About the Google Search Network

The Google Search Network is a group of search-related websites where your ads can appear, including Google search sites and search sites that partner with Google to show ads, called search partners. Ads are matched to search results based on the terms a person uses to search. With a few exceptions, described below, text ads are the main ad format used on the Google Search Network.

Where your ads can appear

When you target your campaign to the Search Network and add keywords to your campaign's ad groups, your ads can appear on Google and other search sites based on the keywords you choose:

  • On Google search sites: Ads can appear alongside, above, or below search results on Google Search, Google Shopping, Google Maps, Google Images, and Google Groups.

    Google search results

  • On other sites that are part of the Search Network (search partners): Ads might appear alongside or above search results on our search partners' sites, such as AOL.

To show ads on all Search Network sites, navigate to the "Networks" section of your campaign's settings page and make sure that the checkbox for "Include search partners" is selected (this option is selected by default when you create a "Search Network only," "Search Network with Display Select," or "Search & Display Networks" campaign). When you deselect "Includes search partners," your ads are eligible to show on Google Search and Shopping only and not on other Google search sites, such as Maps, or search partner sites. Sites on the Search Network show mostly text ads, which are typically labeled as "Ads" on Google Search as well as on search partners' sites. Google Images can also include image ads.


You have a business that offers face-painting services at parties for kids. If you add the keyword "children face painting" to your ad group, and then choose to show your ads on the entire Search Network, your ads are eligible to appear on an AOL search results page when someone types "face painting."

Google Instant and your ads

How Google Instant works

Google Instant helps people find information faster by showing relevant results as they type a search term on Google search. As someone starts to type a search term, Google Instant automatically shows results for a popular search that begins with those letters. An algorithm tries to predict what the rest of the term might be based on popular searches typed by other users. The predicted text is shown in light grey in the search box, and search results and ads are automatically shown for that predicted term.

Although Google Instant won't change the way ads are served, ads and search results can show for a predicted search term. For example, if someone types "flow" into Google, an algorithm predicts that the user is searching for "flowers" (the predicted search term) and therefore displays search listings and ads for flowers. Those results will continue to show unless the next letters that the user types lead to a different predicted term.

How we count ad impressions

When someone searches using Google Instant, ad impressions are counted in the following situations:

  • The person begins to type a search term on Google and clicks anywhere on the page (a search result, an ad, a spell correction, a related search).
  • The person chooses a particular search term by clicking the Search button, pressing Enter, or selecting one of the predicted terms.
  • The person stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of three seconds.

We recommend monitoring your ads' performance the same way you usually do. Google Instant might increase or decrease your overall impression levels. However, Google Instant can improve the quality of your clicks since it helps people search using terms that more directly connect them with the answers they need. Therefore, your overall campaign performance could improve.

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