[ Updated Jan 18, 2023 ]
How can you tell if your Google Ads are performing well?
Google uses a metric called ‘quality score’ to decide how often people see your ads and how much it’ll cost you. By combining the quality score with other key metrics like click-through rate (CTR) and cost-per-click (CPC), you can better predict your campaigns’ performance and improve your ads.
Over the years, the quality score has influenced how we create ads and what landing pages look like. The current best practices are largely based on how they affect this metric. With Google implementing constant changes on its ads platform, it’s important to consider the quality score, especially if you have a small budget.
We’ll be looking at the different components of the Google Ads quality score and how to improve it depending on which component is underperforming.
We even included a handy Google Data Studio dashboard template to help you analyze and keep track of your quality score.
What is the Google Ads quality score?
The quality score is a metric Google uses to measure the relevance of your keywords, ads, and landing pages to your audience.
Your score can affect how many people see your ads (impressions), whether your ads show first in Google (ad position), and how much you’re spending (CPC).
Google uses three components to determine quality score:
- Ad relevance
- Expected CTR
- Landing page experience
You can view this metric and all three components in two ways: current value and historically. The historical quality score is an average of all past values. Since our connector reports the historical quality score, we included a chart over time in our dashboard template so you can understand if your score is improving.
Where can you find the quality score in Google Ads?
Quality score isn’t a metric that appears automatically in the Google Ads report columns. So let’s see how to find it in your Ads account.
When you log in to your Google Ads account, go to your ‘Keywords → Search Keywords’ view on the left menu. On the right, click ‘Columns → Modify Columns’. You’ll find the quality score metrics at the bottom of the list. You can add the score and all three components as current or historical values.
Luckily, we put together an easy dashboard, so you don’t have to worry about adding these to your Google Ads account.
Pro tip. You can only see the quality score in the Keywords view in Google Ads. With the Supermetrics Google Ads connector, you can see the quality score by other dimensions, like campaign and ad group as well as keyword text.
How can you improve your quality score?
Now, what’s the point of tracking your ads’ quality score if you’re not planning on doing anything to improve it? Depending on the component you want to improve, there are a few things you can try out.
Keep in mind that changes you make that affect the expected CTR and ad relevance may show results in as little as a week, but changes to the landing page experience might take weeks or even months to show in your quality score.
What can you do to improve your ad relevance?
Ad relevance is simply how close your keyword relates to the ad it shows. Since you can have many keywords showing many different ads, some might be more relevant than others.
The first thing you want to do is split your campaign between well-performing keywords and the ones with a below-average relevance. It’s better to have smaller ad groups so you can target your ad copy better.
Then rewrite your ads to make sure you answer the question the person has.
You can change a few elements: headline, punctuation, call to action (CTA), and your main value proposition.
Pro tip. Add negative keywords, so your ads don’t show to irrelevant searches.
What can you do to improve your expected CTR?
CTR is the percentage of people who viewed your ad and then clicked on it.
Expected CTR is only a prediction of your CTR based on how well your keyword has performed in the past.
The main thing to change is the clarity of your ad.
Make sure it’s obvious what people are clicking on, that the ad answers their search intent, and what the clear benefit is to them.
You can also make changes to your bidding strategy.
Pro tip. You should compare your expected CTR to your actual CTR and conversion rate to decide if you want to make changes that affect the expected CTR. If you’re happy with your ads’ actual performance, then this component might not be the one to focus on.
What can you do to improve your landing page experience?
What makes a good website? According to Google, a good website is relevant, original, transparent, and navigatable, which is how they determine the landing page experience.
Again. Does it answer the question being asked by the searcher? If the answer is yes, then look at more technical aspects, like load time or how it appears on a mobile screen.
When optimizing your landing page, ask yourself these questions:
- Does it answer the right question?
- Is the content original?
- Is it clear and honest?
- Is the design easy to navigate?
Landing page experience takes the longest to give results but is probably the most valuable in the long run.
Pro tip. You can use your conversion rate as an indicator of whether your page answers the four questions above.
How to use the Google Ads quality score Data Studio dashboard
We put together a Google Data Studio dashboard so you can keep track of your ads’ quality score.
Here’s a little secret: Google’s own Data Studio connector doesn’t have historical quality score details as a metric.
Make sure to connect with the Supermetrics for Data Studio Google Ads connector when copying your dashboard.
Now, let’s look at what’s in the dashboard.
Although Google has the quality score as a numerical value, ad relevance, landing page experience, and expected CTR are only reported as below, above, or average compared to other ads. We split up the metrics so you can quickly see which one to prioritize.
We also added a comparison chart so you can see if you’ve improved. The date range filter labeled with ‘Compare’ will apply to the whole report, while the comparison filter only affects these overview charts.
Pro tip. Google takes some time to learn when changes are made. Make sure your date range filter covers a long enough period to see change. If you’ve made changes affecting expected CTR or ad relevance, a week or so might be enough, but landing page changes might take weeks or even months to see improvement. It all depends on your click volume.
Next, we included a table of your ad campaign performance. You’ll see each campaign’s historical quality score along with the current average CTR and CPC. You can filter the table by the predicted CTR categories—below, above, or average performance—or all combined.
You can decide whether you’re happy with a certain campaign’s performance or if you should act on the quality score components. As you can see, the average CPC goes up as the quality score goes down.
Pro tip. If you’re happy with your average CTR and CPC, the return on time spent optimizing your quality score might not be worth it. Prioritize the campaigns that aren’t performing well and use the quality score components to direct what to change.
We also added a chart so you can see the overall performance of your keywords over time. You’ll see the same metrics as above: historical quality score, current average CTR, and CPC. You can filter them by individual keywords.
Pro tip. If you have many keywords, feel free to change the control field filter to campaign name or ad group name instead of keyword text.
The last two tables show your best and worst-performing keywords according to the quality score. You can filter them by campaign name.
This view gives you a better idea of which keywords might not be the best fit for your ads.
Pro tip. Split your keywords into two campaigns: one for the best and one for the worst keywords. This will help you find out what’s up with your lower-performing keywords and optimize them accordingly without affecting your best keywords.
Getting started with the template
If you’d like to try out the template, here’s how you can do that.
First, open the Google Ads Quality Score—by Supermetrics template.
Then click ‘Use template’ in the top right corner.
Next, under the ‘New data source’ field, click the drop-down menu and choose ‘Create new data source’.
In the connector gallery, search for a connector called ‘Google Ads’.
Next, complete the two-step authorization and give Supermetrics all necessary permissions.
By authorizing your account for the first time, you’ll start a 14-day free trial of Supermetrics for Data Studio.
You should choose the accounts you want to get data from and the settings you need in the next window.
Now, click ‘Add to report’ → ‘Copy report’.
And that’s it. Your Google Ads Quality Score dashboard is ready to use.
This is just the beginning. Once you get the hang of Google Data Studio and Supermetrics, feel free to add any dimensions or metrics to your report.
You can also combine your ad data with data from different sources to gain a complete picture of your marketing activities.
If you have any questions about the template, let us know.
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