If you’ve ever spoken to us about PPC, you’ve probably heard us mention quality score.
Simply put, we think it’s one of the most important aspects of PPC account management that should never be overlooked, and here’s why.
As Google denotes, “quality score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages”. Ranging from 1/10 to 10/10, quality scores act as an approximate indicator of the quality of your account’s keywords. However, it considers a huge range of factors, determining the price you pay for each click.
Ultimately though, at a broader level, quality score is all about complementing user ad experiences with strong keyword, ad copy and landing page relevancy. Masking 100s of factors as ‘expected CTR, ad relevance and landing page experience’, Google use quality scores to give each keyword in an account a general indication of its overall strength.
Choosing the appropriate keywords, creating impactful ads and attributing relevant landing pages when setting up an account is the key. However, ongoing optimisations and tests are just as important to the maintenance of an account’s quality scores, as the performance of each keyword over time plays a significant part of its quality score.
For us, it’s always imperative to account for keyword complexities and the varying intents of the users searching for them, and how this changes over time. If you’re not constantly improving the quality of your account, keeping up with new digital trends all the while, your quality scores will become stagnant and fall behind accounts managed by more proactive, savvy marketers.
Quality score is all about making things relevant, seamless and valuable to users and as a PPC pro, a great deal of time, effort and attention is needed to keep up with the ever-changing needs and requirements of users.
However, cost efficiencies are always at the forefront of our minds when we think about quality scores.
Ultimately, higher quality scores equate to money saved, as Google discounts keywords that they deem to be of a high quality. Competing in the live AdWords auction day in, day out, is always a tricky game. However, strong quality scores are a huge advantage that can save you money each time a user clicks one of your ads.
With KPI targets in mind, these cost efficiencies can be the key to success.
As we’ve found, a 10/10 quality score can discount a keyword’s CPC by up to 50%. In comparison to a 3/10 keyword, with a CPC inflated by up to 63.50%, the 10/10 keyword is always going to prevail; in terms of ad rank, user experience and cost efficiency.
As a little bit of proof, after taking on a start-up comparison site at the beginning of the year, we made some dramatic account improvements in a short space of time, by homing in on the account’s weak quality scores.
Initially, the account was broad match heavy, allowing a huge range of irrelevant search terms to generate ad impressions and clicks. In essence, the account was wasting money. Added to this, irrelevant ads, inefficient bidding strategies and a lack of granularity was holding the account back, allowing money to be spent in areas unlikely to perform.
The market we were operating was also an extremely competitive one, meaning that CPCs were exceptionally high by nature. This was made even worse by the account’s poor quality scores, as we immediately identified that we needed to generate cheaper clicks to improve the account’s ROI. We had a tough task at hand, but we were keen to get stuck in and make numerous changes.
And by applying our strategic approach, we achieved a quality score improvement of 32.2% over a 3-month period, resulting in a 41.7% reduction in CPCs.
Consequently, ROI increased by 20.93% over 2 months, with revenue soaring by 21.79% over the same period.
This success was clearly led by our belief in quality scores. Granularity was the key, ensuring that our account structure allowed each ad to be relevant to user search queries and intentions. By complementing this account structure with quality ad copy/extensions, negative keywords and efficient bidding strategies, huge improvements were made across the board.
To us, there is no doubt about the importance of quality scores, not just in line with seamless, valuable user experiences, but also the cost efficiencies of account’ in an increasingly KPI driven PPC world.