Ads in a QualityScore World #seslondon

Ads in a QualityScore World #seslondon

21st February 2012

QualityScore is definitely one of the most important metrics in your Adwords account. It decides among others if your ad is eligible to enter the Adwords auction and, if yes. what position it takes. Furthermore this magic number influences the amount you pay for the click. Before starting to cover this session let me give you one quick book tip about QualityScore: “QualityScore in high resolution“, by Craig Danuloff, A must-read for every search marketer!
But let’s talk about this session at SES London which is moderated by Andrew Goodman. Speakers are Dan Robbins, Head of Paid Search at Carat and Ann Stanley, Managing Director of Annica Digital Solutions.
Ann Stanley starts her presentation. Unfortunately she speaks very very fast and her slides are full of text. Listening, reading and writing is almost impossible here. Ann starts explaining why QS is important and shows the two formulas everyone that does PPC should know to calculate Adrank and actual CPC:
Adrank = QS x max. CPC Bid
CPC = Adrank to beat / QS + $ 0,01

The 3 key elements of Quality Score are: Landing Page, Keyword relevancy, CTR.
A few reasons why QS goes wrong:
– Lack of knowledge or experience (generic phrases)
– words with more than one meaning
– account owner tries to be clever by getting loads of free impressions for generic phrases but few clicks. He gets punished because of the low CTR.
– agencies try to maximize the client’s click and spend by bidding generic words
– when you start bidding too low, especially in the beginning – your positions will be below the fold, so you don’t get impressions. This will lower your positions because of a bad QualityScore, which will put you even lower.
– highly competitive sectors (IT)
– a lot of charity sites get low QS (they can get Adwords for free through the Adwords Grants program, so they start focussing on very generic keywords)

She continues with some stategies to improve QS:
Landing Page:
1. Check page speed
2. Make sure you have the basics (T&C, Privacy)
3. Avoid pages with no relevant text, category pages
4. Create specific landing pages
5. Test, monitor and improve

Keyphrase and Ad relevancy:
1. Each campaign should be focussed on one product or service
2.Spend a minimum of 4 hours per campaign to identify 500-5000 unique and relevant key phrases
3.Create corresponding 500-5000 ad groups per campaign

Targeting and Campaign settings:
1. don’t mix search and display network
2. geo-targeting
3. pause Search Network during initial optimization.

Ann says that if the average CTR is below 1% in search for 3 months, build a new account. Otherwise restructure your account

At the end of her speech she shows some research:
For QS 7 the average CTR is above 5% (test about 65k keywords)
Most common QS was 7, 8 is very rare.

Next on the stage is Dan Robins with his presentation “Improving performance through Quality Score in Practice”. Dan will show 3 examples of account improvement.
In the first case Carat restructured the account, dividing broad and exact matches in different campaigns. Dan doesn’t like phrase match because it’s too much “in between”.

The benefits of this strategy:
1. control over where copy appears
2. control where the traffic lands – more relevant pages
3. Control over budget
4. Broad match still used,but tightly managed with negative keywords. Broad match is good to find new keywords.

The results:
SES London 2012: Ads in a Quality Score World
Example 2: Stucture for copy relevance.
This case talks about an account of a travel client. To optimize the account they divided the adgroups not only by destination but also by accommodation type. (Divide Newcastle Hotel and Newcastle Rooms in different ad groups).
With this granular approach you get targeted ads for targeted searches. Another benefit is that you’ve got control to push a certain product or accommodation.

With the last example in his presentation (example 3) Dan showed that position 1 isn’t everything.

This post in part made possible by a sponsoring from Majestic SEO who have the largest Link Intelligence database in Search.


Written By
Evert Veldhuijzen is consulting various international brands about different aspects of online marketing. His company Netlead is in affiliate business and develops websites for his joint-ventures.
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