AdWords Keyword Quality Score Shakeup

For the last few weeks, AdWords advertisers have enjoyed seeing higher than usual keyword Quality Scores. Since we’ve been tracking those hourly for the last couple of months, we’ve been able to closely monitor this development. The following chart sums it up nicely:

Average Keyword Quality Scores, November 2012

Included are the average visible Quality Scores of about 1,600 keywords from three of our clients. As you can see, the increases in keyword Quality Scores started in the morning of November 6th. In one account there was a sudden jump between seven and eight in the morning. The other two accounts saw gradual increases over 23 hours.

All times in the chart are local German time, so you’d have to subtract nine hours to get to pacific time – looks like the increases happend outside of Google’s office hours.

However nice it is to see high Quality Scores, nothing has actually changed. CPC’s didn’t budge, same, impression counts remained unchanged, and average positions didn’t change either.

In my opinion, this is just one more example of how little keyword Quality Scores actually matter. But even though almost everyone knows that this metric is completely different from what Google uses in the actual ad auction, the myth of the little number from 1-10 playing a role with CPC’s and ad positions remains strong.

So far, the only significant improvement after the keyword Quality Score increases was with advertisers’ spirits. My impression is that the higher visible Quality Scores did a better job of spreading joy among advertisers than many real performance improvements ever did. This might be a good time to rethink KPI’s…

(Cross posted from our German Blog)