Google will be adding a quality score column within your AdWords accounts by weeks end. In addition, within the next couple of weeks, Google will be rolling out a significant change to the AdWords quality score algorithm. I had a conversation with Nick Fox, the head of Google’s ad quality team, to review some of these changes.
(1) Quality Score Column:
The new quality score column should be visible in your AdWords account by the end of this week. The column will show you how the keyword/ad is performing on a three point scale and the minimum bid required to have that keyword rank in the ad network. The three scales include Poor, OK and Great. Ads that have a “Great” score will typically have a lower minimum bid, while ads with a “Poor” score will typically have a higher minimum bid.
Google is adding this column, in order to help advertisers understand what their quality score is. In the past, the only way to really know if a quality score was good or bad, was to look at your minimum bid. For example, higher CPC prices typically meant a lower quality score, but a lower CPC price typically meant a higher quality score. By adding this column, it should make this information clearer to the advertiser.
In addition to showing the quality score, Google will also be showing you the minimum bid required for that keyword. Before, Google typically only showed the minimum bid (clearly) if your keywords were inactive – now Google will show minimum bids for all your keywords, directly under the quality score.
Google has been testing this feature out for a couple months. They have learned from beta testers that they want even more transparency. So Google is planning on adding more transparency to the quality score. They hope to give advertisers more details on what specifically is working and not working about the ad. One such example is if an ad has a good CTR, but poor landing page. I asked if this is kind of like how AdSense is testing optimization reports and Nick confirmed it will be similar but not exactly the same. And yes, these reports will be automated, so that they are scalable.
(2) Improved Quality Score Algorithm:
In a couple weeks, Google will be rolling out an improved quality score algorithm. The most significant change in the algorithm is that they will now be handling keywords that have very little data, in an improved way. In the past, new keywords with little data, typically received a high CPC. Now, the advertiser will get the benefit of the doubt and typically be given a lower CPC – unless Google has data on that keyword.
This will impact a fair number of advertisers and keywords, Nick Fox told me. Some advertisers will see their quality score increase and some will see it decrease. Some keywords will see a higher CPC and some will see lower CPC. Some keywords will become inactive and some will see inactive keywords become active.
The reason Google is launching the Quality Score column is to give advertisers a heads up on their score. This way advertisers can be prepared for the new quality score algorithm, when it comes into play in a couple weeks from now.
Here is Google’s official post on the changes.
Postscript: eWhisper tells us How to find your AdWords Quality Score, if you want to see it.