Every advertiser wants the top position on the Google search results page, organic or paid. Why? It gets the most traffic! In this blog post I will cover how you can systematically improve Quality Score and secure an unfair competitive advantage when buying clicks from Google.
First, how does Google decide which ads are placed in position 1 (and how they rank ads 2 and beyond). Google does not publish exactly how the do ad rank, but they give us very strong indications and lots of industry research support the following baseline:
Quality Score: 70%
Site speed, bounce rate, etc: 10%
So, if Quality Score is the main driver what can we do to influence it? This is a complex maze of variables that goes way beyond the traditional A/B testing of ad copy. I like to think about it as an ecosystem that drives revenues for Google. Here is an illustration to make the point without considering the manual work of A/B testing ad copy:
The decision that is made for each of these points will impact Ad Rank, and if Ad Rank is primarily driven by Quality Score, and if Quality Score is primarily driven by Click Through Rates (CTR); then each of the variables below CTR influences CTR and therefore Quality Score and Ad Rank.
Collectively each of these variables contribute to Ad Position and each of them is part of a click profile that is established every time a prospective customer hits/clicks enter in the search box.
Example 1: Building this profile can be fully automated where each of these variables is anchored to a keyword and the associated Quality Score, where using the performance data to build a unique click profile that predicts the value of that unique click and leverages that in the bid to maximize Ad Rank.
Example 2: Creating a data model from your campaign structure you can among other main benefit create absolute separation of match types (note: A broad match + tag of your keyword still gives Google the choice of serving up that keyword as Exact, Phrased, or Broad +) which gives you more accurate performance data. Combine this with an Exact match strategy where you auto-generate an Exact match keyword from any conversion from Phrased, Broad or Broad+ you will over time buy an increasingly higher percentage of Exact match clicks and benefit from higher conversion rate -> higher bid -> higher position -> higher CTR -> higher quality score -> higher ad rank...creating an automated loop that drives quality score, amplified by all the additional variables in the list above.
When approaching performance opportunities (or challenges) the ability to address them programmatically is a game changer and why we will see massive diversion of performance between those who are stuck with bidding engines and spreadsheet vs those who apply a holistic and programmatic approach.