Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
    Join Date
    June 8th, 2006
    Posts
    652
    Google Search vs. Search Network
    Google AdWords PPC specialists:

    How crappy is the traffic generated by the campaign setting "Show my ads on:" and with "Search Network" box checked in addition to Google Search? I've read various nightmarish things on ABW about AdSense ads, parked domain ads, etc being NOT part of the Content Network but part of the Search Network or even Google Search, but maybe I'm somewhat confused. I generally don't use the Content due to poor conversions, but should I be turning off "Search Network" too? Those of you with experience on this, can you enlighten us as to what Google isn't telling us in their help area (which I read very carefully and it doesn't mention parked domains) about the Search Network partners, please?

    Breakdown as I see it:

    1) Google Search: supposedly JUST searches done on the Google search engine itself (and thus my ads only showing on sponsored search results), but I'm not so sure...

    2) Search Network: Ask.com, AOL, all the other partners listed in the help area; where else?

    3) Content Network: GMail, a ton of "content partners", AdSense ads on various sites.

    Which of the 3 categories are the parked domain ads shown for? Am I correct that AdWords ads on sites that use AdSense are only shown if I have the Content box checked, or otherwise? If I want my ads to show up only when someone actually does a Google search engine search, maybe even with only category 1) checked I might be out of luck.

    Also, has anyone done a comparison of the volume of clicks and quality of clicks with Google Search ONLY vs. Google Search+Search Network? I know this depends on the market and other factors, but perhaps just a general trend. If the quality of Search Network is generally poor, since we can't change these bids independently of Google Search maybe I should consider just turning Search Network off. If it gets a high volume of clicks though, the choice isn't so easy.

    Thanks in advance, PPCers.

  2. #2
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, FL
    Posts
    6,930
    There's a lot of questions in you post, maybe too many to tackle all at once without getting things confused.

    +Parked domains are part of your 2).
    +Besides AOL and Ask, there are 1,000's of search partners, many thousands - like ESPN and many, many more.
    +Yes, if you turn off Content Network, your ads won't show through AdSense on people's websites.
    +Yes, many people have done studies on quality and volume - I've done literally hundreds of such studies - why so many, because the results change over time and are unique to what each advertiser / campaign does including bid types, match types, ad types, markets aimed at, adwords settings and much more - it isn't easy to tell you what'll be right for you. Generally G does a great job in policing their search network and also automatically adjusting the prices you pay per click based on quality (called SmartPricing) - so I'd suggest you start campaigns with both G and G-Search, but without G-content. If you find what you're doing is profitable, it is more important to tune it at G + G-S than to spread it to G-C / content. Once it's stable and profitable, try content by starting at 1/3rd the bid you found worked best in G + G-Search. Raise and lower G-C separately from there. Keep in mind that running G-C mixes your text ads stats together, so once G-C is running, your masking the CTR of your ads - in G-C land, CTR doesn't matter - so you're blindfolding yourself statistically on the ad front - and your G + G-S will suffer unless you're already itrerated and pared and tuned your ads in G + G-S land first. Content can be great and it can suck - G doesn't determine that really, but rather the universe of webmasters out there and the quality of their sites and traffic - and the competing G-C bidders. Keep in mind the enormous difference between somebody going to G and searching for something and somebody who's browsing a content site and sees your ad - it's nobody's fault that content network normally convert lower, it is the nature of what it is. Searching / shopping versus browsing.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
    Join Date
    June 8th, 2006
    Posts
    652
    Donuts:

    THANKS. Great information! I saw your post in the SAS group about your 2006 performance so far, and was hoping you'd reply to my post.

    Ugh, parked domains are part of Search Network. I really wish they wouldn't do that. Just how successful in converting can ads be that run on a site that someone gets to because they typo'd? That's not "search" at all. Also in the case of "search partner" sites like ESPN, while they for example have a search box, ESPN is not a search engine in the traditional sense so I'm wary of their click traffic quality.

    As for AdSense being only shown for Content Network, I'm glad to hear that.

  4. #4
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, FL
    Posts
    6,930
    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    Ugh, parked domains are part of Search Network. I really wish they wouldn't do that. Just how successful in converting can ads be that run on a site that someone gets to because they typo'd? That's not "search" at all.
    Me too. Chances are though, if you think through your experiences of when you've landed on these domains yourself, I bet you were also in search of something. There wasn't content there that attracted you nor did a friend send you a link. The person's visit is transitory and you only pay on a CPA/CPC basis, so while it's not beautiful, it's not a disaster either. It does give you a chance to grab a visitor even if it's not nearly as focused. Because the majority of parked domains are large contracts for G (one org may own a million parked sites), the policing is more effective than it is in adsense. So again here, know that it's there and it's not pretty, but it doesn't ruin the whole barrel of apples. It would be better without them and I wonder about motives when I see a parked sites get indexed in a search engine, but it ain't sufficiently bad to make many people avoid Google's Search Network.

