Ads in a Quality Score World

Aug 20, 2007 - 4:31 pm 0 by

Session Overview: More and more, ranking well in paid search listings is less about how much you pay and more about the "quality" of your ad campaign. But what goes into making up your quality score? In this panel, a closer look at quality factors and tips on increasing the perceived relevancy of your campaigns.

Moderator: * Danny Sullivan, Conference Co-Chair, Search Engine Strategies San Jose

Speakers: * Jonathan Mendez, Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, OTTO Digital * Brian Boland, Group Marketing Manager, Microsoft ad Center * David Pann, Vice President, Marketplace Design and Matching, Yahoo! Search Marketing * Clay Bavor, Product Manager, Ads Quality, Google * Andrew Goodman, Principal, Page Zero Media

Danny It used to be you paid enough money and you got ranked and traffic. The world has changed and these folks are here to help us understand it.

Andrew Goodman - Quality Based Bidding - "Take a deep breath" - What's the fuss? -- I want to pay .20 for a term and Google says my quality is poor. -- Let's look at tips to dig out of quality score hole - Don't assume "small fry" are disadvantaged. - History lesson - Three generations of Paid Search -- GoTo - pure bid for placement. -- Adwords 2.0 - Various approaches based on CTR - Got rid of blanket ads -- Adwords 2.5: Quality Based Bidding - Added relevancy factors - keywords, ad copy, landing pages. - Smuggled - feels there are editorial rules buried in formulas - Yahoo now following suit with Panama - When it was rolled out advertisers began to panic -- Client complained about issues: - Bids were cranked up to try and offset the issues -- Case Study - Quality suffered and ads dropped - Checked the basic - landing pages and ad-bot blockages - Found a pop-up, which is a no-no. - Normal is OK - For most campaigns Quality Scores will not have much impact. -- Very few deactivated keywords in a 428 keyword campaigns - How it all works -- Two Scores - One affects minimum bid - One affects ad rank -- But, now we have 2 types of quality - There to catch bad guys using "hypercritical"' assessment of the web site - Human factors added in to rate the score - coders looking and adding to algorithms. - Ads on irrelevant keywords take you to free iPod offer…deception..submitting forms and collecting data…this is the stuff Google hates.Actually, ad quality has improved - Advertisers are now getting their true rank and other are being blocked

How to climb out of Quality purgatory - Case Study -- Transition from old to new site - bought clicks to offset transition. -- Set aside budget to buy traffic -- Ended up in purgatory - Google advised - New ads, new terms. -- Tips on improving scores from Google - Add more specific terms - Add quality content -- Saw several small up-ticks in campaign -- Overall campaign improved over several weeks with care and feeding. Observations - There Appears to be an account wide history - Questions for Google - will overall account history play a role? Answer seems to be yes, but seeks to understand how influential. - Advice - Don't pocket the difference - arbitrage is bad. Arbitrage is natural but don't push the envelope. Google has made it very hard for you to push that envelope

Quality Strategy - CTR is still the anchor - Test your ads - New landing pages - more granular, more content - Contact your account rep if you have questions - Establish an account history

Brad Geddes Quality scores are ambiguous, will break down how to improve it. Things not to worry about when looking at your quality score - Conversion rate, - Affect on content network

Quality score determines ad placement and cost. You can bid lower than competition and have a higher ad rank.

Quality Score * CPC = Rank for your ad Quality score may be a better optimization than CPC.

What can affect quality score? - Bid - Ad -copy - Landing page

Don't get lost in - but dig into CTR

Several score go into the quality ranking - Keyword Quality Score for Search -- CTR, ad-copy and other factors - Content Score -- CTR -- Ad copy -- Landing Pages Other relevancy factors

Are you bidding higher than your minimum bid. You can be below the min bid and still appear on the content network

Account Quality Score - Determines min bids for new keywords - Determined by combo of all keyword quality scores in the account - Basis for removing underperforming keywords

A Quality Score column is nice on Adwords reports but doesn't provide info on landing pages. Google is changing this and will have some tests soon.

