Show Notes:

If ever Google AdWords had a magical ingredient that needed understanding it is “Quality Score”.

What most people don’t realise is the direct relationship your Quality Scores have on your profits.

Join us for this chat about what Quality Score means to your account, how to analyse it, and most importantly, how to master it.

And who better to discuss the inner workings of Google AdWords Quality Score, than the founder of the hugely successful pay per click Twitter community #PPCChat, regular conference speaker, and Director of Paid Search at Exclusive Concepts Matt Umbro.

Matt was also named by as one of the top 10 people worldwide that you need to follow to learn more about the ins and outs of PPC.

Matt’s blog is a thoroughly recommended resource for PPC topics.

You can connect with Matt on Twitter @Matt_Umbro or email him on [matt AT]


Philip:          Welcome to another episode of the Online Marketing Secrets Podcasts where we interview only the world’s best online marketing experts.  Today I have an awesome Pay Per Click guest.  He is Matt Umbro and he’s risen up through the ranks and he’s pretty popular online these days after founding a Twitter stream called #PPC Chat.  So welcome to the show Matt.

Mathew:     Thank you Philip, thanks for having me.

Philip:          Can you give us a little bit of background – how you got into the wonderful world of Pay Per Click?

Mathew:     Absolutely.  So, I graduated from college in 2007 from the University of New Hampshire and I interviewed at a web design agency for an SEM position.  I was going to be doing some SEO, PPC but mostly entry level stuff.  So I was hired and for about a year, I worked on a team doing mostly SEO and PPC.

It was during that time that I really found an affinity for Pay Per Click marketing and really determined that’s where I want to go with my career.  So over the course of the next couple of years, I really focused down the PPC track and I started blogging through the

I started reading all the industry blogs and I got on Twitter, started connecting with all of the industry specialists such as Melissa Mackey, Joseph Kerschbaum, Jon Lee, all folks I would consider great minds in the industry.

And then what happened was, early last year of 2011, I was interested in really bringing together the PPC community and sharing all of our insights.

So I put out a feeler for PPC Chat and it went well and we’ve been doing PPC Chat for about a year and a half now.  It’s been going great and last year I moved on to a company in Berlington , Massachussettes, Exclusive Concepts where I’m now the director or Paid Search.

Philip:          Cool and what is it that you love about Pay Per Click?

Mathew:     Sure, that’s a great question.  You know, I really love how Pay Per Click is people who are trying to find you.  So you can own a keyword, they search for it and you give them an ad and a landing page experience that’s right for them.

It’s different from a traditional media such as banner advertising or print advertising, television advertising.  People are searching for you and it’s your job to get them to convert.

So I just find it so fascinating and I love to write so certainly writing creative copy is awesome and I like the analytical part of it too where finding click through rates, conversion rates, finding that optimum mix.

And really, it’s just something that peaked my interest and everything going additional to product listing ads to remarketing.  It’s just fantastic and I love doing it.

Philip:          And how would you compare Pay Per Click to SEO?  You said you’ve done a fair bit of that in the past as well.  How do you see the two strategies fitting in together and any particular reason why you selected PPC over SEO?

Mathew:     Sure.  SEO, to be honest is foreign to me.  When I did it, I understood the principles of it and I did a decent job but, to be honest, I just didn’t have the attention and fondness for it that I do with PPC.

I think with SEO you have to wait a while before you start seeing results whereas with PPC, it’s instantaneous.  With SEO, you do something and you  don’t necessarily know it’s going to work for a while whereas again with PPC, you can see reach results immediately.

It’s just so much more results driven and specially at a place like Exclusive Concepts where we track revenue down to the keyword level, I feel it’s so much more trackable.  It’s not to say that SEO isn’t but again I really love the fact that PPC can be done so instantaneously.

Once you make a page, you can instantaneously see if it’s working or not.

Philip:          Yeah, fully agree.  I mean, we do a lot of Google Adwords.  In Australia, Google is essentially a monopoly.  It’s got 95% market share so we don’t work across three search engines like I imagine you do most of the time.  But the speed is incredible, the speed with which you get new leads into a client’s business is just phenomenal and constant.  It’s always just blown me away with that.

Mathew:     Yeah and another thing I love about PPC is that it’s so innovative.  There are so many updates all the time.  I mean you look at just the last month, there’s a new image.  There’s at least search ad format and the Google shopping update.

There’s just always so much going on with PPC and you’re always learning and I love that challenge being able to stay on top of things and really show clients great results based on the newest updates and great items within our industry.