    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    Also in the case of "search partner" sites like ESPN, while they for example have a search box, ESPN is not a search engine in the traditional sense so I'm wary of their click traffic quality.
    The search box is good enough - it shows G results and G ads and the person knows they're leaving the espn domain and they are in search of something and their needs are not yet met. Don't worry about it to much here, G's search network is a great channel overall, even if it has the a few pimples.

  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager Matt McWilliams's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 21st, 2006
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Posts
    2,838
    Donuts, as always you are a treasure here

    This week alone I have referred 3 of our affiliates to ABW and told them to read your posts. The reason is I know you know your stuff, plus they always get a kick out of the "Light on the Do, Heavy on the Nuts" part.

    Thanks bud!
    Matt McWilliams
    Call Me At: (317) 825-8826 | Follow Me On Twitter: @MattMcWilliams2 | Connect With Me On LinkedIn

  6. #6
    general fuq mrbshouse's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Argieville
    Posts
    1,381
    Under the search network you're going to have to add all the big shopping engines...I've already told them that that should be considered content and not search, but who am i to say. Just an affiliate with a product feed.....although less complex than shopping.com, shopzilla.com and the others.

    I asked if there was a full list and they were unable to provide one or offer an opt out for this type of "search"

  7. #7
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Posts
    17,328
    I wish Google would break out the Google Search and Google search network stats like they do the content network stats. Bundling them together just masks the click quality issues. Parked domains not only are click traps but also targets for the click Zombie Bots and the "get paid to" type creaps. My clients have zilch fraud on the content network side due to my control of fraud triggering variables. They are concerned by the parked domain made for adsense click traps.

    Google Analytics should be able to track conversion success by identifying Google Search network stats. Unfortunately it's blind tracking which clicks converting came from GSN. Maybe Donuts would advise me whether I should turn off GSN as all the real Comparision and shopping portables already buy Adwords/Overture clicks to my clients sites. I have no problem with natural SERP exposure as those convert at a steady 1/20 basis.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  8. #8
    Full Member
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mebourne, Oz
    Posts
    257
    Averaging out all the merchants I promote via AdWords, I have found that the conversion rate and costs are bascially the same for Google Search and for the Google search network. If we turn off the search network, our costs halve and our profits halve.
    [URL=http://ProxyGrader.com]ProxyGrader.com[/URL]
    How anonymous is your proxy?

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 13th, 2006
    Location
    Colorado / Florida
    Posts
    4,411
    I too wish that G would break them out - and perhaps someday they will. In the meantime our evaluation is much the same as enginez. The roi is about the same, as is our content roi.
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador ticketguyz's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    697
    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    There's a lot of questions in you post, maybe too many to tackle all at once without getting things confused.

    +Parked domains are part of your 2).
    +Besides AOL and Ask, there are 1,000's of search partners, many thousands - like ESPN and many, many more.
    +Yes, if you turn off Content Network, your ads won't show through AdSense on people's websites.
    +Yes, many people have done studies on quality and volume - I've done literally hundreds of such studies - why so many, because the results change over time and are unique to what each advertiser / campaign does including bid types, match types, ad types, markets aimed at, adwords settings and much more - it isn't easy to tell you what'll be right for you. Generally G does a great job in policing their search network and also automatically adjusting the prices you pay per click based on quality (called SmartPricing) - so I'd suggest you start campaigns with both G and G-Search, but without G-content. If you find what you're doing is profitable, it is more important to tune it at G + G-S than to spread it to G-C / content. Once it's stable and profitable, try content by starting at 1/3rd the bid you found worked best in G + G-Search. Raise and lower G-C separately from there. Keep in mind that running G-C mixes your text ads stats together, so once G-C is running, your masking the CTR of your ads - in G-C land, CTR doesn't matter - so you're blindfolding yourself statistically on the ad front - and your G + G-S will suffer unless you're already itrerated and pared and tuned your ads in G + G-S land first. Content can be great and it can suck - G doesn't determine that really, but rather the universe of webmasters out there and the quality of their sites and traffic - and the competing G-C bidders. Keep in mind the enormous difference between somebody going to G and searching for something and somebody who's browsing a content site and sees your ad - it's nobody's fault that content network normally convert lower, it is the nature of what it is. Searching / shopping versus browsing.

    Good luck.
    I can't figure out if you already answered this, but do the content stats negatively affect the CTR of the search stats within a given campaign? Meaning, if my CTR in search is 20%, but my CTR in content is 0.5%, will my costs go up as a result?

