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Google Ads Campaign Quality Score and how to track it as a KPI?

Paid search using Google Ads is often an essential marketing activity for many businesses optimising digital advertising. That said, it is surprising that a lot of businesses don’t know how to measure a successful PPC campaign.

If you want to master a successful PPC campaign, there is no doubt that you need a solid understanding of Google Ad’s ‘Quality Score’.

But, why?

The Google Ads quality score is a digital marketing KPI with an enormous influence on the cost and effectiveness of your paid search campaigns. And, a high Google Ads ‘Quality Score’ is exactly what you should be aiming for.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the factors that influence a Quality Score, the importance of a high Quality Score as a digital marketing KPI, how to improve your Quality Score to be competitive and how to use it to keep costs low.

What is Google Ads’ Quality Score?

Google Ads’ Quality score is their unique way of rating the relevance and overall user experience that your ads and landing page/s provide when users search your applicable keyword(s).

It is a piece of diagnostic data that can give you a sense of how well your advert performs compared to other advertisers.

The score is measured on a scale from 1-10 and is available at the keyword level.

Your Google Ads’ Quality score is updated every time a user searches for something that triggers your ad. Regular updates mean any changes to your site are taken into account as are ad copy and ads performance.

A higher Google Ads’ Quality Score indicates that your PPC ads and landing pages are more relevant and applicable to individuals searching for your paid keyword, compared to other advertisers paying for the same keyword/s. Once you understand how the Quality Score works you can use it to identify where it might be beneficial to improve your ads, keyword selection or landing pages.

The example below depicts keywords with a low quality score. As a result, it is likely that these keywords are raising costs and are lacking in any significant amount of relevance to both your audience and other advertising assets.

Your Google Ads’ Quality Score rating depends on multiple factors including:

  • Expected Click-through rate (CTR): How often are users clicking on your ads? This stat provides the percentage of clicks from your ad impressions (views) and is a strong indication to Google that the content in your ads is relevant and applicable.
  • Ad Relevance: Is the ad relevant to your keywords? Does it make sense for the ad to appear when someone searches for a particular keyword? For example, if you bid on the keyword ‘personal loan’ and your ad content doesn’t include information about a personal loan Google Ads will use this to penalise your ad relevance.
  • Landing Page Experience: Does the information presented on the landing page correspond to what the ad is offering, and vice versa? Just like the above example with the personal loan, if your landing page doesn’t contain information about a personal loan, Google is likely to assume it’s not relevant to that keyword and penalise you for it.

Google Ads weighs these factors when evaluating your campaigns and this is how your Quality Score is measured.

Why is a high Google Ads Quality Score Important in Digital Marketing?

Google Ads aims to match users to the most relevant and quality ads because they make money from engagement. A Google Ads auction is based on a cost-per-click model and high-quality ads will almost always receive preference over those with a low Quality Score, to ensure maximum clicks and earnings.

But, don’t confuse the point of the Quality Score as a ranking factor that’s only helpful to Google’s bottom line. It’s beneficial for improving the quality and performance of your campaigns. If you leverage your Quality Score to create more relevant and useful ads for your target audience, the better your return will be. So, a high Google Ads Quality Score is better for your bottom line too.

Is there a difference between Quality Score and Ad Rank?

Short answer – yes!

Both Quality Score and Ad Rank are used by Google to evaluate your campaigns, and although related, they are not the same.

Quality Score is Google’s way of informing an advertiser like you how to adjust your campaigns, by

  • evaluating keywords,
  • ads, and
  • landing pages.

Ad Rank, on the other hand, takes into account much more campaign information to determine where your ad will show up on search engine results pages (SERPs). Ad Rank is calculated by various factors including

  • your bid amount,
  • your auction-time,
  • ad quality,
  • competitiveness of an auction
  • and more.

Google is determining where, if at all, to show your ad in relation to other ads on SERPs, without directly considering Quality Score. Just because you have a high Quality Score, does not mean your campaign will have a high Ad Rank. While Ad Rank does take into account the same factors as Quality Score, it is all about improving your Ad Ranking position.

How do I check my Google Ads Quality Score?

To check your Google Ads Quality Score, sign into your Google Ads account. Navigate to the Keywords report. If you don’t see a Quality Score column, under “modify columns for keywords” open the Quality Score section. Here you’ll be able to add any of the following to your statistics table:

  • Quality Score
  • Landing page exp.
  • Exp. CTR
  • Ad Relevance

Why is a Google Ads Quality Score important?

Advertisers should recognise the big incentive that comes with achieving a high Quality Score – that is, the higher your Quality Score, the less you will pay per click. Even if there is low competition for your keywords, you may still end up paying close to your maximum CPC if your ad quality is low.

Further, a high Quality Score not only lowers your cost per click but your cost per conversion too.

Cost per conversion is different from cost per click as it reflects how much you pay when a user takes the action you want. Since not every click results in a conversion, cost per conversion is generally higher than cost per click.

So, remember, the better you are at meeting your prospect’s needs through relevant content, the less Google will charge you for the ad click and/or conversion.

And, unless you already have a Quality Score rating of 10/10, you should always improve your ads/content/landing page to increase your Quality Score, reduce costs and generate a greater return.