Achieving the Premium Position - Quality Score -- Meeting Min Factors - CPC CTR

Ad Group Organization - Does the ad reflect the intent? - Does the copy reflect the ad group them? - Use ad group organization to theme the ads. Tight themes within ad groups.

The ad is a bridge between the query and your landing page. Does the ad show the user what they will find?

Landing Page Quality - Can you be spidered - if you block the bot - no score - Is it flash - flash can't be spidered - Does page have unique content and is it relevant?

Next Steps Keyword Report - include min bid and ad group and look for patterns. Sort by minimum bid to spot trends and issues.

Fixing - Reorganize the groups - Test the copy - write several and test - Test landing pages - re-write landing pages, test them - Change landing page content.

How to tell where the problem is? - High Min Bid - your landing page is a problem - Low Min Bid - ad copy and relevancy

Emphasize the following - Most important is ad group organization - Write several ads and test them - Ads need to reflect the intent of the user - Relationship between ad copy and landing page - Optimize the search experience and the quality score will follow

Jonathan Mendes Quality scores are intended to deliver relevance to user. It's about the use experience.

Quality score is opaque and difficult to manage to. Urges marketers to "Ignore the score." Manage to metrics and results. Use your data to deliver experience

Users tell us what they need. Our job is to understand their intent.

Users have three goals: - Primary Goal - Item - Secondary Goal - more specific - color - Latent Goal - style of detail of search

In this funnel the ads are the meat of the relevance sandwich - Ad delivery Segmentation Targeting/match type - Ad Creativity - First impression and persuasion inherent in ads

Root and Stem Relevance in ad groups Example root "retirement" - stems are savings, planning, information, planning. The stems make this a poor ad group because of the variety of ads that need to be created

Match type may reinforce the query on landing page. Review the match type in your results.

Ran same ad for 30 branded keywords…landed traffic on home page - Did not drive incremental traffic with the ads - But the ads created huge bumps in conversion - Revenue per visitor went up

Ads have power to persuade and drive relevance - that needs to be delivered on the landing page. If landing page is not included your have "optimized irrelevance" Optimization and relevance must be looked at holistically

What determines relevance? Keyword insertion versus strong title - strong title doubled conversion.

Creative messages persuade and create CTR and conversion rate Ignore the score - think holistically - think user goals and intentions and your score will follow.

Clay Bavor Clay spends his time on quality based bidding system - boils down to making sure users love their ads. Solid user experience benefits everyone.

Quality Score driven by how users interact with the ads - CTR - do users click? - Landing Page - is it relevant? - As an advertiser - are you good (fly

Focus on the user experience and make sure your ads and pages are relevant. Focus on user experience and all other things will follow.

Brian Boland MSN has high quality users and high converting traffic. Why is quality important?" - MSN believed in advertisers, engines and publishers. - Help users get where they're going quicker Ad quality has gotten better over the last year since quality scores have been used.

Engines should be driving better traffic that is more qualified to advertisers. As advertisers, "you" find diamonds in the rough and want quality traffic.

David Pann His team at Yahoo! runs matching rankings and pricing algorithms.

What is the biggest impact on quality scores? Bad Keywords The biggest gain - landing page testing

Yahoo had been improving quality based advertising since launch. Trying to drive quality to the user and page placement. Overall relevance of the page. Determines quality ad and experience.

They are planning for full warning of changes and how to optimize for capabilities.

Q and A Q - With the changes in Quality Score algorithm in each engine, I'd like to know what to expect to see in the future A - David - Drive as much user feedback into everything we do. Advertiser experience - offers, landing pages and account history. Make sure it's fair - new or old advertisers. New advertisers will get "air time" to set up and test their ads and pages. Algorithms are learning, crunching data.

