Franklin, a regular reader of this blog, emailed me a great question regarding Adwords Quality Score:
“What I was wondering is this: assuming all else have been done very well (tightly grouped ad groups, relevant keywords with ad copy, with landing page, etc etc), is it possible to get a “Great” quality score from the beginning ( i.e: literally right after we launch our campaigns)? Or do we really have to wait until our CTRs build up (by bidding high at the beginning) before we can get “Great” quality score?”
This is a really great question, and I’m going to answer it in several parts. You see there’s a quality score you get right away when you launch a campaign, but that QS (quality score) changes once Google starts collects data on your campaign performance.
FIRST STAGE OF YOUR QUALITY SCORE
Google assigns your keywords an initial quality score, when your first launch your campaign (before you get any impressions), based on two factors:
- How targeted are your ads to the keyword. Build tightly targeted adgroups and put the keyword in your Google ad at least once.
- Your landing page quality, which includes how targeted your page is to your keyword among other factors.
Remember your quality score ONLY effects your minimum bids & NOT your ad position (except for placement in the pink sponsored link bar). You can have 5% CTR on a keyword and STILL have a poor quality score.
You may start a campaign and see that most of your keywords has min bids of 0.05 or less. Don’t get too excited, your minimum bid can go up, WAY UP!
HOW YOUR QUALITY SCORE CHANGES OVERTIME
There’s two factors that may increase (or decrease) your minimum bids (ie QS) on your keywords overtime:
Low CTR: you’ve probably noticed this, if you initialize have a good quality score (ie low min bid) on a keyword, but that keyword ends up getting a CTR of 0.56% you’ll notice the minimum bid jump from something like 0.05 to 0.50!?! Ouch! If you’re having this problem with a keywords that’s producing a lot of sales, peel and stick it into a separate adgroup, make a customized ad just for that keyword.
High Bounce Rate: YES, Google does look at the bounce rate of your visitors, that is how fast they’re hitting the back button when they hit your landing page. This is why having compelling content on your site is a MUST, in some market adding a 30 second video can really cut down your bounce rates substantially.
FACTORS THAT EFFECT YOUR AD POSITION
There’s basically 3 main factors that effect your ad position:
- Your bid price
- Your CTR
- Your history
The formula goes something like this :
Ad position = (Bid price) x (CTR) x (history)
The history factor is most important when you’re just starting out your campaign. You’ve probably noticed that when you first launch a Google campaign, you don’t get a lot of traffic, however, once it’s been running for a while the traffic starts really kicking in.
This is a result of your ad position going up (as a result of building history) and getting approved for the Google search partners.
This is the history factor, overtime this factor converges to a constant value.
Think about this: The Adwords system is really based on a CPM model. Think about it your ad position is proportional to the CTR x (Bid Price), if you have double the CTR you pay 1/2 the bid price for the same ad position.
You’re really paying Google on a CPM basis.
I hope that answers your question Franklin!