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Unveiling the secrets behind Google Ads Quality Score

Quality Score… Maybe two of the most mysterious words in the Search Engine Marketing world. 

There’s no doubt about it, search ad campaigns are a powerful marketing tool for any brand, helping gain notoriety, boost sales or even drive traffic to its website. In the context of campaign management and all the different tasks it entails, there is one crucial element one cannot miss: tracking the various metrics influencing the performance of your ads. However, how could you correctly analyze a metric and extract the proper insights from it without even fully understanding it? 

If that’s how you feel about Google Ads Quality Score, you’re probably not the only one. We wanted to know more about this metric and clear up the grey areas surrounding it. To answer many of the questions raised in the industry about it, our data team conducted a thorough analysis of Quality Score to unveil all possible secrets about it. Find the answers to your questions in this special series Quality Score: The Science Behind The Mystery.

How to define quality score?

Let’s start with the fundamentals: What is Quality Score? According to Google itself, “Quality Score is intended to give you a general sense of the quality of your ads. [It] is an estimate of the quality of your ads and the landing pages triggered by them.” 

In other words, it gives you an idea of how good an ad - triggered by a specific keyword - is.  

It’s no secret that quality is particularly determining in your ads performance, as relevant ads tend to appear in higher positions, earn more clicks and thus be more successful. With all that being said, one can easily understand why Google Ads’ Quality Score is so crucial when conducting search ad campaigns. 

What do we know about quality score?

Now that we’ve managed to define this metric, and before digging into its darker sides, let’s go over what we actually know about it for sure. 

We know that Quality Score can take a numerical value between 1-10 to express the level of “excellence” we mentioned before, 1 being a poor score and 10 meaning that you rocked your ad creation. Until this point, everything seems straightforward.  But we see you coming… What are the 3 components of quality score again?

Quality Score can be determined by the 3 following factors:

  • Expected click through rate (CTR): it measures how likely your ad is to get clicked on
  • Ad relevance: it measures how related your keywords are to your ad
  • Landing page experience: it measures how easy-to-navigate and useful your landing page is to users clicking on your ad. 

Still following us? These 3 components of Quality Score can take an appreciation value of either below-average, average, or above-average. 

Now let’s move on to the next thing we know for sure about quality score. We have a score and we have 3 components, which seems quite easy and useful data to evaluate the quality of your ad. However, it is essential to take into account that Google gives this information punctually, solely covering the day before consultation. Well… This is where it gets tricky. There is actually no historical data whatsoever about Quality Score and its components - or at least not easily accessible. As it can only be evaluated statically, the lack of historical data hinders the evaluation over time of impacts caused by changes such as variations in the landing page or ad copies, just to name a few. 

This observation leads us to one of the first grey areas about Quality Score we’ll try to shed light on. 

Can we analyze Google Ads Quality Score and its factors over time?

As Barack Obama used to say, yes we can. And this is great news. If you’re not sure why, don’t worry, we’ll tell you.

One of marketing’s (or any project for that matter) most sacred rule consists of monitoring and analyzing actions in order to adjust your strategy if needed. That way, you can then optimize the impact of your undertakings. For that to happen, it is essential to have at disposal the necessary data measuring metrics of your interest. But furthermore, it is key to analyze this information in a defined time frame to be able to observe certain trends emerge and establish a possible link between both elements. 

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t offer the possibility to analyze Quality Score and its factors over time, and this is where this metric somehow loses part of its power. With no historical data, it is certainly harder to evaluate the impact on the long run of changes made in your account. Let’s say you modified part of your copy and want to evaluate if it contributed to spike your Quality Score. If you modified it today, you’ll only have tomorrow’s value to get an idea… See where we’re going? How to really identify where to concentrate your efforts if you can’t lastingly observe the effects of your actions? This should be a burning question for any PPC expert whose objective is Quality Score optimization. 

Lucky for you, our team managed to find an answer to that issue, creating a powerful tool capable of collating quality score values over time and displaying them in an easy-to-read dashboard. It allows you to monitor the 3 components of Quality Score, getting a quick and easy snapshot of what could be impacting them during a reference period relevant to your strategy. Relying on such a tool represents a valuable opportunity as it helps you make enlightened and more precise strategic decisions about where to invest your resources in terms of Quality Score optimization. 

Quality Score dashboard

 

Now that we’ve cleared that up and that we are all set to make meaningful data-driven decisions, let’s move on to another question troubling many industry experts. 

Can we aggregate Quality Score and its factors at different levels?

Remember when we said this metric was measured at a keyword level? Let us ask you a quick question: how many keywords are taken into account when launching one of your search ad campaigns? How many campaigns do you run on a weekly basis? In how many ad groups are they spread? How many accounts do you manage? Ok, we said one question so it’s probably time to stop. 

The truth is that when you consider the significant amount of keywords involved in an ad campaign and take into account the real extent of the number of keywords you juggle on a weekly basis, you probably come to the same conclusion as us… Analyzing a crucial metric such as Google Ads Quality Score at a keyword level can quickly become troublesome if you really want to make the most out of it. 

While Google has decided to report on this metric only at a keyword level, we want to share exciting news with you: not only is it possible to aggregate Quality Score and its factors at different levels, but it also gives you a deeper understanding of what’s working or not in your campaign. 

In their quest for an easy approach to Quality Score analysis, our data team found a way to batch the values of the scoring in different clusters for a faster identification of variations across different levels. The solution they built gives a global overview of Quality Score and its components related to each subcategory (campaign, ad group, account, etc.) to allow campaign managers to see - in a much more direct way - how well does each one of them perform. In the event that one of these levels presents an undesirable value, keywords within this category can then be analyzed more extensively. 

As you can notice, Quality Score harbors many interesting characteristics that are not always necessarily exploited. And as many questions about it are constantly raised in the industry, trying to answer them can open the door to a whole new level of use of this powerful metric. Interested in knowing more? Save your spot for our upcoming live webinar Quality Score: The Science Behind The Mystery where we’ll be discussing many of these questions in detail. 

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And stay tuned to our blog, cause we’ll be tackling more Quality Score issues in the next installment of this series!

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