Search Partners will lower your overall Click Through Rate for your search campaigns, but this will not have an adverse effect on your Quality Score.
It won’t work well all the time, but I have found it can work well particularly with CPA bidding.
Here’s a couple of examples:
Just for the benefit of people in the UK and Ireland:
“Google AdWords Conversion Optimiser”.
Here is the official Google Link:-
Which has some pretty useful information.
It can be a fantastic time saving tool if you have any AdWords campaigns that have had 15 or more conversions in the last 30 days, and more often than not – it can get your more sales or leads with less effort than if you are using manual bidding on your Google AdWords campaign.
I also read an article recently by Perry Marshall where he said (and I tend to agree) that CPA bidding is here to stay, and online advertising will increasingly move towards this model.
The documentation on Conversion Optimizer makes it pretty clear that it can use historical conversion data on an existing campaign to target a specific CPA (one-per-click).
OK, that sounds logical. So it can tell from historical data how well certain keywords convert for you and use that to target a certain CPA. It can also tell (if you re targeting more than one country in a single campaign) how well each country converts, and again use that data to automatically decrease bids in countries where your conversion rate is not so good.
BUT (and this is what I could not find any information on), what if your campaign has never been opted into the content network? Can you just turn the content network on for that campaign, and expect Conversion Optimizer to do a good job of getting you extra conversions on the content network even though it has no historical data about how your campaign performs on the Content Network? If you do just turn on the content network, how long will it take for Conversion Optimizer to learn enough to give you good value for money?
ALSO (another thing I could find no information on), what if you have a campaign that converts much better on the Search Partner Network than it does on Google Search. Using normal CPC bidding (as far as I know) your hands are tied in that you cannot have separate CPC bids for Search Partners, so you just have to let Google waste a lot of money on your behalf on Google Search where you are not getting good value conversions. So…. if you turn on CPA bidding, it will now be in Google’s own interests to get you as many conversions as it can (more conversions for you means more money for Google). So……will Google now automatically increase your position in the Search Partner results to get you more conversions?
Since I could not find any definite information on either of these two scenarios, I decided to test them out on one campaign of a very understanding client.
Here are the results*:-
First, with regards to Conversion Optimizer being able to quickly work out which content network sites will convert well for you, well…. Lets just say that it doesn’t do a great job of this if it has no historical data to go on. It looks very much like it doesn’t “cheat'” by looking at conversion data that it already has for sites similar to yours. So, unless you are prepared to set a *very* high Max CPA for ad groups to start with, it is more likely than not that Conversion Optimiser will give up trying to get conversions on the content network before it wastes too much of your money….
NB – if you are in one of the (few) niches where the content network works well for you, then, no doubt, the story would be different, but if you are in a niche where you have really struggled to make the content network work for you with CPC bidding, then Conversion Optimizer is not a magic bullet..
Secondly, with regard to Conversion Optimizer being able to get you more conversions on the Search Partner Network by giving you more impressions there and less impressions on Google sites, the results seem to have been much more impressive:-
Before Turning On Conversion Optimizer
After Turning On Conversion Optimizer
You can see that the campaign is now receiving around 4 times as many impressions on the Search Partner Network as on Google Search. Prior to turning Conversion Optimizer on it was only getting around 1.7 times as many impressions on the Search Partner so… (as you might say on Twitter #win !)
*This is only one campaign, targeting one country, over a short period of time. Results will almost certainly vary wildly, and you always need to test things out for yourself (but I still think it these are some very interesting observations)…
If anyone else has any interesting observations regarding Google Conversion Optimizer / CPA bidding please leave a comment!read more