*Please note updated information at the bottom of this post as of 5/17/2013

In our past content network posts, we've discussed how search and content network performance can differ. In particular, clickthrough and conversion rates aren't always comparable between the content network and the search network, since users browsing content commonly approach ads differently than users searching actively for a particular topic. As a result, we use smart pricing to protect advertiser ROI by automatically adjusting the cost of a contextually-targeted content network click based on its effectiveness compared to a search click.

Because search and content network statistics can differ greatly, viewing aggregate statistics for a campaign running on both networks may not give you granular insight into your performance. For example, a high number of impressions and a low clickthrough rate on the search network may be signals that you should optimize, but similar statistics on the content network are unlikely to indicate poor performance.

To provide better insight, we've made a small change to the campaign and ad group summary pages that allows you to easily evaluate search and content network statistics separately. The new "Statistics" drop-down menu lets you change your view to see search and content network statistics in individual rows for each of your campaigns and/or ad groups. You can also filter to see only the statistics for the network you choose. By separating the statistics by network on your summary pages, you can not only see which campaigns or ad groups need your attention, but you can also identify which network you need to optimize for. Optimization strategies for the search network are often different from strategies for the content network.

When comparing your performance on search and content networks, look at your cost/conversion (measurable through AdWords conversion tracking). This metric is very useful since your target cost/conversion is likely to be the same for both networks and can be used as an accurate measurement of your overall ROI.

To learn more about the new display options for your statistics, please visit our Help Center.

As a result, we may use smart pricing to protect advertiser ROI by adjusting the cost of certain contextually-targeted content network clicks based on their effectiveness compared to a search click.