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3 best strategies to get the most out of your quality score

Quality Score is the king of nice-to-have indicators – a great health indicator and a terrible KPI.

Achieving a high Quality Score is not a guarantee of significant return on investment, it’s just “cheaper” clicks.

Q3 US Account-Level Average Quality Score:

average-QS-US
Average QS = 5.6

All high-quality accounts have a branded campaign, or a campaign where advertisers bid on their brand terms, so that the budget matches their intent. Brand terms have a nasty habit of stealing budget from general terms of service.

Branded campaigns are prone to strange quality scores because:

  • They have the perfect ad keyword with landing page relevance. Keywords include branding, advertising has branding, and landing pages will always have branding.
  • CTR is above average.
  • Most brand campaigns lead to the homepage, and the homepage always gets the lion’s share of the optimization work.

We wondered – what would happen if we filtered brand campaigns by account performance?

Cost per click (CPC)

average-cpc-by-QS-with-and-without-branded
Quality Score average CPC with and without branded accounts for 63,000 accounts

Filtering branded campaigns across the dataset had the biggest impact on top-tier (8-10) quality scores, but also showed glimmers of hope for medium (5-7) and low (4 and below) tiers.

There are some industries that require aggressive bidding. Missing a bid or setting an inappropriate daily budget will hurt your historical click-through rate (CTR).

Industries with lower auction prices will have carte blanche to get high quality metrics, and even if they get a small share, their budgets will be able to get the data to cover the gap.

Conversions

conversions-by-QS-with-and-without-branded
US conversions across 63,000 accounts in Q2 2018

The big jump in 10 quality indicators came from branded conversions. Once we look beyond this type of campaign, having a higher quality score is not always better. For example, a quality score of 3 beat 4, and 6 beat 7.

Showings

Accounts with a quality score of 10 had the most conversions, while accounts with a quality score of 9 performed better in terms of impression share (so they had better volume capture ratios):

impression-share-by-QS-with-and-without-branded
The average share of impressions according to the quality indicator – 63,000 accounts in the second quarter of 2018

Determining your account/campaign structure will allow you to regain impression share without spending money on the problem. If the quality score were a perfect measure of what works, there would be a steady rightward bias. As we can see:

  • Quality score 4 beats 5 and is tied with 7.
  • Quality indicator 9 hits 10.

CTR

CTR is a major component of Quality Score, so you can expect the graph to be skewed to the right.

Filtering branded campaigns generated much more traffic:

CTR-by-QS-with-and-without-branded
Average quality click rating in the second quarter of 2018 (63,000 accounts)

Quality Score can point us to problems in our accounts, but it’s not the metric we should be trying to solve.

Conversions, maximizing budgets, our investments have the biggest impact, it’s much more profitable to focus on them.

3 best workflows that will help you unlock the full potential of your profile

1. Bet on the budget theory: a click should not cost more than 10% of your budget

When we set our budgets, it’s important to remember that they have a job to do.

If you are running a branded campaign to generate high quality leads / leads, the budget should reflect the auction prices of that business.

Likewise, if you’re aiming for competitive industries like law, finance, HVAC, or other high-CPC verticals, plan to set a budget that can give you enough clicks for your conversion rate to come into play.

As a rule of thumb, I don’t like to bid more than 10 percent of my budget, because then I expect a conversion rate of more than 10 percent (which is above average).

Likewise, if auction prices are too high, it can be difficult to get the budget to go where you want it to.

The result of either scenario: you lack volume so your quality score suffers, but more importantly, you don’t get enough leads to recoup your marketing spend

2. Theory of the structure of accounts: sleep adjustment, ease of management, profit and control.

There is no “right” way to start an account. Depending on your goals and workflows, you may like tiered bidding and treat each ad group as a “keyword concept.” You may want absolute control over your ad messages, requests in favor of SKAGs (single keyword ad groups).

It is important that you have an honest overview of your metrics and your free hours to work on your profile.

Some strategies require a lot more hands-on management skills (dynamic search ads, broad keywords, etc.), but when done right, they can give you volume and insight into how your ideal prospects are searching.

If you have limited budget and time, you’ll need a strategy that focuses your budget on your best prospects (via audience, more limited match types, etc.).

A “good” measure of quality can be found in both management styles, but more controlled strategies are usually preferred.

These are better suited for matching keywords and ads to landing pages, but it’s important to remember that restrictive strategies are usually implemented after the account has received data (and Google tends to view the account favorably).

3. Copy and landing page theory: 66% of quality score is at the ad and landing page level

Previously, ads were tied to keyword relevancy and rarely expressed anything other than formal calls to action.

With the advent of rich text ads, customizers, and a host of relevant extensions, ads can speak to the essence of a user’s pain points while respecting the brand’s voice.

However, many advertisers remain locked into old copy formulas, in part because of the success of their old copy and fear of losing momentum when launching a new ad.

In addition to copy, landing pages should deliver on the promise your ad makes and also ensure a seamless experience.

While keyword-stuffed landing pages are just as unsatisfying as keyword-stuffed ads, you’ll lose valuable relevance points if you don’t find a keyword concept.

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