Visible Quality Scores are Similar to TBPR!

By jameszol
Published on January 16, 2008

The advertisement I created as an example in my post about creating dynamic landing pages has proven to be a mini-curiosity…what I mean by mini-curiosity is that I don’t really have enough data to truly make a factual statement but I have enough data to hypothesize a little bit and feel fairly confident that the hypothesis is true. So, this mini-curiosity is simply a hypothesis that I hope rings true for you.

I believe the Quality Scores that are visible to us in AdWords are only there to give us a vague idea of keyword relevancy to everything else – which is nothing new. Perhaps the new part is that I think REAL Quality Scores are dynamic and change EVERY TIME a search query is performed – they just don’t change visibly every time a query is performed.

I created an AdWords ad group/keyword called homestar poopsmith. I only put one broadly matched keyword in the ad group and the ad group title was identical to the keyword…After testing the dynamic landing page, I was excited to note that the otherwise highly irrelevant term had a Great Quality Score and a minimum cpc of 4 cents.

The quality score minimum cpc stayed at 4 cents but I noticed my click costs bouncing around – here is the time line and screen shots of the click costs vs. the search term that displayed the advertisement (click screen shots to zoom in):

January 5, 2008

Click cost and Quality Score

Search Query

I don’t know if there is a real difference between using the %20 or the + as a space when Analytics captures this information but apparently it could matter in terms of what your click costs will be.

The click cost for Jan. 5 was 4 cents – awesome! :)

January 8, 2008

Click cost and Quality Score

Search Query

Here we see the + representing a space and click cost quadrupled to 17 cents per click on Jan. 8.

January 10, 2008

Click cost and Quality Score

Search Query

We see the same query again although I believe the top keyword query in the image above is from the Google Search Network so Analytics did not or could not pick up the exact query…cost per click was only 14 cents on Jan. 10.

January 11, 2008

Click cost and Quality Score

Search Query

This is a prime example of broad match – strongbad poopsmith was searched, our ad made an impression and received a click that cost 45 cents on Jan 11.

January 15, 2008

Click cost and Quality Score

Search Query

We payed 44 cents per click on Jan 15 – this looks like it came from the Google Search Network so we can’t be sure if the keyword query was an exact match or not.

January 16, 2008

Click cost and Quality Score

Search Query

None available in Analytics at the time of this publishing but that click was from my own search to see where the cost would be today for the exact term homestar poopsmith.

Cost per click so far on January 16 is 15 cents…for the exact keyword that we are advertising broadly on.

I thought this was unique and I haven’t seen a large discrepancy in broad match click costs before – we started with a 4 cent click and at times we were 10+ times that original click cost while the Quality Score stayed the same!

I assumed that it was simply a broadly matched term that can make an ad or adgroup have a variety of costs per click on the that term – and that was semi-confirmed by an AdWords rep that I chatted with about this curiosity. Here is what the rep said about it – and I agree with her:

Me: The keyword in question is broadly matched so the more expensive clicks are most likely relative to the match type.
Would that make sense? So if the match is very broad, it could cost a little more due to real time quality scoring/relevancy?

AdWords Rep: Well, indirectly it could cost more (or vary more) because someone could be searching for a keyword that is not exactly the keyword in question, but similar enough that your ad could appear, and thus could appear with other ads.

Me: That makes sense.

AdWords Rep: For example, if your broad match keyword is ‘bike,’ which normally appears with no other ads, and someone searches ‘bikes’ and see your ads, they may see other ads as well which could affect the cost.

While I knew that ad serving and positioning is dynamic, I didn’t quite make the connection that Quality Scores are dynamic too.

If that is the true, then the Visible Quality Score is similar to Visible (Tool Bar) PageRank – it really doesn’t mean anything. It is simply a visible indicator that can give you a vague idea of how relevant your keywords are. I guess there might be one catch – the Quality Score I am talking about is specific to Broad Match type keywords…at least as far as my very small, limited test is concerned.

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4 Responses to “Visible Quality Scores are Similar to TBPR!”

  1. The Adventures of PPC Hero - Heroic Feats of Pay Per Click Management : Blog News Round Up – 1/23/2008 says:

    [...] broad match keyword for several days in AdWords, James at semvironment made the realization that Quality Score is real-time. This discovery led him to postulate that the visible Quality Score within your campaigns is really [...]

  2. Elizabeth (1 comments.) says:

    Very interesting test results. Extra points for the Homestarrunner usage.

  3. Advertiser competition affects quality score says:

    [...] response to this well written post by semvironment “Visible Quality Scores are Similar to TBPR!“, I would like to clear up a couple of factors in his equation that nullify his findings. [...]

  4. [...] I hypothesized about quality scores being dynamic back in January 2008…I haven’t noticed and I don’t expect to see any abnormal [...]

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