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Friday, December 01, 2006

AdWords Content vs Search Quality Score Confusion

I've been working with Google AdWords since December 2002. I had been using Overture (since acquired by Yahoo and renamed Yahoo Search Marketing) prior to that. When Google brought AdWords to market, they introduced a new way to rank PPC (pay per click) ads, looking at both the CPC (cost per click) bid and the CTR (click through rate). This was a useful innovation. Now, small business could compete with big business. Since ads weren't ranked strictly by highest bid, small advertisers could outrank big advertisers by writing higher quality ads. This also turned out to be a better solution for search engine users, since ads became more relevant to their searches. Now, though, I think Google is over-innovating and is causing confusion with their notion of QS (Quality Score). Unlike CTR, QS is not a value that advertisers can see in the AdWords interface. It's hidden. There's even some conjecture that it doesn't really exist (see AdWords QS is BS as an example). First, Google introduced QS for search ads. Now, they've introduced QS for content ads. This is causing some confusion, which Google is attempting to address.

Let's suppose QS (Quality Score) really does exist. If that's the case, why doesn't Google display it as a column in the AdWords interface, much like CTR? Just like CTR, it does apply to individual keywords, so for each keyword why can't advertisers see the keyword's QS? From this Google AdWords help page:
For the search network, this placement is defined by your keyword's Quality Score and maximum CPC bid. The Quality Score used in this case differs slightly from the keyword Quality Score used to determine your ad's minimum CPC bid requirement.
So, each keyword has a QS. Why is this invisible? This help text also confuses the matter. It seems to indicate there are actually two Quality Scores for search ads: a QS for ad ranking and a different QS to determine the minCPC. Now, with the introduction of QS for content, there's a third QS value??!! From this help page:
For the content network, we don't use a keyword's Quality Score to set quality-based minimum cost-per-click (CPC) bids. Instead, we evaluate all keywords within the Ad Group and match your ad to pages across the content network. However, we do use a keyword's Quality Score to rank your ads and position them on network pages. Your keyword's Quality Score is based on the relevance of the ad and keywords to a content site, your ad's performance history on the site and similar sites, and the quality of your ad's landing page.
This is getting confusing. Are there really three different Quality Scores? Plus, for the content network, this is contextual advertising where Google matches the content of a publisher's page using AdSense with the keywords in an AdWords advertiser's ad group. How could content QS be set at the keyword level? Their algorithm matches a whole collection of keywords against a web page. This content QS is just as confusing, then, as the two values for search QS.

With these confusing QS changes, are advertisers going to shift their ad dollars to Yahoo Search Marketing or even Microsoft adCenter? I don't think it's likely in the short term since advertisers need to display ads where their potential customers search. Google continues to command the largest share of the search engine market. However, as Yahoo generates some buzz due to their search engine advertising platform upgrade and search engine improvements, does Google need to reconsider these landing page Quality Score changes?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank u for ur reply. I know about this method, and if the point that i need to center is (200, 1213)



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