Well into the first quarter of 2015, the frenzy of the holidays is all but forgotten. Shoppers and retailers alike have returned to their normal routine. There is one lesson, however, that retailers shouldn’t forget from 2014. Shopping habits appear to be making a strong shift from the storefront to the World Wide Web.
While this past year’s in-store Black Friday numbers disappointed some analysts, online shoppers have spent more than $42 billion during the peak holiday season for an increase of 15% over the previous year. A sea change in shopping behavior is afoot. Purchases are moving from brick-and-mortar stores to handheld devices, establishing the mobile browser as a crucial point-of-purchase front. This has digital marketing execs looking with fresh eyes at their paid search performance.
But what should they be examining? The answer is Google’s Quality Score. There’s a Quality Score for every keyword in a retailer’s AdWords account, and it estimates the quality of a retailer’s digital ads and landing pages triggered by that keyword. Having a high Quality Score means that Google’s systems think an ad and landing page are relevant and useful to searchers viewing the ad.
Google isn’t just looking at bid size when selecting keyword-specific ads. For the benefit of searchers and ad publishers, Google wants the highest quality ads to appear rather than high-paying, poorly targeted ads. That’s one reason relevance indicators such as Quality Score are pertinent to a great ad placement. These measures are critical to beating out thousands of similar bids for the choicest spots on Google.
Here are three reasons managing Quality Score should be a critical component of your paid search campaign:
- Make the Cut – As a baseline, Quality Score is one measure Google uses to get the most relevant content in front of searchers. A poor grade could mean fewer eyes see your ad. For cutthroat keywords, a low score could mean no one sees your ad at all. To justify your program, keeping your Quality Score above a minimum threshold is a must.
- Spend Less, Get Better Placements – Not only is Quality Score a benchmark for ad eligibility, but high scores slash CPC and first-page placement estimates. The thrifty can get more out of their digital marketing budget by improving the Quality Score of ad-related content. This is everything from the offer on your landing page to the ad copy itself. Every piece of the conversion puzzle is worth improving if you want to get the most out of paid search.
- Compete With Ease – At an auction, the way Google assigns ads to a specific search, Quality Score is a key determining factor for which ads appear where on the page. Google tracks searcher behavior with every single query. If a curious searcher clicks on your ad and converts on your landing page, it weighs in your favor through the Quality Score Google assigns. The constant measurement means your score will change over time with searcher behavior. No passive paid search managers will attain first-rate ad placements on desirable keywords. The reward to the diligent, however, is better representation on Google than competitors.
As purchase behavior wanders deeper onto the web, marketers cannot afford to fall behind. If your digital marketing metrics need help, you are not alone. Many marketers are still relying on an outdated last-click attribution model. Many are spending, but not optimizing their paid search campaigns. Get on track and educate yourself by reading our Google Quality Score and attribution modeling methods blog posts.