Monday, 11 December 2006

Is it Better to Disable the AdWords Search Network?

A few months ago, I read an interesting post on the MarketingShift blog, entitled Think You Know the Google Search Network? At the end of this post, the author wrote "Notes: It maybe worthwhile for advertisers to test out displaying ads only on rather then its "Search Network" and see if you can capture a better ROI."

So, I thought I would test this out on three campaigns that were running at a cost higher than most other campaigns and that were using the Search Network. I removed the Search Network option so these campaigns are now only running on Google Search.

The test has only been running for a week but so far I have found the following results:

Campaign 1 - Before Cost 0.66; After Cost 0.73; Change +0.73 (10.6%)
Campaign 2 - Before Cost 0.54; After Cost 0.54; Change 0.00 (0.0%)
Campaign 3 - Before Cost 0.67; After Cost 0.71; Change +0.04 (6.0%)

So, thus far in 2 out of the 3 campaigns, the average cost per click has risen, and in one case, it has risen by over 10%. In none of the campaigns has the average cost per click actually dropped.

So now I need to determine how to turn off Google Search while enabling the Search Network!

Of course, this little experiment isn't of great scientific validity and we need to look at conversions rather than just the cost per click. We also need to see what happens when the Search Network is turned back on. You may like to try this experiement for yourselves.

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JeremyC said...

Hi Ian - to test, create two campaigns. One has Google Search pages enabled and the Search network disabled, and the other has the Search network enabled. Both have the Content Network disabled.

Now bid a penny more in the Google Search Pages campaign than the Search network Campaign. This will preferentially select adverts from the Google Search Pages - you can increase the price separation, if you want to make sure. Verify by checking the web server log files for your tagged campaigns - that way you can tell if you getting leakage from Google Search Pages into the Search Network (referer_info data).

Oh, and I've done this experiment for several different types of client. For some clients the Search network is a more important source of leads than the Search Pages. In most cases the total profit (not the ROI, but the profit) is greater with both enabled.

I thought I'd detailed this in notes on the AdWords learning center, but I haven't... it doesn't quite fit any of the questions in the quick quizzes!

Cheers, JeremyC.