Quality Score And PPC Management


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Presentation by Jonathan Hochman at SMX Advanced, Seattle, June 2, 2009.

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Quality Score And PPC Management

  1. 1. Quality Score and PPC Account Management SMX Advanced, June 2, 2009, Seattle, WA Jonathan Hochman
  2. 2. What is Quality Score? <ul><li>QS is a set of algorithms used by Google to organize the AdWords auction: </li></ul><ul><li>What ads show? </li></ul><ul><li>How to rank the ads? </li></ul><ul><li>How much will the clicks cost? </li></ul><ul><li>The algorithms are secret, but some details are known. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Google Quality Score <ul><li>What does it stick to? </li></ul><ul><li>Keywords </li></ul><ul><li>Matched Ads </li></ul><ul><li>Display URLs </li></ul><ul><li>Landing Pages </li></ul><ul><li>Geographic Areas </li></ul><ul><li>AdWords Accounts </li></ul><ul><li>Content Networks </li></ul>http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=10215
  4. 4. Microsoft Quality Based Ranking <ul><li>Keyword relevancy to client offering, as determined by software </li></ul><ul><li>Ad Text </li></ul><ul><li>Ad Landing Page </li></ul><ul><li>Overall website user experience, measured by dwell time </li></ul><ul><li>Scores are not revealed.  </li></ul>
  5. 5. Yahoo! Quality Index <ul><li>Attaches to ad versions </li></ul><ul><li>Influenced by relevancy of keywords in the group. </li></ul><ul><li>Historical or expected CTR </li></ul><ul><li>Scored on a scale of 1-5 </li></ul><ul><li>Yahoo says segregate groups by keyword theme. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Google QS Optimization <ul><li>Nine favorite tactics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Delete search KW with CTR < 0.50% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keywords with QS < 6 are deleted or refined </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use KW tool to generate negative keywords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Start with at least one non-DKI ad version </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Landing pages link to Privacy and About Us </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Draw tight lines on the map </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Generous use of site exclusions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opt out of mobile device ads (often) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Separate search and content campaigns </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. QS Optimization in Action <ul><li>Publisher spends $40,000 per month to generate visits. Optimizations: </li></ul><ul><li>Expand keyword lists </li></ul><ul><li>Test new ad versions </li></ul><ul><li>Prune low quality KW, ads, networks </li></ul><ul><li>Drop bids to maintain constant spend </li></ul><ul><li>Over six months visits improved 300% with the same budget. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Marginal Keywords <ul><li>What do you do with a keyword that rates 5 but still drives conversions? </li></ul><ul><li>Running marginal keywords could damage account QS. How much? A few low QS yet productive keywords are probably harmless. </li></ul>
  9. 9. What to do about QS 5 keyword? <ul><li>Company sells blast cleaning equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Prospects call this sandblasting equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Something else called sandblasting has higher search volume </li></ul><ul><li>Without sandblasting , lead volume dives </li></ul><ul><li>Wrote defensive ad and ran the keyword. </li></ul><ul><li>Business goals trump Quality Score. </li></ul>
  10. 10. QS is Relative <ul><li>Quality score is relative to the competition </li></ul><ul><li>Marginal keywords can be friends </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight </li></ul><ul><li>OK to compete with QS 5 against QS 4/5/6, but probably not against QS 8+. </li></ul><ul><li>Some keywords are ambiguous by nature. All advertisers may have lower QS. </li></ul><ul><li>The bottom line: Cost per Conversion. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Homonyms, Heteronyms, and Capitonyms <ul><li>Ford Focus ad on photography website </li></ul>Do words with different meanings hurt Quality Score?
  12. 12. A/B Testing of Ad Versions <ul><li>Running new ads against seasoned ads is not a valid A/B test. QS affects ad rank, CTR and conversion rates. </li></ul><ul><li>Launch new ads and a copy of the old ad at the same time. </li></ul><ul><li>Use Google Website Optimizer to test landing pages, not ad versions. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Invalid A/B Testing <ul><li>Ad (A) was running a long time </li></ul><ul><li>New ad (B) is the same except domain name is capitalized </li></ul><ul><li>Statistically valid CTRs: </li></ul>Which ad is better? Unsure, due to QS effects Data has been anonymized 0.77% B - www.DomainName.com 1.01% A - www.domainname.com
  14. 14. Changing Display URLs <ul><li>Display URLs matter. If you change them, you may pay more for the same ad position. </li></ul><ul><li>Should some changes inherit the QS of the original ad? Is Google collecting a QS tax on minor changes? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Launching New Accounts <ul><li>What’s the best way to launch a new account? </li></ul><ul><li>Many theories, but no silver bullets. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Cautious Launch Strategy <ul><li>Pick best five landing pages </li></ul><ul><li>Create tightly focused ad groups </li></ul><ul><li>Cover branded and niche terms with the highest CTRs </li></ul><ul><li>Favor KW with QS 7+ </li></ul><ul><li>Incrementally build the account </li></ul>
  17. 17. Self-Managed Accounts <ul><li>Poorly managed accounts develop a bad QS, to the point that ads won’t run, or costs may be extreme. </li></ul><ul><li>Google reps have provided “unofficial” advice to close QS-impaired accounts and start over. </li></ul>
  18. 18. QS Crash and Burn <ul><li>Startup tries PPC </li></ul><ul><li>Generic KW like graduation and jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Unclear value proposition </li></ul><ul><li>Content-poor website fails to engage </li></ul><ul><li>Very low CTRs </li></ul><ul><li>Suggested bids rise to $5+ </li></ul><ul><li>Advice: rethink business plan </li></ul>
  19. 19. Should QS be Bought and Sold? <ul><li>QS is a valuable asset. What if an agency runs client campaigns in its own account? </li></ul><ul><li>Google doesn’t allow selling of PageRank. Should they allow selling of QS? </li></ul><ul><li>What if a client needs to set up a new account? Should QS be portable? </li></ul>
  20. 20. $20,000/month PPC Account <ul><li>Client is working with a major SEM firm </li></ul><ul><li>SEM firm runs client ads in firm’s account </li></ul><ul><li>They part ways </li></ul><ul><li>SEM firm gives client an AdWords Editor Backup file </li></ul><ul><li>Client sets up a new account </li></ul><ul><li>What happened to their QS? </li></ul>
  21. 21. QS adds Hair to PPC Management <ul><li>Quality score introduces hysteresis : the system has memory. </li></ul><ul><li>Hysteresis complicates statistical analysis. Must look at the entire history, not only recent states. </li></ul><ul><li>May take time for a system to converge on a result after changes. </li></ul>
  22. 22. CTR and Avg. Position It’s hard to understand the correlation between CTR and ad rank due to multiple causes and effects.
  23. 23. All Changes are Bad™ <ul><li>A client recently said, “All changes are bad. Whenever we make changes, results are worse.” </li></ul><ul><li>What to do with a sub-optimal account running well enough? Restructuring may depress results until the quality score converges . </li></ul>
  24. 24. QS and Innovation <ul><li>QS often favors incumbent keywords, ads and advertisers over newcomers. </li></ul><ul><li>Does QS discourage innovation? </li></ul>
  25. 25. An Advertiser’s Wishlist <ul><li>Provide better disclosure of how QS affects costs. </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a policy on the selling and portability of QS. </li></ul><ul><li>Offer a sandbox for A/B testing that avoids QS complexity. </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>Jonathan Hochman </li></ul><ul><li>For Questions or Comments </li></ul><ul><li>Contact Us Today! </li></ul><ul><li>www.HochmanConsultants.com </li></ul>Sponsored Links