  11. #11
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
    Join Date
    June 8th, 2006
    Posts
    652
    ticketguyz,


    I had always assumed that the content and search stats are not "intertwined" when it comes to how Google decides your CTR, and therefore your relevance and costs per click. But based on what Donuts said I'm not so sure:

    you're blindfolding yourself statistically on the ad front - and your G + G-S will suffer unless you're already itrerated and pared and tuned your ads in G + G-S land first.
    Donuts, can you elaborate on what you mean by that? As complicated and un-transparent as Google has proved to be lately with its AdWords algorithms (most recently the Quality Score thing) and internal processes to decide whose ads get shown and whose do not, I'm not sure of anything any more.

    As has been stated before many times, one of the prime reasons most advertisers use AdWords in the first place is so they do not have to do the very difficult and unpredictable SEO, wait the long amounts of time for the SEO to (possibly) yield results in the SERPs, and then live and die on a changing algorithm which often moves results around wildly in the SERPs. Google is forcing their paying AdWords customers to do it anyway. Paying to have your advertisements placed, even in a bidding system, should not be complicated and unpredictable. In every other medium it is very straightforward. I seriously doubt it would be difficult for Google's staff to get rid of most of the arbitragers amd spammers to give its visitors "a better experience"; the vast majority of arbitrage is done by a small number of players, especially as Google has now let the world know that this kind of advertising is against their rules. Policing that should not require a hit-or-miss algorithm which has stomped on a huge number of legitimate, honest advertisers.

    Sorry ticketguyz, got a little off topic there. Every time I think about Google's internal processes and try to decipher how they actually work their AdWords program, I cringe. Then, I get a little angry and feel like venting. It's very hard for me to imagine that it's a "visitor experience improvement" reason for their changes, when it's easy for them to mask a profit-increasing strategy under the guise of making "improvements" for their "customers" (not their, say, shareholders).

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador ticketguyz's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    697
    Thanks Spacedog... hopefully Donuts will pop in here soon and give us some more clarity. Guess I could always e-mail Google =) Never think of that, but they're actually pretty responsive compared to many other things in the affiliate world.

  13. #13
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, FL
    Posts
    6,930
    Quote Originally Posted by ticketguyz
    I can't figure out if you already answered this, but do the content stats negatively affect the CTR of the search stats within a given campaign? Meaning, if my CTR in search is 20%, but my CTR in content is 0.5%, will my costs go up as a result?
    No, the content click thru rate does not negatively affect things on the search side:
    https://adwords.google.com/support/b...py?answer=9559

  14. #14
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, FL
    Posts
    6,930
    you're blindfolding yourself statistically on the ad front - and your G + G-S will suffer unless you're already itrerated and pared and tuned your ads in G + G-S land first.

    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    Donuts, can you elaborate on what you mean by that?
    you go into your adwords account, write new ads, searching for ones that have higher ctr... creating new ones and trying them... killing ones that have low CTRs...

    generally speaking, people looking at adwords interface, when both search and content are enabled, are looking at aggregated ad stats when they're creating ads and evaluating which ads are underperforming... under the ad variations tab...

    so if CTR matters only on the search side...

    why would you look at aggregated search+content ad stats to pass judgment on which ads are working well or not?

    you can run reports and separate content and search CTR stats for your ads, but generally, most people are looking at aggregated content+search stats as they pass judgment on their ads in the adwords gui... this is a mistake in my opinion.

    if you start with just search, you avoid this issue altogether and focus on search, where roi will be highest normally anyhow. then later, if warranted, you can go back in an layer in content (at a lower, separate bids) and experiment from there...

    but you shouldn't judge your text ads CTRs by looking at an ad's aggregated search+content CTR stats - cuz it's the search CTR that you really want to maximize. text ads CTR on search and content are vastly different - so don't mingle them when trying to make/cull the best ads for max search CTR.

    there's more to this (how content matching works and how it impacts your campaign design and ctr maximization process), but i'm long winded already here. trust me, in the long run you'll do much, much better overall if you avoid content at first - tune, tweak and optimize on search until you've got roi where you want it. then, and only then, experiment with layering in content.

  15. #15
    Verbosely Virtuous Mutt spacedog's Avatar
    Join Date
    June 8th, 2006
    Posts
    652
    Thanks Donuts, that makes complete sense to me. I barely ever use the AdWords reporting functions as the standard GUI has what I'm looking for. Of course I could probably tune things even better if I used the reports, which I just noticed can now be used to track hourly performance of ads and keywords. But I concentrate my efforts elsewhere since I have so many campaigns on three different PPC search engines, and keep adding more. Man, I could hire a team to improve my PPC performance with just what I have now as a part-time biz.

    I've generally been doing what you suggest; tweak campaigns on the search side until they do well in terms of ROI, then I try out content (in selected campaigns) at a much lower CPC to see how that goes.

