We know that getting your head around Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) can feel like an impossible task! Not to mention mastering the art of lowering your cost per click (CPC) whilst still maintaining or increasing your ROI… If you’re going to succeed in the world of PPC, you need to a solid understanding of two things; Quality Score and Ad Rank.
Throughout this blog post we are going to explain exactly what Quality Score is, what factors affect your Quality Score, and how your Quality Score affects your Ad Rank and CPC. Get ready to answer all of those nagging queries you have about Quality Score and Ad Rank.
So, without further ado, let’s get to it!
What is Quality Score?
Quality Score is a score between 1 and 10 that Google assigns to each of your Keywords in an Ad group. This score is used to determine how useful and relevant your ad will be to the user based on their search query. Google takes into account a number of factors to calculate your Quality Score, including:
- Your click-through-rate (CTR);
- The quality of your landing page;
- The relevance of your ad text;
- And, historical Keyword and Ad performance.
Phew! Take a deep breath. Taking all of these factors into account, Google will churn out a score for your Keyword; 1 being bad, 10 being the best.
Are you curious as to what your Keywords and Ads are scoring? Here’s Google’s support page, telling you how to check your Quality Score on Google Ads.
What x What x What, Should Equal… What Exactly?
The problem is, we don’t know how Google weighs up each of these factors in their Quality Score algorithm. Only the Google Ads minions themselves know that. However, we do know that your CTR is definitely one of the most important factors. The higher your CTR, the more of an indication Google has that people find your ad useful. Your ad relevance and the quality of your landing page also have a big part to play in your Quality Score.
But at the end of the day, you should be aiming to perform as well as possible in each of those areas. So, do we really need to be concerned with what the weighting of each factor is anyway?
Everybody is a Winner
Google wouldn’t be one of the biggest companies in the world if they didn’t hold their own best interests at heart. Think about it, they want people to keep coming back to use the service they offer, to make more money. So, if you have written a quality ad that clearly meets the needs of a user’s search, Google are going to be more inclined to direct people to your ad as early as possible. This obviously is beneficial for you, but more importantly in Google’s eyes, it’s beneficial for them because it means they are providing a quality service. This is why they rank every ad, for every auction, as soon as a search happens. Which leads us nicely onto…
What is Ad Rank and How is it Calculated?
Ad Rank is the value used to determine where your ad will show on a page in relation to other ads. If it is shown at all. The higher your Ad Rank, the better position your ad will be placed and the less you could be charged per click.
Unlike the mystery of Quality Score, it’s a little easier to understand Ad Rank. This is because we know exactly what is used in Google’s algorithm to determine it. The only problem is, the mysterious Quality Score is part of that algorithm…
As you can see in the diagram above, your Ad Rank is calculated by multiplying your Quality Score by your CPC bid. If you have chosen to bid on a keyword that appears in a user’s search query, then your ad will be entered into the ad auction. This means that the higher your Quality Score, the lower your CPC needs to be in order to hold your Ad Rank position.
How Does the Ad Auction Work?
Imagine that you own an online shoe shop and you have bid on the keyword ‘black converse’. However, 3 other advertisers have also bid on the same keyword ‘black converse’. When a user searches for ‘black converse’ an auction will take place. This is where your Quality Score and CPC come into play. We’ve created an example below to try and further clarify how your Quality Score can affect your Ad Rank and how a high Quality Score can actually reduce the amount you would have to pay per click.
As you can see from the example above, the ad that had the second lowest Max. Bid (Ad 1), actually finished in the 1st position placement as they had such a high Quality Score.
10 (Quality Score) X 3 (Max. Bid) = 30 (Ad Rank)
The ad with the second highest Max. Bid (Ad 3) actually had the lowest Ad Rank. This is due to the fact that the ad has such a low Quality Score. Despite Google being able to charge this advertiser a higher price to show their ad, they deemed that because the User Experience of the search engine itself would take a hit, it is in everyone’s best interest (including the searcher) to show the higher quality ad at the top of page 1. The lower quality ad may still be shown, but it would be lower down in Google’s results page.