Philip:          An interesting question I think is when you think PPC doesn’t work for a business?  Any types of businesses that you think is not really the killer strategy, any areas where you see it fail?

Mathew:     Yeah, a couple of areas.  One, I feel very niche sites don’t always do well with PPC.  What I mean by niche sites is sites that either sell or advertise a product that someone necessarily doesn’t even know exists.

I once worked with a company who – they were looking for people to record video greetings – to record audio greetings and you could save these greetings in a data bank and your loved ones could hear them and access them for the rest of their lives.

Something like that, the site was great, the idea was great but people weren’t looking for it and the keywords we had to bid on were generic in nature.  They did great in traffic but didn’t convert.  So in that sense it’s tough for niche industries to do well with PPC.

That’s not to say they can’t but in my experience when it’s either new or innovative product like that, it’s tough to break in to the market but again, that’s something too with SEO and other forms of advertising will take some work too.

The second area where PPC doesn’t work is much more easier to realize and that’s when a site isn’t optimized and it has a poor user experience and the conversion process is very diluted.  No matter how much money you have or how many people working on the PPC account, if your site isn’t good and not meant for users, then PPC isn’t going to work.

Philip:          Agreed.  The analogy I use with Clients is that it’s – if you’re going to pour water into a bucket with lots of holes in it then you’re not going to go try and get more water, you’re going to plug the holes first.

Mathew:     Absolutely and you can keep throwing money and money into PPC but really, I kind of designate PPC as two parts.  You have the pre click and the post click.

By pre click I do include the clicks in that which may seem a little weird but – pre clicks activity are your clicks, impressions, click through rates, what happens to get people to click those ads whereas your post click is your conversions, your conversion rate and getting people to ultimately buy on your site or generate leads on your site.

That’s really the area where PPC is most important is that post click.  Definitely the pre click area is extremely important but if post click isn’t working then PPC overall isn’t going to work.

Philip:          Yeah absolutely, because I think whatever the industry or an area that is really difficult to make work is mainly because of the post click stuff and the persuasion that’s on your website.

Areas where there is a huge amount of trust, say a financial adviser, unless there’s massive amounts of trust on the site, I think it’s quite challenging to generate leads and for those businesses most of the leads come in through word of mouth because that’s how trust is most easily transferred.

Mathew:     And at Exclusive Concepts we work with several eCommerce clients where it’s important that they have secure trust sites on their sites such as The Shopping Cart has been verified and they are a member of or they are a B2B accredited business.  Trust symbols like that go a long way.

Philip:          Absolutely.  So let’s get back to the PPC Chat hash tag which is a Twitter stream.  For people that may be not too familiar with Twitter, can you explain that?

Mathew:     Sure.  So, what we do with PPC Chat on Twitter is essentially we’ve created a hash tag called PPC Chat that you can follow.  So the way I follow it is I use a program called Tweet Chat and that’s just Tweet

What I do is I type in that hash tag and now I’m only going to see tweets related to PPC Chat.  So that’s really the technical part of it.  What PPC chat is that every Tuesday afternoon from Noon to 1PM on the east coast we discuss different topics.

These topics differ from, range from the more practical such as text tag writing, keyword bidding, match types to the more theoretical, how do you manage your timing in PPC, speaking to clients.

So really there’s a wide gambit of topics we go over in PPC Chat and for an hour each week, I ask the questions and moderate the chat and people answer the questions and we get great answers so we get great debate going on which leads to further questions and further analysis and then throughout the week, people use that hash tag to ask questions to one another, to announce new web pages that they see. The ads in the wild example where the post screen shots of the PPC ad formats they may see.

People will ask technical and theoretical questions during the week and they’ll share a blog post.  So the PPC Chat hash tag is really a way to bring the community together and make sure we’re all sharing knowledge.

Philip:          It’s a really interesting concept.  I think for me it’s the first community that I’ve got involved with through Twitter.  Most times hash tags for me have been once off at conferences.  Have you seen this work well anywhere before?

Mathew:     You know that’s the interesting part.  I first went on to Twitter about three years ago.  I was one of those people, to be honest with you, before I got on Twitter was very skeptical of it.  I didn’t think I would use it or I didn’t think I would find value in it.  But boy,was I proven wrong.  I really love being on Twitter.

I certainly understand about the conferences.  One of the other reasons for starting PPC Chat was because I saw other chats like SEO Chat and Blog Chat and I realized that PPC didn’t have that hash tag.  So let’s try and create something and see what happens.

