Thursday, 15 February 2007

AdWords: More Quality Score Changes

The official AdWords blog yesterday posted a message outlining two new changes that are going to be taking place over the next few days.

New Quality Score Column

The first change, which was first mentioned a while ago, is that there is soon going to be a new column in the AdWords interface. This column will display the minimum bid required for each keyword as well as a description of each keyword as "great," "OK," or "poor."

Quality Changes

The second change is that the quality score algorithm is being refined again. In theory, this change is supposed to encourage high quality ads and discourage low quality ads. This change essentially has two parts to it: the way the minimum bid is calculated and the actual quality score algorithm.

According to Google, these changes should result in some keywords having lower minimum bids and other ads having higher minimums.


I am glad to see that Google have responded to their users' requests for more transparency regarding the quality score. However, having a simple 3-value scale is hardly transparent, but at least it's better than nothing!

As far as the algorithm changes are concerned, it's hard to predict at this point whether these changes will really be for the better. Personally, I don't think that Google has any means of accurately assessing the quality of many keywords and their "narrow targeting" approach is not always, in my opinion, the optimal means of advertising in some niches.

I can only hope, however, that these changes quell some of the outcry against high minimum bids for campaigns that, at face value anyway, appear to be well optimized and targeted.

I have to admit, I've lost some faith in the whole Quality Score mechanism, which is worrying given that Yahoo are introducing a similar methodology. I wait with bated breath to see the results of these latest changes.

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