Is Google Search Partners Worth It?

Troy Berkelmans, Paid Search Associate at Ontario SEO
Troy Berkelmans
February 16, 2021
google search partners network

The Google Search Partner network provides advertisers with the opportunity to advertise on additional web properties that Google owns or partners with. This means that, when you activate Google Search Partners, your advertisement will be placed on many sites across the internet, not just Google search results. But what other places does this include? 

What are Google Search Partners?

Google’s network is divided into two sections – Google’s own search engine, and their partner sites. Google’s search engine is exactly what you think it is; the Google search engine results page (SERP). But the search partners network includes Google’s subsidiaries, such as YouTube, other websites that sell ad placements, and websites of the companies they have partnered with (like Amazon).  

 Advantages of Google Search Partners

There can be some benefits when expanding your targeting with Google’s Search Partners such as: 

  • More Volume

    The Google Search Partners network offers a plethora of ad placements that are not available on the SERP. If you are a brand that is looking to get in front of your target audience in every and any way you can, search partners could be the way to do it. The Search Partners network allows your campaign to gain much more exposure than just Google’s SERP.

  • Stand Out From The Crowd

    The trick to marketing is to stand out from the noise. To do this, you must do what others are not. This network allows you to advertise in places your competitors may not be  Advertising with the network has the potential of finding some new, low hanging fruit.

Disadvantages of Google Search Partners 

With the benefits, we have also seen many drawbacks with Google’s Search Partners including: 

  • Lack of Transparency

    Unlike the majority of Google Ads, there is limited data available about where ads are displayed on the Search Partners network. In display campaigns, we prevent ads from displaying placements with mediocre performance and sensitive or polarizing content by excluding them. This is not possible for search ads displayed on the Search Partners network, because there is little transparency about where ads are displayed.

  • Lack of Control

    Another feature that causes advertisers to be weary of the Search Partners network is the limited control there is over the ad auction in the Search Partners network. Bid modifiers cannot be used on the Google Search Partners network.

  • Parked Domains

    Google’s Search Partners’ network also includes parked domains. These are web addresses that people have purchased and are not used. Meaning that you can spend advertising budget without real users seeing the ads. These domains should be excluded when including the Partner Network.

When to Use Google Search Partners

Google Search partners is a default setting that most advertisers should turn off. However, using the Search Partners network can be useful in specific situations such as expanding the reach of a branded campaign or for website remarketing. 

The best way to know if you should use Google Search Partners is to run a test and compare the performance to your regular search campaigns.

Our Recommendation

Our digital advertising team avoids using the search partners network as much as possible. If you are limited by budget to a search campaign, invest more money in the campaign, not to search partners. On the other hand, Google is constantly evolving and is only getting better at understanding its users and how they engage in content. The Partner Network may be worth testing if you do have extra budget. We recommend avoiding the Partner Network for most campaigns but keep an open mind to testing the network to see if it is right for you.