What Quality Score should you aim for in Google Ads?

Like any performance metric, a good Quality Score depends on what kind of keyword you are bidding on. Typically, a strong Quality Score is considered from 8-10/10, but may not be applicable to every keyword.

For example, Quality Score may vary from low commercial intent keywords to high commercial intent keywords. Commercial intent is an evaluation of the likelihood that someone searching for a keyword becomes a lead or customer.

Keyword research is fundamental to digital marketing. Identifying and applying highly relevant keywords related to your niche, allows you to achieve a higher Quality Score with less effort and budget.

We have information on how to research keywords for your niche here.

How to interpret your Google Ads Quality Score results

In digital marketing, a high Google Ads Quality Score is beneficial as a marketing KPI, as it indicates a strong alignment between consumers and marketers.

A high Quality Score represents thorough research has been completed to identify who it is you want to reach and talk to and that you’re engaging with them through highly targeted and relevant messaging within Google Ads.

Ultimately, the higher your Quality Score, the more effective your marketing efforts are.

How can I improve my Quality Score?

Has your quality score tanked?

While there are various potential culprits that can lead to a low Quality Score, here are the most likely culprits that will lead to a low Quality Score and how to fix them:

1. Ad Relevance If you recall, ad relevance is one of the key factors used to measure your Quality Score. So, here are some top tips for improving your ad relevance:

a) Conduct Keyword Research: By conducting keyword research, you’ll help find the right words and phrases to use in your ad content, that are likely to resonate with your target audience. Focus on keywords most likely to drive qualified traffic. For example, the use of long-tail keywords will help to drive niche, interested, and qualified leads.

b) Organise your Ad Groups: The keywords in your ad group should all be relevant and follow the same intent. Ad groups that combine both broader and more specific keywords will affect their relevance. More specific and related keywords keep the ad group focused with similar, if not identical, search intent.

c) Refine the Ad Copy: If you have done your keyword research, the next thing you should focus on is your ad text. Your ad copy should always be relevant to your keyword selection. Google overlooks your ad copy to ensure you are providing users with useful and relevant information. This is because you want your ad copy to directly match user search intent.

d) Add Negative Keywords: Incorporating negative keywords prevents your ads from appearing in search results that aren’t relevant to your business. This way you can save money on leads or clicks that aren’t interested in your offering or match their initial search intent, and therefore will not convert.

2. Landing Page Experience:

You might’ve guessed this one was coming.

To improve your Quality Score you’ll also want to look at your landing page experience. This is another key factor for Google to measure your Quality Score.

Some recommendations for strengthening a landing page experience are:

a) Align the ad and landing page: The landing page should always deliver what is offered in your ad. It is important that the content of your landing page does not fall short of the content of your ads. The landing page should offer your audience an extension to what they have already seen, and if they have clicked your ad to your landing page, you’re one step closer to generating a conversion. Thus, you want to ensure your landing page has the relevant information your prospect is looking for.

b) Optimise for Mobile Experience: More than half of website traffic now comes from mobile devices. So, there is a very large chance most users are viewing your ads on their mobile device. Therefore, you should prioritise designing your landing page to be responsive to all devices, not just desktops. You want the entire experience to be frictionless from the ad to the very last conversion action.

c) Design your landing page with the visitor’s goal in mind: In essence, the goal for your landing page and your visitor’s goal should overlap. They want to claim an offer, and you want them to claim it. So, when designing your landing page, guide them to the most important or core elements of the page, for example, the CTA or lead form. Moreover, you should ensure the value proposition is clearly articulated and resonates with visitors at first glance. The clearer you can articulate the value of the offer, the better chance you have of converting your users.

d) Check Page Speed: Site or loading speed can greatly affect user experience. Users are highly time-sensitive and want answers fast. A landing page that takes longer than a few seconds to load will likely result in the user bouncing from your website, with a poor user experience. If you have paid for a user to get to your landing page, the last thing you want is to steer them away with a slow-loading page. Evidence shows that pages that take longer than 3 seconds to load, will result in a higher bounce rate.

 

Summary: By now you will have realised why a Google Ads high Quality Score is essential to measuring the success of a Google Ads campaign.As marketers, we want high returns, in less time and with less ad spend. Quality Score is the indicator that will help achieve this, provided you use Quality Score as a measure of the relevance and usefulness, to your target audience, of your keywords, ads and landing pages.

Use this guide to better understand the status of your Google ads to achieve the best possible return when advertising on Google.

What is Google Ads’ Quality Score?

Google Ads’ Quality score is their unique way of rating the relevance and overall user experience that your ads and landing page/s provide when users search your applicable keyword(s).

Why is a Google Ads Quality Score important?

Google Ads Quality Score is important because the higher your Quality Score, the less you will pay per click. Even if there is low competition for your keywords, you may still end up paying close to your maximum CPC if your ad quality is low.

What Quality Score should you aim for in Google Ads?

Like any performance metric, a good Quality Score depends on what kind of keyword you are bidding on. Typically, a strong Quality Score is considered from 8-10/10, but may not be applicable to every keyword.

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