December 18, 2020

$100K Worth of Pageviews: A Google Adwords Quality Score Case Study:

According to Google:

Because we believe that better ads are a good thing for everyone, the Google Ads system is set up to identify and reward quality ads. High-quality ads can give you a higher Ad Rank and lead to other potential benefits, including:

  • Lower costs-per-click
  • Better ad positions
  • Eligibility for ad extensions and other ad formats

The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how a Google Quality Score can affect Cost Per Click. Other factors on the effectiveness of SEM optimization were excluded. That being said, one of the landing pages collected 200 email addresses per day. All materials included in this study use the same demographics, the same keywords, and the same landing pages. This case study is a real-life example of when I managed to reduce the Cost Per Click just by increasing a landing pages’ Quality Score. Below is a comparison between two Adwords budgets of almost the same size on the same website. The average cost per click from February to May is $.94 while the average cost per click from August to October is $.05. In this scenario, I was able to increase web traffic by over 20x while using the same budget and keywords. The on-page changes that were made increased our Quality Score from 2/10 to 8/10.

February - May 31, 2015 Average CPC is $.94

August - October 31 2015 Average CPC is $.05

The Google Quality Score for any landing page is based on three factors. Those factors are Expected clickthrough rate, Ad relevance, and Landing page experience. Using the keyword planner, I determined a series of on-brand keywords that would result in massive amounts of traffic. Using those keywords, I designed two contests and wrote the copy for each landing page while keeping SEM in mind. These contests are where the vast majority of the web traffic went to. The goals of the contests were to collect email addresses and to gain organic exposure. In order to meet the requirements from Google to increase our Quality Score, I directed the web team to make changes to the website.

Landing page experience is probably the most important part of any website. Landing pages should be designed with user-friendliness in mind. Pagespeed is an important factor in determining the Landing page experience. We made our landing pages faster by removing scripts and unnecessary elements that affect how fast the page speed loads – while still remaining well designed. We had to ask ourselves what we absolutely needed on the website. Realizing that this was an unreasonable ask of the entire website, we ended up only making dramatic changes to the pages that were being served in Google Ads. Some of the suggestions on what needed to be changed can be found through the Google PageSpeed Tool. Also, there is no harm in increasing your page speed, Amazon discovered that for every 100ms above 2 seconds that their page takes to load, it costs their company %1 in revenue. So 1 second = -10% in revenue.

View the usable web archive version here

Having a high Expected Click Through Ratio can be tricky. Click Through Ratio is the ratio between the number of times an ad is shown versus the number of times an ad is clicked. A higher Click Through Ratio would suggest that your ad is resonating with the audience it’s being advertised to, that the Ad being served is relevant. For this scenario, I created hundreds of variants of copy for the Ads within the campaign. Using A/B testing, the most effective ads gradually rose to the top and I paused the ineffective ones. The difference in Click Through Ratio varied from 3% to 15%.

The next factor in defining quality score is Ad Relevance. Ad Relevance is essentially the relationship between the keywords within an AdGroup, the relationship between the keywords and the landing page, and the relationship between the keywords and the ads that you’re displaying. To increase Ad Relevance, I had to clean up the AdGroups to make sure that the keywords within the AdGroup were related to each other. I then wrote SEM optimized copy with our keywords in mind, which was edited by executive staff. Then I directed the web team to include keywords in the landing pages Meta-data, Alt-Text, and URL. This required some backend changes. Also, every graphic on the website was renamed with the keyword in the title and alt attributes, a common tactic with SEM and SEO optimization in mind.

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