What is Quality Score in AdWords?
The importance of Quality Score
Google AdWords’ Quality Score is a ranking multiplier, used to ‘reward’ relevant AdWords campaigns and ‘punish’ AdWords campaigns that does not seem interesting for the target audience.
Every time a search is performed, Google AdWords calculates the quality score and multiplies it with the maximum CPC bid. The outcome determines the ranking and actual CPC.
The quality score is visible within Google AdWords, and listed as a number of one to ten for each keyword within the Google Search network. However, data suggests that quality scores can run into fourty, with many decimals behind the comma. Campaigns within the Google Display Network have their own quality score.
AdWords Quality Score components
The AdWords quality score consists of many elements, including:
- Keyword relevancy
- Overall CTR of the AdWords account
- CTR of the campaign
- CTR of the keyword
- CTR of the display URL
- Advertisement performance
- Device (PC, mobile, tablet)
- Landing page
- Loading speed of the landing page
Some elements act as multipliers, other (such as landing page criteria) only have a negative impact on the Quality Score.
Relevancy is key. Make sure that your campaigns are relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach. If you don’t, your campaign CTR will be low and you’ll have to pay a higher CPC for your clicks, or even to remain visible.
Quality score discounts
Quality Score is more than a CPC multiplier: keywords with a high quality score get a discount, keywords with a low CTR get a penalty. Research from ClickEquations shows the following CPC discount multipliers:
- QS = 10 - CPC discount = 30%
- QS = 9 - CPC discount = 22,2%
- QS = 8 - CPC discount = 12,5%
- QS = 7 - no multiplier
- QS = 6 - CPC increase = 16,7%
- QS = 5 - CPC increase = 40%
- QS = 4 - CPC increase = 75%
- QS = 3 - CPC increase = 133,3%
- QS = 2 - CPC increase = 250%
- QS = 1 - CPC increase = 600%
How to obtain (and keep!) a high Quality Score in AdWords
Stick to the following, and campaigns will profit from a high Quality Score, higher rankings, more traffic and cheaper clicks.
- Communicate customer value and USP’s in your ads
- Weed out irrelevant keywords with negative keywords
- Use placements within the Google Display Network
- Block irrelevant websites for Display campaigns
- Look for patterns within advanced segments
- ALWAYS be testing!
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Award-winning marketing geek. Analytics advocate. Passionate about performance. With almost 20 years of agency and marketing consultancy experience, I help organizations increase their marketing success through innovative, data-driven performance marketing strategies.