Honestly, I didn’t expect it to take off like it did.  I’m really happy to be a part of the community who’s helped to make it as big as it is today and special thanks to James Svoboda and Paul Kragthorpe of Web Ranking in Minessota.

They have really been there since day 1 to help out and make PPC Chat what it is.  With them reigning the stream caps and their guidance along the way, they really helped make PPC chat what it is today.

Philip:          So listeners can go to the and have a bit of a look as to the previous chat streams.  One of the down sides of being in Australia for this community is that you guys have it at a very awkward hour for us.  I think it’s the early hours of the morning so I haven’t really participated live and I usually catch up after the event.

Mathew:     Yeah we have our own stream caps for every chat on the site and like you said, at, you can see every question and everyone’s answer that was on the chat.  You can see a complete list of participants in each week’s chat and you can also see resources that are given out during the course of the chat.  You know, we’ll have to have you on Philip one time.  Maybe we’ll have to do a special time so you can sleep well.

Philip:          Or maybe I shouldn’t be so lazy and just get up.  Yeah, it’s a great community.  In fact last time I was in the US for a conference, couple of people had actually mentioned it to me and said to get on it, so it’s great.  How has it affected your credibility within the industry?

I mean the fact that we are speaking, I invited you on this show because of that stream.  I know you’ve been invited to various other conferences.  I know you’re a regular speaker.  How has it affected your credibility?

Mathew:     Yeah, that’s a good question.  I do think it has helped.  Again, the main reason for doing PPC Chat and blogging in general and really trying to become someone in the industry that people can look to for answers.

All that stuff is really great but at the end of the day, I am trying to be a part of that community and to share what I have.  You know, the accolades or speaking at conferences and being interviewed on your show are certainly great and I am extremely appreciative of all that.

But I think too I have to thank the community for really embracing PPC Chat and embracing what I have to offer.  I try to make a difference, I try to share new ideas but the community at the end of the day has really allowed that to happen.

The accolades are nice but I do thank the community for their willingness to take on PPC Chat.

Philip:          Cool, I think there’s – for listeners to the show, there’s a lot of lessons in that people can apply to their own industry, have a look at what Matt’s done with PPC Chat hash tag.  There’s probably a space within your industry to become involved in the community and I think the benefits just happen naturally.

Mathew:     Yeah, I was able to speak at the inaugural Hero conference in April over at Indianapolis, Indiana and I had a great time there.  It was actually pretty interesting because a bunch of us from PPC Chat met each other for the first time and we all recognize each other from our avatars.

It’s kind of cool to meet everyone and it was really – it felt like we already knew each other and it was a really cool time getting together and meeting everyone.  That’s a benefit of it too.

You feel like you have these online friends that are now friends that you’ve definitely met and, if nothing else, can talk PPC with.

Philip:          Absolutely, absolutely.  Excellent.  Well, let’s move on to the main topic that we’re going to speak about today and that’s Quality Score.  So let’s start at the very beginning.

For people that don’t know much about Quality Score or haven’t heard about it, they’re managing their own Google Adwords campaigns or Pay Per Click campaigns, can you give us a bit of a definition as to what Quality Score is?

Mathew:     Absolutely.  I’ll preface this with – this is probably isn’t Google’s exact definition if you go to their Help Centre but I’ll give you the definition as I see Quality Score.

Quality Score really to me is a measure of how relevant your Adwords campaign is.  When I say relevant, I mean, how relevant your keywords are to the ads that visitors see.  And in turn, how relevant your Landing Pages are to those ads that visitors click.

So Quality Score really measures that factor and it’s measured on the scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the most relevant.  In other words, if I type in red basketball shoes, I see an ad that speaks directly to the red basketball shoes.

I click that ad, I go to a landing page that has nothing but red basketball shoes.  And then it goes to the opposite end of the Quality Score of a 1 or 2 where there is hardly any relevance.

Someone types in red basketball shoes and there’s an ad for blue sweaters and the landing page has nothing to do with red basketball shoes at all.

And really, quality score, comes down to making sure you have a well structured account where all of your campaigns are deemed around very specific ad groups with very specific keywords and your ad copy is extremely relevant to each ad group.

So you have a red basketball shoes ad group, green basketball shoes ad group and the ads speak to each of those different colored basketball shoes.

So really to me, quality score is a measure of how relevant your overall Adwords account is.

Philip:          Okay, that’s a good explanation, I agree, yes, it’s all about relevancy.  That’s the number one thing.  Where can we actually see this number?

