If you’ve been advertising on Google AdWords for a while, you know that it’s all about quality score. The better your quality score, the better you rank, the lower your CPCs, and the more revenue and margin you can squeeze out of your Google AdWords campaigns.
On a keyword level, it’s super easy to measure quality score. After all, quality score is exposed on a keyword level. (Side note: If quality score is low for any particular keyword, I always recommend breaking it out and optimizing ad copy.)
Now, let’s say you’re managing millions of keywords like me. How do you get a sense of your overall account level quality score? Here’s how… Each month, I recommend exporting your entire Google AdWords account with all columns. Then, I recommend creating a new column called quality score * cost that equals the product of quality score and cost. Next, sum the new quality score * cost column and also the cost column. Divide the quality score * cost sum by cost sum and you have your weighted average quality score for your entire Google AdWords account!
Make sure to to do this exact same exercise each and every month. On Google’s back end, quality scores are not on the simple 1 to 10 scale that they export to the end user. However, the 1 to 10 scale is the best we have. These days, a high-spending AdWords account with a lot of history and a great quality score should have an average quality score in the 7 range. When you start measuring on a month to month basis, you’ll see some fluctuations (usually within a 1 point range). Make sure your weighted average has at least two decimal points.
Why do you want to measure this number? There are a few main reasons. First and foremost, you want to see if all your ad copy and reorg projects are working. If your quality score improves, it indicates your work is paying off. Second, you want to keep an eye out of major issues with your account. If your quality score drops, there’s likely a new competitor in your category who is adversely affecting your click through rate (and therefore quality score) or something is wrong with your account. A drop is something to spend time investigating. Third, quality score is a great metric to manage upwards. It’s a way to benchmark your team’s performance. It’s not as important as revenue and margin, but is one other indicator of progress.
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Christopher Whalen says
Hi Ian. Thanks for this. It’s really useful. I’ve been tracking average Quality Score for my clients each month, but I haven’t been weighting it. Is there any reason why you choose to weight by cost rather than clicks (as this person does: http://julianmoskov.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/average-quality-score/)?
PPC Ian says
Thanks so much for the comment and kind words, I truly appreciate it! You bring up a super question. I think weighting by either clicks or cost could work well.
Side note: I definitely would not weight by conversions since some words will do no conversions one month but will the next (especially if you’re in a higher CPC, high payout, low conversion rate vertical).
When it comes to cost vs. clicks, I like to weight by cost for two main reasons:
1. If you have a strong brand and tend to do a lot of clicks on your brand name keywords, those will almost always have a really high quality score and could cloud the overall picture. If you weight by cost, since brand keywords tend to have low CPCs (and therefore low cost), all those brand quality scores of 10 will have a little less weight in the overall picture.
2. I feel like higher CPC keywords are more important and should have more weight in the overall calculation. That said, high CPC keywords are often also the ones that tend to have a lot of clicks so you’d probably be ok weighting by clicks in this case too. That said, there are those high CPC keywords that convert super well by do less volume. I like to give those a little extra weight in the overall calculation.
Taking these two points into consideration, it’s my personal preference to weight by cost, but you probably would be just fine weighting by clicks too. Great question! What do you think of this rationale?
All the best,
Great QS tip! It seems pretty obvious after reading, but I’m sure there are tons of people who never even considered this.
PPC Ian says
Thanks so much for the comment, Collabo. Agreed it’s an easy one, but also highly effective!
Mortgage Company@Harry says
thanks for explore more about Google adwords
Keith Holloway says
Thanks for the great idea, Ian. I’m going to put this QS KPI to work right away.
I just started reading your blog as I’m researching SEM Automation tools and you’ve got a lot of great information. Keep up the great work!
PPC Ian says
Thanks so much, Keith! I truly appreciate the kind words. Thanks for reading! 🙂