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Regarding Google's Quality Score (QS) Announcement

4 MINUTE READ | July 26, 2013

Regarding Google's Quality Score (QS) Announcement

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Price Glomski, SVP, Global Media & Partnerships

Price Glomski has written this article. More details coming soon.

Dear PMG friends,

Hope all is well!

The PMG team wanted to send you a quick update regarding Google “Quality Score.” First off, this is only a reporting change. It will have no direct impact on paid search performance (although there will be indirect changes). Google expects to make these changes next Tuesday (7/30).

Google is attempting to “clear the air” as it relates to their notoriously vague Quality Score (QS) reporting. The change itself will more closely align the 1 – 10 quality scores with the 3 key quality sub-factors:

  • – Click-through rate

  • – Ad relevance

  • – Landing page experience

A few important points related to this change:

  • Auction-time Quality Score, ad’s auction rank, auction eligibility and actual CPC will not be affected.

  • Keyword quality score is continuously undergoing refinement to more accurately reflect keywords’ performance – the change is helping to align the reported QS to the 3 sub-factors.

  • Did you know there are 2 different Quality Scores?

    • Auction Time Quality Score (which is unaffected by this change) – every time a user triggers one of your ads, Google calculates an auction time QS that is a prediction of how relevant your ad is to that user.

      • Auction time QS is based on the expected CTR, ad relevance, landing page quality and other factors like related ad-to-keyword, time of day and location of the user.

      • This in combination with your max CPC bid, determines ad rank, position, actual CPC and other eligibilities that support extension triggering and top slot placement.

    • 1 – 10 Quality Score – reported in the Adwords front end which will be updated as a result of the change.

      • Is typically a general reflection of your keywords’ auction-time Quality Scores, aggregated across auctions, and it is updated once daily the change improves that accuracy within the Adwords UI related to actual keyword performance (note singular).

      • It does not affect ad serving, syndication or rank.

  • Does this change affect general keyword bidding?

    • If QS is not being used as a factor to determine bids | Based on this strategy – we would continue to manage to set targets such as CPA, ROI, target CPC, average POS, AOV, etc.

    • If QS is being used as a factor to determine bids | Based on this strategy – we would use QS as a direct input in improving the efficacy of keyword mining, landing pages and bidding.

      • FYI… PMG traditionally recommends using QS to determine optimal keyword and landing page structure in parallel with aforementioned ‘set targets’ (in most scenarios).

  • Does this change affect automated rules associated with bidding?

    • Probably. For example, a rule states “Increase CPC by 10% on keywords that have a QS of 10 and that avg position > 2.”

      • The keywords to which the rule applies will differ after the change (because of the static average being more accurate).

    • We believe this change will improve the efficacy of any preset rules since it ensures that only keywords with strong sub-factors receive high QS.

  • Should we expect a fluctuation in CPC or rank due to the change on Tuesday?

    • Probably. With both enhanced campaign nuances, market testing and more transparency or realism… we expect marketers to be testing bid methodology (as will we).

  • Performance ranges to which quality score are addressed “Below Average | Average | Above Average” classifications are receiving updates making it easier to identify areas of improvement.

  • Historical quality scores may not be compatible with quality scores reported after this change.

In short, we believe this is a good thing for you and the search environment. Albeit, it will most likely create some short-term volatility in the market place, like always, bids will level out and the transparency will allow us to make more timely decisions. We will watch these changes carefully over the next few weeks and actively provide feedback and direction based on our findings.

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Price GlomskiEVP, Interaction

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