After the most recent AdWords quality score update, many of our accounts have been impacted both positively (seeing more 9’s and 10’s) and negatively (seeing more 1’s and 2’s). Obviously, the latter can be detrimental to PPC campaign performance. It would be great for AdWords to show the history of your keywords quality score (hint, hint Google…) to better see the impact across all accounts. I also believe PPC advertisers would focus more on improving quality score if historical performance was presented within the interface.
Quality score has been a very hot topic in the PPC space since the update went live; several different PPC experts are saying more time needs to be spent on improving quality score and there’s a direct correlation between the quality score of a keyword, it’s click-through rate, average CPC, average position, and ROI. Therefore, optimizing for click-through rate should help increase your quality score and lower your cost per click and improve your return on investment.
As many in the paid search industry remember, Google rolled out an update in 2012 that had ads that were set originally set to’ rotate evenly’ to automatically change to ‘optimize for clicks’ after 90 days. This led to an uproar by PPC gurus because many of us want to be in control of which ads are displayed and we generally make changes or ‘optimize’ based on conversion rate and cost/conversion rather than click-through rate. At the end of the day, most advertisers care more about ROI than CTR…and who can blame them?
For years we’ve been preaching to rotate ads evenly and to optimize based on conversion rate and cost per conversion…first and foremost; then look at click-through rate to be the tie-breaker when determining the ‘winning’ ads. After seeing Wordstream’s estimated impact on cost per click depending on the quality score, I’m wondering if a better CPL is worth a lower quality score in the long-term. The numbers are quite shocking:
It’s very clear that click-through rate has the most weight and influence on quality score. If this is really true, it made me wonder; are we doing ad copy optimization incorrectly? Does this constant testing of new ads and pausing of ads with higher CTR’s but lower conversion rates negatively impact quality score over time?
As we research this further, I’d make the following recommendation; for brand new accounts and campaigns, optimize for quality score and click-through rate for the first month or two to help build your quality score. Next, download a keyword report to track the quality score. Next, move to optimizing for conversion rate and cost per conversion rather than click-through rate. Finally, after the first month optimizing for conversion rate and cost per conversion, run another keyword report and use a V-lookup to see if and how much your quality score has changed.