Back in October, Google Adwords separated the metrics for traffic from Google and their Search Partners. We all had our assumptions about how our campaigns were performing in the Search Network, but this updated allowed us to see the actual numbers.
Google Search Partners Statistics
For the most part, this new information is more informative than actionable. Without knowing which exact partners the traffic is coming from and without having the ability to opt out of individual partner sites it is hard to make any significant changes to your campaigns. But there are still some little adjustments that can be made to improve your campaigns.
One of the main things you can do with these metrics is work to improve your Quality Score. Your quality score is only affected from ads running on Google. So if you look at a campaign and take out all the Search Partner traffic, you can see the exact metrics that are driving your Quality Score and make adjustments to keywords and ads where needed.
I was making these exact adjustments to one of my campaigns a few weeks ago and ran into some trouble. The trouble didn’t come on the day I made the changes to try to improve my Quality Score, it came a few days later. I came back to the account after a few days, with the intent of making some major bid increases in anticipation for increased traffic for the holidays. I jumped in and started looking at data for the last 30 days to see which terms were performing well. Here is where my trouble came. My settings in the account were still set to look at Google traffic only. So as I started to make bid changes, I was making my changes based on incomplete data.
Fortunately, I noticed that the numbers weren’t adding up and changed the settings before any of the new bids went live, but it still scared me a bit.
I now have a new step in my process whenever I make major changes to my Adwords account: change the "statistics" setting to "summary." Hopefully, this will help me avoid ever making this mistake again.