Google is always striving to make metrics more relevant to marketers. Recently, they released two new metrics focusing on ad performance: Historical Quality Score and Unique Reach.
What is Quality Score?
WordStream defines Quality Score as “Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads”. We all know that Google wants to consistently show ads that are most relevant to what the user is searching. Quality Score is one way of improving search results.
Quality Score takes into account a myriad of factors. Typically, these include:
- Landing page experience and how relevant it is to the keyword driving traffic to it;
- How keywords are grouped in Ad Groups – You always want to group similar keywords into individual ad groups;
- Historical click-through rate (CTR) as well as bounce rate;
- How relevant ad copy is to the keyword;
- Overall AdWords campaign performance.
Why is Quality Score Important?
Anyone who has ever run a PPC campaign knows that cost-per-click (CPC) can quickly skyrocket on extremely competitive terms, causing overall budget issues and loss of conversions. Quality Score is a major factor in both ranking and costs. The more relevant the Google algorithm considers your ad and keywords, the less you pay for both CPC and overall cost per acquisition (CPA), and your ad appears in the search results more often.
So, there are major benefits to improving your Quality Score. Yet, Google didn’t provide a lot of depth to their Quality Score ratings before the latest update. Even if you went further back in time, the Quality Score column would only show the latest ranking. This meant that you couldn’t see whether your Quality Score had dropped over time – unless you had been recording weekly or monthly rankings.
The Latest Adwords Update
Starting last month, AdWords users can now see seven new columns in the Quality Score metrics column. These include:
- Qual. Score (hist.)
- Landing Page Exper.
- Landing Page Exper. (hist.)
- Ad Relevance
- Ad Relevance (hist.)
- Exp. CTR
- Exp. CTR (hist.)
You can now pull historical Quality Score data to as far back as January 22, 2016. What’s nice about the new columns is that you no longer need to hover over the little bubble next to each keyword to get the Quality Score breakdown for ad relevance, expected CTR and landing page experience.
Comparing Quality Score Over Time
The standard Quality Score metric will always show the current ranking for the keyword. You can, however, select a date range, and Segment the data by day. Here, you will see the end-of-day Quality Score for each day in the selected date range.
To segment data by day, go to Segment -> Time -> Day.
If you don’t segment Quality Score data by day, the historical Quality Score column will reflect the last-known score for the date range that you selected.
If you compare multiple time frames, you can also see the % Change (positive and negative) of your historical Quality Score. If there aren’t enough impressions or clicks within a selected time frame, you’ll see a null (-) Quality Score ranking.
With this data, you can now see whether your Quality Score is improving or dropping over different time frames. Why would Quality Score change? That can depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Changing ad messaging that makes it less relevant and results in fewer clicks or a higher bounce rate
- Changing to where ads are pointing, perhaps to not as relevant landing pages or sites that take a long time to load
- Updating ad groups with less relevant keywords
Any time you change any part of a campaign, you have the chance of both improving or negatively affecting your Quality Score. This is where A/B testing ads and landing pages can be extremely important.
Adding Unique Reach
Historical Quality Score data is not the only change that Google has brought to AdWords. Google added Unique Reach metrics. These metrics are only available for Display and YouTube ads. Unique Reach measures how often the same users have seen an ad. It calculates this metric by combining the number of impressions that a user sees across all types of devices, networks and formats.
Unique Reach metrics include both unique users and average impression frequency per user. To see these metrics, go to the main Campaign screen. Click Columns -> Modify columns -> Reach Metrics.
In the past, marketers couldn’t tell exactly how often a user was seeing an individual ad. This meant that they might be spamming certain users, especially since users often use many different devices and may be constantly seeing the same ad. Now, marketers must consider what they’re trying to accomplish if a user ignores an ad, and they keep showing it. If it’s not intentional, then marketers should adjust frequency settings.
Unique Reach is calculated differently than cookie-based unique reach. This type of reach is calculated when a cookie is added to a web browser. This type of reach is calculated by deduplicating cookies and counting the number of unique cookies. This isn’t always accurate since users may block cookies or even browse in private mode.
Both releases should be available in your AdWords accounts now.
Reporting historical Quality Score
With these latest updates, Google has continued to make the AdWords experience more relevant and useful to marketers. Historical Quality Score will help you understand how changes to your campaigns affect how well your ads rank. A fall in rank may mean that you need to take steps to improve your quality score. To leverage these latest updates, start by adding historical Quality Score to your reports: Supermetrics add-on now allows to pull not only historical QS, but also Landing Page experience, Ad relevance (Historical creative quality score) and search predicted CTR metrics, that can be broken down by multiple dimensions, and not only limited to keywords.
Supermetrics Blog’s next article will provide tips on how you can leverage historical Quality Score data include a handy historical QS tracking and reporting template.