Do You Know Where Your Ads Are Showing?

Search partners.

Syndicated search partners.

Audience network.

These are terms used by Google, Bing & LinkedIn for partner websites where they display your ads. If you know what all three of these terms represent you’re ahead of 95% of PPC advertisers, but I’ll explain each on in detail and how it might be affecting your performance.

Google Search Partners

This is a campaign-level setting in Google and looks like this in the interface:


If you hover over that little question mark you get some additional information about what the search network is. “A group of search-related websites, including Google Search and other Google sites, like Shopping and Maps. It also includes hundreds of search sites that partner with Google to show ads. ” The Search Partners are those hundreds of search sites that partner with Google. Some are big names like Ebay. Some are much lower quality. In my experience, excluding search partners will usually improve the quality of clicks and is particularly beneficial for smaller budget advertisers that can get more than enough traction from Google search alone.

Bing/Yahoo Syndicated Search Partners

This is an ad group setting in BingAds and looks like this:


This option is very similar to Google where you have the actual Bing and Yahoo sites as well as a number of syndicated search partners. However, BingAds gives you the option of targeting the syndicated search partners separately from the main sites. This give advertisers the control to bid higher or lower on search partners and control their costs. Given that it’s as simple as one additional radio button, you’d wonder why AdWords hasn’t copied this feature.

Again, in my experience, if you’re looking to improve quality I would leave out the search partners. However, you actually have the ability to test them with separate bids in a separate ad group. Definitely worth a try.

LinkedIn Audience Network

The LinkedIn advertising interface is terrible and you may have missed the little checkbox for the LinkedIn Audience Network on the targeting page of your campaign creation process. It looks like this:


From LinkedIn, this is what you’ll get:

The LinkedIn Audience Network is a collection of partner websites that display LinkedIn Ads on their pages. This allows you to reach the LinkedIn members you are targeting, even when they are visiting other websites. Partner websites may include those in the Google double click Ad Exchange.

As you can see, you might end up on Google sites with this option checked (and it is selected by default for all new campaigns) and at the CPCs LinkedIn is charging you’re probably overpaying. I recommend deselecting the box.


Knowing where your ads are appearing is the first step in improving performance. If you have a big budget and need volume, these options will help you get more impressions and clicks. If you’re budget constrained you can turn these off to focus your spend on more qualified impressions and clicks. Remember, “Knowledge is Power.”