How to leverage data to improve your AdWords Quality score?

In today’s cut throat competitive world, which is (digitally) ruled by Google, almost everyone relies on AdWords to improve their Paid and Organic Searches on dotcoms. Just a caution, I am assuming the readers of this blog are familiar with Google AdWords, what it is used for, about Ad campaigns, and CPC (Cost per Click) bidding. Hence, I will be directly jumping on to my favorite parts which are decoding the data metrics which can help us identify how to improve our Quality Score of AdWords , optimize our bids and thus save millions of dollars!

To expand and explain on the “analytical” and “functional” angle of Quality Score to novice data analysts, let me share a hypothetical yet close-to-real-world example. Let us assume there are two candidates, John and Jim competing for the post of Finance Secretary in their town election. Both are well educated, highly experienced, are financially well-off and eagerly interested to win the election. Upon deeper examination, it appears that although both are well educated, their streams are different where John is from Science background, Jim graduated in Commerce. Though both have significant work-experience, John is an Astronomy professor , while Jim is leading a Banking and Equity firm at a Non-Profit organization. Moreover. though both are economically affluent, John is a spendthrift while is Jim is frugal in nature. What do you think? Who might be shortlisted for the Secretarial position? Though on the face both candidates seemed to be at the top of their fields, when you look from a microscopic angle, there are pertinent facts and stories which can lead us towards the right decision. The winning candidate should have relevant skillsets and here, be able to showcase past traits and experiences indicating his “interests” in the area of politics, finance and community service. This learning can be directly leveraged and applied AdWords Analytics. It might so be that your content is articulately drafted or your landing page is aesthetic, or you might be giving away freebies to earn ample clicks, but still your Quality Score is low!! Why? Because reality is more than than just impressions, clicks and CPCs. What matters is “Relevancy” and “Consistency”.

So, how is Quality Score related to all this?

Quality Score is Google’s rating of the overall user experience that your ads and landing pages provide when users search for your keyword(s). This is represented on a scale of 1–10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. There are three factors that affect your Quality Score; CTR (Click Through Rate), Ad Relevance and your Landing Page Experience. As you can see, two of these factors are extremely qualitative and experienced eyes alone can smartly differentiate between a bad, creditable and outstanding Ad relevance and user experience. Don’t worry, it is not as tough as it sounds. As much as market research and competitive analysis is useful, a simple dashboard can also help you to investigate the red flags in your performance.

Let me present a specially curated flowchart to suggest recommendations on the bidding frontier using historic Quality Score Performance data

The issue-tree approach is simple to understand and helps to quantify the Quality Score components for the client and consequently quantify the worth of each metric of a paid Ad.

A low CTR means your title is not tightly wrapped around the actual content where it intends to take the user to. It can also mean that your title/content is nor accessible or visible to many, which directs you to increase your bids to put them on top. A high Bounce rate, low Page time, or low clicks on CTA buttons tells you that your audience is not finding the landing page interesting. Thus, you need to always tie up data with relevancy and experience, to identify your plan of action.

A small but very important point which many overlook is consistency in your efforts. We know that ultimately it is machine which is deciding whether your pages and audience find your content relevant through data alone. Hence, let’s assume you are using freebies as clickbait, you should know that it might work only temporarily as long as we are consistent with it. Eventually your website traffic will fade away and you might loose your page views. So my advice is to be always consistent with your bidding efforts and content refinement plans to avoid loosing out to your competition while you take an planned respite.

Using the above flowchart, you will be able to decode the metrics that can act as a proxy to the components that comprise the Quality Score. It can be used while creating wireframes of your BI dashboards, or even perform a descriptive analysis to glean insights and curate recommendations to your Marketing and Advertising team to help them streamline their budget in the areas with opportunities (eg. Focus on bidding , Improve the website design). Setting a threshold limit on the identified metrics to which helps analyze where we are actually overspending or where we actually need to invest to improve our relevancy.

So, why is improving Quality Score important?

  • To achieve more results with less spend by lowering cost per conversion
  • To avoid past mistakes!! Historical data can give you a clear indication of what works and what does not work, so avoid those blunders!
  • A high Quality Score means you are even likely to come on top of your Organic searches

To summarize, Quality Score appears to be esoteric in nature but it is a gem of a KPI in AdWords world which if carefully broken down into its components and visualized using a flow diagram can certainly help Analytics and Business teams to strategically plan the areas of improvement on Digital and Ecommerce platforms.


Pradnya Asolkar



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