ads will appear, Google Search Partners remains the least transparent network and the most difficult to optimize. However, with a little bit of effort, Google Search Partners can bring successful results for your campaign.



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