In the latest round of updates at the end of last week, Google announced that they would (finally!) be adding more detail about where your clicks are coming from:
“Previously, these pages divided statistics into two categories: search, which included Google and search partners, and the content network.
Now, we show one set of statistics for Google and another set aggregating search partner performance. Search partners include AOL, Ask.com, and many other search sites around the web. ”
This is a major change, comparable to when Google started showing where exactly your ads where coming from in the Content network.
That was a huge step forward, and one that made sense for Google. Previously advertisers were skeptical about throwing money down a black hole which included some very, um, shady Made For AdSense sites alongside the high quality sites they may have wanted to target.
However, these latest changes don’t go far enough. Yet.
We can now see how Google stacks up against the other search partners, but not how the individual partners (Ask, AOL, etc) are performing individually. Rich, over at Destilled is asking the question, “Have Google Shot Themselves in the Foot?”, and it’s a valid point.
As you can see, in each case the cost per click for the search partners is higher, up to 25% higher, than it is on Google, but even more importantly, the number of conversions (final column) are way down. So I’m paying more, and getting less. That is why all the Search partner ads are now set to ‘Off’. I’d rather spend where it is working.
So, what happens now?
Well I suspect that that many others will follow suit and shut off the complete search network, for example, see this thread at Webmaster World:
“At first glance it looks like 90% of my conversions are from google search only not the network.”
“Wow, just split stats on an account. Bye bye Search Network!”
“We totally disabled Partners in a few campaigns after seeing 100 to 200% higher conversion costs.
No wonder they didn’t show this data for so long.”
And if that happens, I’d have to assume that Google will be forced to show the search network in greater details, if only due to pressure from their partners. If AOL is performing well, for instance, they’re unlikely to be happy about being cut out due to the deficiencies of other sites.
However, for now we have to deal with what we have, and I’m at least glad that I’ve been able to learn this much.
How about you? How do your stats measure up across the different sites?