Let’s take a walk down Quality Street…
If CTR (Click-Through Rate) is the green praline triangle, then Quality Score has to be ‘The Big Purple One.’
Quality score is a given metric reflecting engagement and relevancy. We may see very high scores from Brand Terms, but the real challenge here, is finding a keyword mix that works not only by driving volume, but also on receiving a good return of click traffic – our CTR. If Adwords see’s consistently strong returns on CTR, then it will indicate that Ad Copy and Keyword lists have provided the end user with a relevant answer to their search query.
If our Ad Copy is detailed via the use of applicable extensions, if our landing page content is clear, concise and relevant and keywords are grouped around a theme relevant to answering a variance on a search query, then our quality score should reflect a strong score (ideally above 7/10). The higher the score, the lower we have to bid and the lower our Average CPC (Cost Per Click) becomes. In return, this will start reducing CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) and provide us with a stable Ad Position.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security though! By achieving this, we now need to maintain it (I’m remembering Michelle Pfeiffer’s quote in Dangerous Minds when she gave all the students a 10 and told them it was up to them now to keep it).
Let’s say we worked on an underperforming campaign and managed to raise the quality score from a 6 to a 9 over a 4 month period targeting Ad Position 1-2. We’ve received an increase in volume and in CTR via our keyword optimisation and Ad Copy. As a result, we received a higher quality score. But now we want to reduce cost and target Ad Position 3-4 with lower bids. The result? A decrease in clicks, a decrease in CTR and more than likely, a decrease in quality score.
So, to go back to Michelle Pfeiffer as LouAnne Johnson in Dangerous Minds: “Achieving it is one thing, but maintaining it is the real key to success.”
New Introductions in Adwords
Recently, Google introduced a new feature into Adwords to assist with understanding how quality score has performed over a set period of time.
Many years ago, this data was available if you simply used the date range and pulled in a keyword report using the Quality Score as a column option. For some inexplicable reason, Google stopped this and only made it possible to see current quality scores (even if you knew you had 20% of 10/10’s at the start of the year, back data would still only give you the current scores). Frustrating right?
Most definitely. So, we were faced with having to take measures to record these scores before the data changed again (which in my case resulted in a set of labels numbered 1 to 10 by month then applied against each keyword on a monthly basis) using a filtered view. It was time-consuming, but it did at least give me the option of being able to check over the quarter to see where we had seen increase/decrease and prioritise optimisation.
Now we have the option of ‘Historical Quality Scores’. Whilst this may at first conjure up the idea of Queen Victoria reading you a list of data, it does actually have the potential of making our lives that little bit easier again.
Historical Quality Scores will provide you with an average over the period you have set the date range to (for a more accurate read, you could look at pulling in a month by month report and amassing this using the magic of excel). But be warned – this is a relatively new introduction and as we often find with Adwords, it doesn’t come problem free!
Google can only provide us with data since January 2017. If you look back any further, you will start to notice a series of blanks (–) developing.
BUT – it has given us a bit of hope for the future and something to work on moving forward (I’m hearing Del Boy’s “This time next year Rodney, we’ll be millionaires” here!).
By adding the historic quality score column next to the quality score, we should now be able to see a measure of positive and negative performance. The historic quality score reflecting the time period we are currently viewing and the quality score now representing the last updated measure.
Hopefully, the insights above have given you some food for thought when considering your approach to Adwords Strategies – and be sure to make good use of those historic quality scores. By January 2018, year-on-year data comparisons should be glitch free and be providing you with accurate and valuable measures of performance for future planning.
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