Online advertising, especially PPC (pay per click) campaigns are becoming increasingly popular for businesses that want to leverage the internet for greater profits. PPC campaigns are considered to very focused and user targeted, and provide great control in customer targeting and ROI measurement. However, starting a PPC campaign for your business is not a simple matter of opening an AdWords account, start bidding away on keywords, and then wait for the results. There are a number of preliminary steps involved, ensuring the quality of PPC campaign being the foremost among them.
What is Quality Score?
Quality score, or more precisely, keyword quality score is a metric used by different ad networks such as Google, MSN and Yahoo (each one may have a different term for it , e.g., Google calls it Quality Score, while Yahoo calls it Quality Index) to determine the position of the ad and its actual CPC. The ad networks use a number of factors to calculate the quality score of a keyword. Quality score is assigned to each and every keyword chosen by an advertiser. The ad networks are obviously very tight lipped about the exact formula used to calculate the quality score, though they take great pains to explain the factors that may affect the score.
Why is Quality Score Important?
Obviously, the top position for the PPC ads displayed by the networks is not exclusively related to the bidding amount quoted by the advertiser, as this would ensure the highest place to the highest bidder. A number of other factors are also considered to determine the placement of ads, and what every click would cost for the advertiser. These factors are the variables which determine the quality score, which can be understood as a report card for a keyword. The better the quality score, the higher the ad would be placed, and at a lower CPC (Cost Per Click). It is possible that an ad at a higher position may be bidding less, and even paying less for every click, as compared to ads placed lower.
Quality scores not only determine the ad placements and CPC, they also determine whether a campaign will actually get off the ground at all or not. If the keywords targeted by you fail to attain a minimum quality score, your campaign will not take off at all.
Factors Affecting Quality Score
The following factors affect the quality score in online advertising campaigns -
- CTR, or the Click Through Rate of the keyword chosen- on a historical basis. Better the CTR, higher the quality score.
- Previous account history of the advertiser (in case of search network ads), being directly proportional to the historical CTR.
- CTR of the display URL in the ad, again measured on a historical basis.
- Relevance of the ad copy to the keyword selected.
- Quality of landing pages
- Load time of the landing pages.
- The performance of the ad account in the targeted geographical areas.
You can take a number of steps while designing your ad campaigns to improve the quality score of your keywords and ads. These include -
- Split the chosen keywords into a number of small groups, and run a separate campaign for each group.
- Ensure to include the keyword in the display URL, the ad copy and the ad title.
- In the matching options while determining keywords, use exact match option, rather than broad match or phrase match.
- Include the keywords targeted into the copy of the landing page.
- Use the targeted keywords in the meta tags and title tags of the landing page.
- Test a number of different landing pages to determine the best conversion rate.
If you are an advertiser who is looking to run an advertising campaign by using the PPC option, it is imperative to understand the dynamics behind quality score, the factors that affect the quality score, and how to achieve a good quality score. This knowledge will help to save costs and improve ROI for your ad campaigns.