Secret to a Lower CPA, Higher Conversion Rate, and Ultimate Beach Body

by | Mar 10, 2016 | PPC

by Natalie Eagling, AIM.

Adwords Quality ScoreRecently we discussed how Google had removed right-hand ads for good. And that led us to question what exactly that would mean for advertisers now? Were our ads less likely to show? Would CPA’s increase? Would our organic results suffer due to the decreased organic real estate?

And the biggest question of all; how will all of this affect conversions?

This change has further reinforced Google’s goal to put the user’s experience first. Even when it comes to which ads they see. If you’re a poor quality advertiser in Google’s eyes, delivering a poor user experience, it’s now even harder to get to the top spot (realistically, we should all be shooting for positions 1-4 now).

What can you do to be seen as a great advertiser, without paying through the nose for the privilege?

Unless you are prepared to pay for it, reaching positions 1-4 is a little more tricky now. But not impossible.

The solution is actually staring you in the face: Adwords Quality Score

This often-ignored magic number could be the secret to getting to the top of the SERP while retaining – or decreasing – your CPA.

Let’s backtrack a little first…

What is AdWords Quality Score?

PPC expert Brad Geddes sums up Adwords Quality Score brilliantly:

“Quality Score: It’s a 1-10 number in your account for every single keyword that is essentially Google’s opinion of how relevant a word will be to the searcher. Its main factors are click-through rate, relevance and landing page. The higher the quality score, the higher your position and the lower your CPC.

Ad Rank, which is where your ad shows up on a search result, is quality score X max CPC. So if you want to raise your rank, you could either raise your CPC or raise your quality score.”

“Quality Score is Google’s way to reward good behavior and punish bad behavior from advertisers. And the rewards and punishments are significant: higher positions and/or lower CPC’s for high Quality Score keywords and the opposite for low Quality Score keywords.”

I’ll repeat, for those taking a snooze: if you want your ads to appear higher up on the page, you can either increase your bids (which will increase your CPA) or increase your Quality Score… I know which one I would choose.

Ok, it’s kind of important. So what should I aim for?

Quality Score used to primarily be about weeding out the policy breakers. A lower score said to Google “this advertiser is not worthy of showing up for this keyword. And if he wants to, he’s going to have to pay for it.”

But since AdWords has kind of got off its high horse (and got rid of a lot of bad advertisers) it’s now much more about… well… quality. That’s ad relevance, landing page relevance, quality, and experience.

There has also been a change to the way Google gives your keywords a Quality Score. You are effectively innocent until proven guilty. You’ll get a 6 automatically when you add a new keyword, and then from there, Google waits for up to 100 impressions before giving you a ‘real’ Quality Score. This tells us that Google is treating a 6 as a mid-way point between bad and good.

So, the lucky number to keep in mind and to shoot for, is 7. Better than the average.

So how do I reach a 7 – or higher?

The answer is pretty simple. Increase your CTR.

If you are focusing on increasing CTR, everything else should fall into place. You can make a big, and immediate impact by following these steps on your worst offending AdGroups (that is most likely those with a lot of impressions and very low click-through rate):

4 Steps to Achieving a Higher Adwords Quality Score and Lower CPA:

1. Create niche AdGroups

Ensure that AdGroups are very niche; they should be super-focused with 10-15 (and at a very maximum, 30) keywords all tightly grouped around the same topic.

2. Focus your ads

Now that your keywords are organized in very tight, focused groups, do the same with your ads. Try and get the main keyword for that group into the headlines of your ads. Use just two or three ads per AdGroup, don’t spread the traffic too thinly. Remember: we are trying to achieve a higher CTR. What will compel your audience to click your ad?

3. Create ultra-specific landing pages

This bit really isn’t a secret, and Google makes it very simple for us here by saying very clearly: “Make sure your landing page is directly relevant to your ad text and keyword.” That might mean that landing page headlines and subheadings (at the very least) are altered to reflect the Keywords you’ve used.

4. Don’t waste money (or damage your CTR) with irrelevant searches

Use the power of negative keywords to really refine what your ad is showing for. Regularly and aggressively mining the searches which result in your ad showing – even if they are not wasting your money by clicking – is vital. Since we are increasing our CTR we cannot ignore impressions.

Remember: when it comes to improving click-through rate (and ultimately Quality Score), impressions do have a cost. You may not be paying directly for them, but you are paying for these dead impressions every time you pay for a click. The more impressions you get which don’t turn into a click, the lower your Quality Score will be, and the higher your CPC is.

Here is a handy infographic which does a great job of describing what Quality Score is, and how to rectify it.

The Beach Body Part?

Well, once you are focused on increasing your Adwords Quality Score, your campaigns will be far more efficient. That means you’ll spend less time crying at your desk about the inexplicably high CPA, and have more time to spend perfecting your beach body in the gym… Taadaah! (You’re welcome.)

Natalie Eagling
Natalie Eagling,
Account Manager, AIM

P.S. Have questions or want to increase your Adwords quality score? We can definitely help you with that. Just get in touch. (But we can’t help with the beach body. You’re on your own there…)