    Wise words as always from one of the masters! Donuts, if you aren't by now marketing your own informational products online or off, you really really should be. The problem would be cutting through the clutter of lousy get rich quick ebooks and low content high priced crap that pervades the industry, and making yours stand out. I've thought of doing this myself but I don't know how I'd get mine to be visible over all the chaff.

  16. #16
    Newbie compubahn's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 16th, 2006
    Posts
    32
    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    I wish Google would break out the Google Search and Google search network stats like they do the content network stats. Bundling them together just masks the click quality issues.
    IMO, G is being intentionally vague about stats for search network & content network. This isn't about the ability to track these channels seperately. I am sure they already have all the data an advertiser could ever want (and then some) - but choose not to provide it.

    Every so often they send me a survey. Invariably, this survey has questions regarding why I do not use the content network. The answer is simple. It cannot be measured which makes it very similar to gambling... the difference being that you have no idea if you won or how much. Only Guesses. In my experience, there is an obvious difference in conversion rates from search-driven traffic vs. contextual/impulse/ima-lost-surfer type traffic. Despite this, the only tool that G has provided is the ability to adjust bids for the content network. Even that feature took way too long to implement. Regardless, without the ability to use a seperate tracking url for the content network, I am not likely to use it.

    The strategy, presented by donuts, of using a content network bid of 1/3 the search network could work and is probably a "safe" bid level. However, I would be more likely to try out another advertsing channel which could be measured or (even more likely) invest my time in learning/promoting a new program than to roll the dice on questionable traffic... particulary true because I feel that G can easily provide a solution to measure this traffic.

  17. #17
    Newbie compubahn's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 16th, 2006
    Posts
    32
    Quote Originally Posted by spacedog
    Also, has anyone done a comparison of the volume of clicks and quality of clicks with Google Search ONLY vs. Google Search+Search Network? I know this depends on the market and other factors, but perhaps just a general trend. If the quality of Search Network is generally poor, since we can't change these bids independently of Google Search maybe I should consider just turning Search Network off. If it gets a high volume of clicks though, the choice isn't so easy.
    My apologies for the content-network mini rant above. As a direct answer to your question, I use both G search & G search network. In my case the conversion rates were similar & enabling the search network gave me a lot more (measurable) traffic. Unfortunately, I don't have the data on how much more traffic enabling the search network provides as it was a long, long, time ago.

    Your mileage may vary depending on industry.

  18. #18
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, FL
    Posts
    6,930
    For the record, I suggested 1/3 your search bid as a starting point, not the final bid. I have at time found places where the content bid is justifiably higher than the search bid - it's rare, but can happen. You might also find that 1/3 is too high a bid for your target ROI.

    G's content network is worth experimenting with because it's reach is huge - you can get a lot of good traffic from it. In Y, they mix the crapola in with the good stuff to a higher degree than G and don't have smart pricing adjustments either. Once you've tried G search, Y search, MSN search, all that's left to play with is G content in my opinion (regarding ppc text ads).

  19. #19
    Newbie compubahn's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 16th, 2006
    Posts
    32
    Donuts, it is interesting that you are having some success with the content network. The last time I tried it was prior to separate bids for content... & it was a disa$ter as compared to search network only.

    Maybe I will give it another whirl with a much lower bid for content.

    See, I learned something here already.

  20. #20
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, FL
    Posts
    6,930
    compared to it's early days, separate bids and smart pricing changes everything. content is usually worth a try.

  21. #21
    Affiliate Manager Alan Hamilton's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 13th, 2006
    Location
    Colorado / Florida
    Posts
    4,411
    A campaign we have been running on G for four years had historically gotten 200 - 250 content clicks daily for the past three years. In Sept of this year, the G rep told me they had made some major changes to their content partner networks.

    The end result is that for the past 1 1/2 months, those 200 - 250 content clicks have turned into 4 - 5 a day - even though our keywords are consistently in the top three positions. After numerous fruitless / canned response conversations by phone with G reps, I have finally concluded to let it ride, insure that we stay in the top three results and see if at some point it changes again.

    I am at a loss on this one - but sooner or later we will find out what if anything we can do.
    Join the Spicy Aprons Affiliate program on ShareASale Visit us on Facebook www.facebook.com/spicyaprons Follow us on Twitter @Spicyaprons

  22. Newsletter Signup

+ Reply to Thread

Similar Threads

  1. AdWords - Google vs. search network
    By spacedog in forum Search Engine Optimization
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: April 26th, 2008, 01:16 AM
  2. Google Product Search (formally Froogle) items not showing up in search
    By justanotherguy in forum Search Engine Optimization
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: November 29th, 2007, 01:42 PM
  3. Google showing their own product search in 'natural search' results?
    By simcat in forum Search Engine Optimization
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: May 15th, 2007, 04:25 PM
  4. Do I want Google Search Network with PPC?
    By johnnyWebAffiliate in forum Search Engine Optimization
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: September 20th, 2006, 05:21 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •