Google Ads Tests Disabling Opt Out Of Search Partners & Display Network

Feb 20, 2023 - 7:41 am 8 by
Filed Under Google Ads

Google Ads

A week ago, Thanos Bertes posted on LinkedIn, which I found via Mike Ryan on Twitter, that Google Ads disabled the ability in campaign settings to easily opt out of your campaigns being also shown in the Google Search Partner network and the Google Display Network.

Thanos wrote, "Google has always emphasized the importance of incorporating its Display Network (GDN) in Search campaigns. However, with the latest platform update, Google has taken it a step further by making it seem mandatory, through the use of grayed-out buttons. Although it's still possible to opt out of the GDN and Google Search Partners through the "Choose Networks" dropdown, I bet that some marketers and small business owners may feel pressured to include the GDN in their search campaigns, or they may don’t even notice the hidden option."

Here is what it looks like:

click for full size

Ginny Marvin, the Google Ads Liaison, responded with this message both on Twitter and LinkedIn:

Thanks for your patience as I checked in with the team on this test. A few things to point out:

1. Yes, this experiment is aimed at encouraging users to remain opted-in to the recommended setting – more on why below – while also providing opt-outs.

2. The team did multiple user studies over nearly 6 months to ensure the design balanced advertiser choice w/ a clear recommendation.

3. Why opt-in is recommended: Typically advertisers see more conversions at a similar ROI because Display Expansion (& Search Partners) serves ONLY when there's unspent Search budget AND we believe we can match or beat your Search CPA. More on how it works here:

I get the initial reaction to this experiment, particularly if you’ve long reflexively opted out or haven’t tested Display Expansion in a while or ever, but hope this helps explain the why behind this test. Happy to answer any questions.

A lot of PPCers are finding this test to be shady and just not too ethical. Here is some of that:

Forum discussion at LinkedIn and Twitter.


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