Advertiser guide: working with third parties

Introduction to Google's online advertising

Advertising with Google allows you to reach new customers at the precise moment they’re searching for your type of products and services. You can choose to be charged for clicks, impressions, or conversions, depending on the type of campaign you run.

Once your ads are running, we provide performance data so your third-party partner can track what’s working and what’s not. Google’s AdWords and AdWords Express advertising products are highly accountable, helping you understand precisely the return on your advertising investment and allowing your third-party partner to make adjustments to optimize for the best possible return. For a summary of the differences between AdWords and AdWords Express see

In addition to Google search, you can also run ads on Google’s network of partner sites (places where you may have seen the “Ads by Google” message) – including YouTube. On this network, you can take advantage of other ad formats, such as image ads and video ads.

Google and third-party partners

We believe that Google advertising can help your business succeed. However, you might not have the time or resources to devote to building – and regularly maintaining – a successful account. Or maybe you’d just like some help optimizing from an expert.

That’s where our third-party partners come in. There are many different types of third parties out there, from the largest advertising agency and yellow page publisher to the one-person web consultant. To help you select a third-party partner, we’ve developed our Partner Programs. Participating third parties that have met the requirements of one of our Partner Programs may display that program’s badge on their websites. Two badges that you’ll probably see most often are Google Partner and Premier SMB Partners.

To confirm that a company is certified within our Partner Programs, click the badge on its website. If the company is certified, you’ll be taken to its profile page on Google.

How to work with a third-party partner

A third-party partner can save you and your business a lot of time and energy. For best results, we encourage you to stay informed, involved, and up-to-speed on your ad campaigns, and let your partner handle the time-consuming work.

Third-party partners will often charge a fee in addition to the cost of your advertising. Remember, they provide valuable services like managing your campaigns, providing you with reporting, answering your questions, or optimizing your campaigns. We believe it’s important for you to understand the total cost of your advertising, including any fees your third-party partner charges. You can use this amount to determine your return on investment (ROI).

Here are five quick tips for being a savvy customer:

  1. Be selective. When selecting a third-party partner to work with, look for companies that display a Google Partner or a Premier SMB Partners badge. You can use Google Partner Search or browse the Premier SMB Partners website for your region to verify that a company is actually a Google Partner or Premier SMB Partner. As part of your selection process, be sure that you understand and are comfortable with the length of the contract you’re entering into with the partner. There are a few other criteria to help you choose the right third-party partner for you:
    • Has this third-party partner worked with businesses in your area before?
    • What about businesses with similar budgets or target audiences?
    • What other services can they provide – alongside Google advertising – to grow your business?
  2. Pick one partner. You may be tempted to divide your budget among multiple third parties to see which one drives the best results. You’re welcome to do this, but we recommend that you test them one at a time. Google doesn’t display more than one ad for a business on a page of search results, so you’ll find it difficult to test multiple third parties at once.
  3. Educate yourself. Understanding advertising at an advanced level can take time, but it doesn’t take much time to learn the basics of Google advertising. Review the "Advertising basics" section below. To learn more, visit the AdWords Help Center at or the AdWords Express Help Center at Understanding these programs will help you make more informed decisions with your third-party partner.
  4. Trust experience. If you’re working with a company that’s managed hundreds of Google advertising accounts, then it’s likely to have developed expertise with Google’s advertising products. If it tells you that certain industries have historically higher online-advertising costs or certain keywords or ads might not work for your business, it’s probably speaking from experience.
  5. Evaluate your performance. Unless you’re focused on branding, what matters most about advertising is the return on your investment in it (i.e. the number of new customers coming in the door). So take some time each month to measure what you’re investing, and the results you’re receiving from that investment.

What to watch out for

We believe that it’s important for you to have a great experience with Google advertising. If you don’t, please let us know. Be sure first to work with your third-party partner to try to resolve any issues before contacting us.

Many third parties have earned our trust by representing the best interests of their advertisers. But some third parties do not. Here are some activities to watch out for and let us know about:

  • Not sharing the cost and performance of advertising campaigns: You have a right to know, at a minimum, the number of clicks, impressions, and cost of your Google ads.
  • Guaranteeing ad placement, either on a specific advertising channel or in a specific position: It’s not possible to guarantee a specific ad position on search results pages. Ad position is determined by an auction and changes dynamically with every new search. Some third parties may only charge you if they achieve your desired ad placement, but those that guarantee a specific position (i.e. the top position every time a user searches for your keyword) are misrepresenting how Google’s advertising works.
  • Claiming to be from Google: Ask this person for their name and to email you from their (not email address; if you’re still unsure, contact us to find out.
  • Harassing or bullying you into signing up: Third parties cannot remove your business from the natural or organic search results on
  • Claiming advertising on Google will affect your organic or natural ranking: Advertising on Google has no impact on your organic or natural ranking in the search results; the two are completely separate.
  • Deceptive pricing: The agency may not use the correct advertising budget as agreed with you. Make sure that you get an official copy of your agreement in writing.

Report a violation of third-party policy

Think a third-party partner is violating this policy? Let us know: report a violation of third-party policy.

While we may not respond personally when you contact us about a third party, we will investigate your comments and, if necessary, take appropriate action.

Advertising basics

  • Average Position: The average position an ad appears in when it's triggered. An average position of 1-8 generally means that the ad is appearing on the first page of search results.
  • Clicks: The number of times users clicked your ad.
  • Clickthrough Rate (CTR): The number of clicks divided by the number of impressions, shown as a percentage. A good CTR can improve your average position.
  • Conversion: The action that your advertising results in, such as a phone call, lead, or sale. This is usually a good metric to use to measure the success of your advertising.
  • Cost: The total amount you spend with Google advertising.
  • Impressions: The number of times your ad appeared.
  • Keywords: The words or phrases you select for AdWords so that when users search for those words on Google, your ad may appear next to or above the search results. For AdWords Express, Google automatically selects keywords based on your short ad and product description; you do not choose the keywords.

If you have a question about your Google advertising account and need help, please visit the AdWords Help Center at or the AdWords Express Help Center at