Google AdWords Quality Score- Why It Matters

Google recently named Ferocious Media the 2014 winner of the North America Premier SMB Partner Awards in the category for “Highest Quality Accounts”.  This was an especially big deal to us as this was purely a mathematical calculation of all our accounts’ average Quality Scores, and not someone’s opinion.  Ferocious Media’s accounts had the highest average Quality Score among all of the Google AdWords Premier SMB Partners.

Who Cares? We do. Our advertisers do. Google does. The users of Google do.

Quality Score as it exists was born in 2002, after Google’s founder Larry Page was not happy with the (sometimes irrelevant) ads showing for different Google searches.  In its simplest form, the brilliant engineers at Google came up with an “Ad Ranking Score”, which today is known as Quality Score. The strange simplicity and complexity of AdWords Quality Score changed advertising forever and catapulted Google into the stratosphere financially. It also made sure users of Google’s search engine would continue to find what they want when searching for just about anything.

The way Quality Score is determined for keywords has changed over the past decade. The exact formula (algorithm) is still a mystery and catalyst to many debates within the digital marketing community. What remains true is that the biggest factor in determining Quality Score on a Keyword is the click through rate (CTR) on that Keyword and Text Ad.  If these are the only two things you work on for your AdWords account, you will be ahead of the game. In essence, every time Google users see an ad, they “Vote” by either clicking on the ads, or not.  The ones that users don’t like (low CTR, relative to other ads), for whatever reason, are pegged with a low quality score and the ads are sent lower down on the page.  Conversely, ads and keywords with a relatively high CTR, are awarded with higher positions on the page, often at lower costs.  It’s a win/win, when it goes in your favor.

Over the last 9 or so years, the SEM Team at Ferocious Media has managed thousands of accounts, and millions of keywords.  So, to answer the question “Why Does Quality Score Matter?”… Below are our findings on the effect Quality Score can have on your AdWords Cost-Per-Click:

No surprise, low quality keywords are in low positions, and cost a lot more than high quality keywords.  These keywords can sponge up a disproportionate amount of your daily budget… pay attention to them.  They are low for a reason, and need to be dealt with.