AdWords Segments for Increased Performance

AdWords Segments for Increased Performance

30th October 2013

As an online marketer and AdWords user, I need to be able to put my data in perspective. One of the many great features the platform has to offer is the ability to slice and dice your data with various reports that are only a click away.

Using Segment enables you to look at your accounts performance from e.g. a device, ad position and network point of view and can greatly help you find out

a) where you’re underperforming and

b) what’s rocking in the free world.

In other words; using the feature can improve your accounts performance (sometimes greatly).  In this article I’ll walk through 4 ways you can utilize this reporting.



Network (with search partners)

In AdWords you have the option to advertise on (and other Google ccTLD’s) as well as  through Google’s search partner network on, Google Maps and more. Search partners are selected by default when you create a new campaign but you always have the option to opt out by deselecting the box seen in the screenshot below.


To find this report; click on Segment, select Network (with search partners) and you should see a breakdown of your data by Google Search, Search Partners and Google Display Network on the campaign, ad group, ad and keyword level.

In many cases I’ve seen search partners perform as well as or even better than Google Search. In my experience, click volume, number of impressions and conversions is lower on Search partners. The screenshot below visualises a client’s results over a certain period of time, notice that the conversion volume from the search partners accounts for 12,35% of conversions gained on Google Search but getting an avg. CPA that’s 39% lower and a conversion rate that’s 34% higher. In this case I don’t want to opt out.


I’ve also seen Search partners perform poorly and drag down my overall results. That’s where Network (with search partners) comes in handy when you’re trying to identify opportunities to increase conversion rates, lower costs per conversion, increase click through rate and more; especially if you’re working with a limited budget. Below is a screenshot from a client where Search partners didn’t perform adequately so I decided to pause them and focus my budget on Google.


Read more about search partners here

Keyword / Placement

This particular segment can only be found on the ad level. It gives you valuable insights as to how each of your keywords are performing with the ads in the same ad group  with regards to clicks, impressions, %CTR, conversions and the whole nine yards – neat right?

You’re able to identify a mix of ads and keywords that might be working very well together or at least better than the rest. This is useful for account managers running ad groups that include more than one ad so it gives you the ability to identify and (possibly) isolate losers more effectively, giving the winning mix a better chance “to shine”.


This Extension vs. Other

One of the brilliant perks of upgrading your ad extensions were all the new and super cool features that followed like new scheduling, sitelinks on the ad group level and of course the level of data now available to you as well. One of the segments available is called “This Extension vs. Other” and it shows you how your ad extension performed versus other parts of your ad but that’s not all; it shows you how each individual sitelink performed, how cool is that?!

But how is this feature useful? Let’s look at this from the sitelink point of view. There are now three parts to sitelinks; headline/link text, description (if you use it) and of course the landing page. By using this segment you’re able to identify poor performers and optimize them.

The segment doesn’t show you consolidated data from all your sitelinks but rather how each and every one is performing making this an ideal place to start when optimizing sitelinks.

In the example below I’ve got sitelinks A and B. A is performing OK but B is not performing at all when looking at conversion volume and click through rate (which is a shocking 80% lower when compared to A), they’re both product orientated so it looks like I need to rethink the execution here.


One final note in this regards; since Google announced a change to AdRank calculations it’s never been more important to optimize sitelinks and this is the tool that helps you do it. Alos, you’re not (unfortunately) able to compare statistics between sitelinks when they only show the link text vs. when they include the description (looking at you Google).

Top vs. Other

As you probably know by now, there are three different spaces your ads can be displayed on; above-, on the right side of- and below the organic search results. Statistics vary (sometimes greatly) between what position your keywords scored for your ads, what your score (AdRank) is varies by your Quality Score, bids and as of October 22nd your use (or lack of it) of ad extensions.

Having said that it’s important to look at what results your campaigns generate based on what parts of the SERPs (and ad position) your ads are displayed on which is where a quick glance at the “Top vs. Other” segment comes in handy.

The difference between the two is that Top shows statistics from when your ad was displayed above the organic result while Other (this is where it gets a bit messy) is everything else, that is; right side and bottom. Why don’t they separate bottom from side? I have no clue.

Below are results from a client my company recently acquired, in his case the ad space above the organic results is working a lot better; CPA is 26,6% lower because the conversion rate is 32,4% higher. Here I want to set up an experiment where I’ll increase bids (after making sure there are no Quality Score problems) with the aims of decreasing the overall CPA and winning more conversions.


The end

Segments can help you increase the %ROAS gained from your account quite quickly. These reports are only a click away and yours to use. There are of course various ways to improve your statistics like improving your %CTR or reducing your CPA but Segments should definitely be a part of your optimization efforts.

This is not a complete list of Segments, if you have tricks up your sleeve as to how to utilize the aforementioned Segments or any not mentioned, we’d love to hear it!


Written By
Haukur Jarl Kristjánsson, a.k.a “the Hawk” (@haukurjarl), is a well-rounded PPC strategist, SEM consultant and trainer based in Reykjavik, Iceland.
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