How important is the Quality Score of Good Ads?

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Written by: Ian Haponiev (Content Specialist at Vision Effect)

The quality score of your Google Ads is important to say the least. Not only does it affect the ranking of your advert, but also the cost; an ad with a high quality score will be cheaper and rank higher than one with a low score.

Google’s mission statement is relatively straightforward – they want to provide people with the best answers to the queries they search for. This is complicated slightly by the fact that they allow advertising on the platform, as the cynical among us might think that they’re just trying to give the most prominent ad space to the highest bidder – but that’s not true. Instead, Google relies on a diagnostic tool that rates ads based on certain criteria that reflect their aforementioned mission statement; they want quality ads that match the search terms and intent of their users as closely as possible.

How does Google determine the quality score of ads?

Google measures the quality score of ads on a scale of 1-10 and does so at a keyword level, i.e. each ad is scored based on the individual keyword or phrase that it targets.

The are three factors that come into play when determining the quality score:

  • Expected Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
  • Ad Relevance
  • Landing Page Experience

Expected Clickthrough Rate predicts the number of clicks your ad will get when it’s displayed. This is calculated by the past performance of ads that have targeted the same keyword or phrase.

Ad Relevance considers how well your ad matches, as Google states, “the intent behind a user’s search”. This goes to show that you need to bid on keywords or phrases from users who are clearly looking for your product or service. For example, if you operate a car rental business only on Crete but bid for “Car Rental Greece”, your ad will take users to a landing page where clients will only be able to rent on one island in the country. While Crete is technically in Greece, this isn’t a great match for your ad and your relevance score will suffer.

Landing Page Experience is all about the destination you send the people who click on your ad – is the landing page relevant and useful? Think about it in terms of user intent; if your ad has bid on the phrase ‘buy Samsung Galaxy S22’, the user needs to land on a page where they can do just that, not the homepage of your store or any other that would require them to navigate further. Make sure there are no obstacles that impede the user from achieving their intended goal or your quality score may suffer.

These three factors are graded with either “Above Average”, “Average”, or “Below Average” and these levels are determined by, as Google states, “a comparison with other advertisers whose ads showed for the exact same keyword, over the last 90 days.”.

Obviously, performance and statistics are going to vary from industry to industry, so it makes sense for Google to judge your ads in that manner. It’s worth mentioning that if your sphere of business is particularly obscure or very few people have used your targeted words or phrases, Google will not grade your expected CTR because it doesn’t have the data to accurately do so. Don’t worry though, if there’s no competition for these keywords or phrases, they’re likely to have a very low cost-per-click (CPC) and you’ll be very high up the search rankings – for the time being, at least.

What is the average clickthrough rate (CTR) for Google Ads?

The average clickthrough rate for all Google ads runs from 2.1% to 1.2%, depending on position. There are a maximum of four sponsored advertising links that appear at the top of the page when a user searches for something on Google, with the percentages moving in descending order as expected. First place has a 2.1% CTR, second 1.6%, third 1.4% and fourth 1.2%. Clearly, these numbers are not particularly high but you can still see a rather big difference between first and fourth place, as users are almost twice as likely to click the ad they see first rather than the one they see last. It pays to be number one.

So, now we know how Google Ads are graded and why it’s important to follow the guidelines set by the platform who issued them. To recap:

  • Make your ads as relevant to the keywords and search terms as possible. Think about the potential customer or client’s intent and make sure that what you’re offering will match the expectation of the person who clicks.
  • Ensure that the landing page connected to your Google Ads not only matches for relevance, but also makes it as easy as possible for the person who clicked on your ad to get what they want. People will quickly exit a page that does not match their expectations and this tells Google they had a bad experience, which will negatively impact your score.
  • Bid on keywords and phrases that your competitors haven’t discovered yet but people are searching for. This will increase your chances of having a higher ad position, as well as a cheaper cost-per-click (CPC).

If you’re unsure about how to proceed with your Google Ads campaign or need some assistance with digital marketing in general, contact us today for a free consultation. Let’s boost your business!