Q - If you have keywords in an ad group that are not performing, should they be left or taken out? Could the one impression be the million dollar deal? A - Yahoo - take it out and separate ad groups. Create a new group to test it as it may be hurting you score. A - MSN - Take it out. A - Google - No downside to breaking up ad groups around relevancy. Nice to have an overall high quality ad group. A - Andrew - If there are no impressions there's no reason for the keyword to appear. A - Brad - look at why the keyword doesn't have impressions - first figure that out and change or remove. A - Jonathan - relevance takes work and time. You have to test in the dynamic marketplace.

Q - Can you comment on how frequently Quality Score is recalculated and what it's based on. A - Google - changes by account and keyword. Updated as new keyword data comes in - "Fairly real time". Lag time with landing page quality. A - Yahoo - Look at volume and compare an ad before is served. Some real time aspect to it as well. A - MSN - So many pieces ad up so it's hard to answer and it's always changing. Will be evolving constantly over the next few years. A - Google - Shining Light in a Black Box - "Keyword Analysis Page" breakdown of quality score, keywords, landing pages and timing of Quality Score updates.

Q - Can MSN & Yahoo talk about reports or metrics we can use? A - MSN - Working toward transparency features look into why an account page or keyword is perceived a certain way. A - Yahoo - Notification of low quality index with recommendations is launching in 2 weeks. Proactive stance on what went wrong and how to fix it.

Q - Please expand on the quality score ranking changes for the top position? A - Google - Determine top results ads in the past by looking at auction CPC and Quality Score (Quality Score heavyweight). If your ad matches, you become eligible. Instead, they'll look at max CPC because some auctions do not have enough auctions CPC to force someone into the top spot. One benefit is that you will get a shot at the top and still just pay the auction CPC. Pool becomes larger for top placement and uses Quality Score as a drive

Q - What are MSN & Yahoo doing to make it easier to manage ad and ad groups? A - MSN - Have heard this before - very soon changes that will improve the management of campaigns for big and little guys. Promises scale to manage campaigns and ad groups. Q2 - It's hard to do unless I hire a third party of buy a power tool. A2 - MSN - Our DNA is as a software company and we are looking at software centric solutions to solve this. A - Yahoo - In a week or two will introduce tools for editing across ad groups and review keyword across the market and competition to help build better campaigns.

Q - Does flash have anything to do with quality score? A - Flash & SEO don't work together so you have to build an underbelly - review Google quality score guidelines for how to create the underbelly.

Q - Can you tell us some of the failures in Quality Score? A - Yahoo - Learned over last 6 months - wasn't benefitting brand advertisers and they've improved that. Trying to present the best offer based on what we've learned. A - MSN - Spent time reviewing rep feedback and others to evaluate and make changes. Some arbitrage sites weren't actually arbitrage and built logic in the Quality Score algorithm to restore these accounts. A - Google - Element of human review to landing page Quality Score - wants to make sure they're getting it right. More important to not impact the good guys than to catch the bad guys. Element of manual review to check the algorithm and adjust as needed. A2 - Yahoo - Editorial staff looking at ads and pages feeding the algorithm engineers. People do thousands of queries and establish ratings in order to drive that back into the algorithms. It's a hit and miss game.

Q - Do Quality Score algorithms have barriers to entry and how do existing positions impact my launch? A - Google - 3%CTR in top spot is very different from 3% in eighth and it's taken

Q - Does the account impact all the way through? Good client account in MCC will that be an impact? Landing page quality? Can client A affect client B in my Master Account? A - MSN - Uses account in quality ranking. Look at account as a whole. Customer account history will not impact through your master account or MCC. A - Google - A/B test. Landing page content bot is smart enough to know you're testing. Q2 - Vague but centered on copy behind flash and whether it is acceptable and how it will be perceived by the Quality-bot A2 - Google - Strongly urge testing and everything will be ok.

Q - If my keywords, ads and page are relevant and I'm still paying too much how do I get it fixed? A - Google - Reach out to support.

Q - Will we be penalized if a keyword or group of keywords can be used across various niches if the landing pages are similar? A - Google - So long as landing page is relevant, everything should be fine. It won't be a duplicate content situation.

Informal study (hand raisers) of which engine has the best quality score proved inconclusive.

Provided by Steve Krull of the Krull Group.


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