PPC Expert Series – Quality Score

One question to think about… Are you paying wholesale, or are you paying retail in your Google PPC campaigns? Advertisers don’t usually think about PPC prices in this way, but the truth is, you may be paying “retail” prices without realizing it.

You should understand Google wants to deliver quality with every search, whether through organic or paid search, and via the Google Ads Quality Score, they reward high quality with discounts, and low quality scores will adversely impact your Ad Rank. Once your Ad Rank is adversely affected, the only way to push past it is to artificially raise your maximum bids, which wastes money.

Quality Scores range from 1 to 10, and obviously the closer you are to 10 the better.

What many advertisers don’t know is the “discounts” Google provides for Quality Scores is non-linear. For example, improving your Quality Score from 5 to 7, your discount will be approximately 20%. However, the difference between a Quality Score of 7 and 10 could result in a CPC increase of another 50%. So keep this in mind when you are checking your Quality Scores. Moving a keyword score from 4 to 9 will result in a huge discount and/or a much better ad position on the resulting SERP.

The way you want to think of Quality Score, is that it’s like a real auction room… Let’s say you go to an auction house and there’s a piece of art you want to bid on, but they don’t know you very well at this auction, so they seat you in the back of the auction room.

In order for your bid to be heard on that piece of art, you’re gonna have to yell and shout and jump and wave your paddle in order to be heard. Well, with Google PPC it’s the same thing.  It actually is an auction, and your Ad Rank will determine where you “sit” in that auction room. When your targeted keyword is triggered from a user’s search, you’re in an auction with other bidders. If you have a low Quality Score for your keyword, your Ad Rank is low and you are in the back of the auction room. There is a way to be heard, but you will need to raise your keyword maximum CPC bids in order to be heard. Depending on a keyword’s Quality Score, you may need to raise your max bids to the point where you’re wasting a significant amount of money.

When I review PPC accounts I’m shocked at how low quality scores are, and how little attention is being paid to them.

If your average quality scores are below 5 or 6, you’re wasting a ton of money, potentially half of your spend could be wasted due to high CPC’s (costs per click).

How to Calculate the Average Quality Score in Your Google Ads Account

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to calculate the Average Quality Score in any ad group. Before you do this, I warn you… it may not be pretty.

Access the Keywords in Google Ads:

  1. If multiple campaign types exist in the left sidebar, select Search Campaigns.
  2. Select Campaigns from the middle-left sidebar. Check that the only filter near the top of the chart says “Campaign Status: Enabled” (do not include Paused campaigns). Remove any other filters.
  3. Select Ad groups from the middle-left sidebar. Check that the only filter near the top of the chart says “Ad group Status: Enabled” (do not include Paused ad groups). Remove any other filters.
  4. Select Keywords from the middle-left sidebar.  Check that the only filter near the top of the chart says “Keyword Status: Enabled” (do not include Paused keywords). Remove any other filters.
  5. Click the Download button at the top-right of the keyword chart, then select .xlsx as the file type and save to your computer.

Open the Search Keyword Spreadsheet

  1. Delete the top 2 rows and also delete the bottom “totals” rows.
  2. Select all rows, then Data>Filter from the top menu.
  3. Find the Quality Score column and click the filter icon/button in the top cell.  Deselect the item with 2 small dashes.
  4. Go to the bottom of that Quality Score column and select the first empty cell.
  5. Click the Formula (side) button at the top, then select Average, then select all the cells in the Quality Score column, then press enter.

If you’re having trouble getting your Average Quality Score, or you’d just like a second opinion on your PPC efforts, give us a call.

We’ll hear you… Even if you’re in the back of the room.

Published by Andrew Orlander
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