We’ve all done it before – googled something, liked the first search result, clicked on it… only to land on a page that was completely off.
As a consumer, this process happens so quickly that we don’t even pay attention to what just happened – we just search again.
As an advertiser paying for Adwords ads, mistakes like the above cost dearly.
To understand the problem, lets break down the search process in Adwords.
The Anatomy of a Search
- User types in a search query
- Query triggers Ad Accounts that have bought relevant keywords
- Advertiser shows ad based on keyword bought
- User clicks on ad and is taken to a landing page
Each of these four elements should be directly relevant to each other – with the ultimate ideal world scenario that the final step (the landing page) will be exactly what was intended in the first step (the user’s search query).
We call this concept, having a straight ‘Line of Sight’.
Google measures Line of Sight on a scale of 1 to 10 for every single keyword in your account in a metric called ‘Quality Score’, QS.
- A Straight Line of Sight gets a QS between 7 and 10
- A Bent Line of Sight (irrelevant ad/landing page) gets a QS between 4 and 6
- A Broken Line of Sight (eg. page missing or slow) gets a QS between 0 and 3
The Adwords algorithm then rewards Advertisers who are able to consistently keep straight Lines of Sight (ie. QS of 7+) and penalises everyone else.
This means that exceptional advertisers, for the same keywords can have their ads rank higher than competitors *and* pay less for the privilege – a virtuous cycle upwards of relevant ads for consumers and cheaper advertising costs for advertisers.
The flip side is also true – poor advertisers are penalised with lower rankings and costlier ads – an unsustainable downward spiral over the long term.
Exceptional Adwords advertisers who understand the algorithm realise they can’t send the same message to everyone – but instead, must do the hard work and send thousands of individualised messages (ads) to the thousands of individualised segments (user’s search queries) otherwise be penalised.
Yet again, we are incentivised to deliver the Best for the Least for the Most.