Using Quality Score to Guide Optimizations: Google Best Practices
What is AdWords Quality Score
A good ad experience is good for everyone: users, advertisers and Google too. AdWords is built on this idea, and one of the key ways we make that good experience happen is by measuring the quality of your ads.
Our measurement of quality helps us show more useful ads in higher positions on Google.com search results pages, so that users see ads that are relevant to their query and advertisers get clicks from qualified users. Besides creating happier users, those high-quality ads have the potential to earn extra benefits for advertisers, like lower costs per click and eligibility to surface more information with ad extensions.
This makes ad quality critically important to AdWords advertisers. Yet there are plenty of misconceptions about the topic, specifically about the metric Quality Score that’s reported in your account. In an attempt to clear up some of those misconceptions, we wanted to explain how advertisers should think about and react to their Quality Score metrics.
We’ll cover the following topics:
- The 1-to-10 Quality Score metric in your account, how to interpret it, and why it’s different from census data like impressions and clicks
- Why you should pay attention to Quality Score but not make it a primary obsession
- How to use your Quality Score as a guide to delighting your users
The last point is key: give your users what they need, and a great Quality Score should follow.
In this guide we’ll use Quality Score (with capitals) to refer to the Quality Score numbers from 1 to 10 that you see in your account. A lower-case phrase, such as ads quality, will refer to a more nuanced version of quality, much closer to what’s actually used in the auction that determines the position of your search ads. As we’ll see, they’re related but far from identical concepts.
Now let’s talk quality.
Quality Score is a helpful diagnostic tool, not a key performance indicator
Because we believe that better ads are a good thing for everyone, the AdWords system is set up to identify and reward quality ads. High-quality ads can give you a higher Ad Rank and lead to other potential benefits, including:
- Lower costs-per-click
- Better ad positions
- Eligibility for ad extensions and other ad formats
The quality of your ads is calculated for each auction they enter. But this is the important point: the Quality Score you see in your account is not an exact representation of those real-time ad quality calculations—there are just too many factors that are taken into account for every auction to allow one figure to fully capture your quality. Instead, the Quality Score you see is a more general metric presented as a diagnosis of your overall performance in those auctions.
It’s easy to think that the Quality Score number of 1 to 10 is connected directly to the auction. But during a real-time auction we also consider many additional factors, like the user’s exact query, their device, their location and the time of day. Those aren’t directly reflected in the Quality Score you see in your account. To help you improve your ad performance, your Quality Score summarizes recent performance based on three components.1
|1. Expected clickthrough rate||The likelihood that your ad will be clicked|
|2. Ad relevance||How closely your ad matches the intent behind a user's search|
|3. Landing page experience||How relevant, transparent and easy-to-navigate your page is for users|
Each has a status of above average, average, or below average.
When a user searches for something on Google, we recalculate all three of these components as part of our determination of Ad Rank.
1 Other factors are taken into account at auction time.