Mathew:     So if you go on to the Adwords interface and you go to the keywords tab, you’ll actually have to add the column if it’s not there already.  Google can be a little tricky by not defaulting it to show there but you just have to customize the columns and add the quality score option.

Philip:          Excellent.  So it is a little annoying that they hide it by default.  It’s such a – we’re going to talk about why it’s such a critical number, a critical factor in your account success but it is a little bit surprising and I guess from Google’s perspective they’re trying to simplify the interface as much as possible.  I think they tend to overlook – you know how important quality score is.  I know from training many clients that most people do overlook quality score.

Mathew:     Well, it’s interesting because Google put such an emphasis on quality score and really the big thing with quality score is the better your quality scores are the less you’re going to pay for your keywords which ultimately, at the end of the day, is what we all want to do.

Philip:          That’s right and that’s the missing link.  Like quality score, to me, sounds and I think to most people it sounds like it’s a quality factor.  You don’t think quality score and immediately think dollars in the bank.  When you hear the term quality score, you don’t immediately think that this has a cost impact on what you’re doing.  It sounds like it’s some sort of nice quality rating somehow and I don’t think people make that link to better quality scores to lower cost.

Mathew:     Exactly, which is extremely important to make because ultimately quality score is going to determine or is one of the big determinants of how successful your campaign can be.  Quality score isn’t the be all, end all.

In other words, if I have a keyword that has a quality score of one but it has a conversion rate of say, 30%, I’m not going to pause or delete that keyword.

However, quality score is a big factor that you have to take into account as you are building your campaigns.  The way I see it too is if you’re building a structurally sound Adwords account, again with your very themed campaigns, ad groups and keywords and very specific ad copy with extremely relevant landing pages, then 99% of the time, the quality score will take care of itself.

If you’re doing that, then your quality scores will overall be pretty good.  Again there are those examples where quality score is low even though your ad or your keyword does relate to your ad and the ad for the landing page.  But in general if you’re creating structurally sound accounts, then you will see good quality scores.

Philip:          So let’s talk a little bit about how exactly it effects your cost per click?

Mathew:     Cost per click in terms of getting it lower?

Philip:          Well, yes, if you and I are competing against each other – you’ve got a 4, I’ve got a 10.  What impact is that going to have on our cost per clicks?

Mathew:     Sure.  So, if you have the quality score 4 and I have a quality score of 10 and we’re bidding the same.  Say we’re each bidding $2 on that keyword, my end will show higher because my quality score is higher and that’s really a case too where he who bids the most doesn’t always get the top position because that particular count is better optimized and is more relevant throughout the ad will even though we’re bidding the same amount, I will end up paying less in the long run because the quality score is higher whereas for that same keyword, you might pay higher and you’re going to be lower on the page because your account isn’t as well optimized.

Philip:          Exactly, yes.  So the important thing for me that I explain to clients, quality score is relative to your competitors.  If they are twice as good as you, you could potentially be paying – if their quality scores are twice as high so their twice as relevant, you could be paying twice as much as them to get into that same position.

Mathew:     Absolutely.

Philip:          And that’s the killer for me, that’s the message that whatever these numbers are, if you’re looking at your quality scores and you’ve got lots of fours and fives, you could be thinking, well, if my competitors are 8, 9 and 10, you probably should be assuming that.  You know that you’re essentially paying significant premium for your low quality scores.

Mathew:     And that’s really what we talked about earlier too in terms of throwing money at the problem.  In that case we talked about bad sites and just throwing more money at PPC but in this case, it’s very similar.

If you keep throwing money at PPC but you’re not working to improve your quality scores, then your account is going to suffer. When we talk about improving your quality scores, of course, we talk about relevance but some of the most important factors that Google uses to determine quality score is, one – the historical click through rate of your keywords.

So, again, that’s why striving to get your click through rate up because that is a major component of quality score.  Two – the overall account history you have.  How long have you been around?  How long have your keywords been running and what kind of click through rate historically have you seen?

Again, going back to the overall click through rate factor.  Of course we talk about keywords to ads to landing pages, all important factors in making that quality score higher.

Philip:          We’ll get into a little bit more detail to show the – also wanted to emphasize the point that it’s not just about – just the cost of click.  A lot of beginners think that the more you pay, the higher up that list you go.  And sort of, that is the case but it takes into account your quality score before it works out where you’re going to be in the rankings of those ads.

Mathew:     Yeah absolutely.  It’s interesting because I kind of equate – I’m a big baseball fan and I kind of equate PPC sometimes to the smaller market and bigger market teams.

One of the questions I get asked the most from clients is, how can I compete with the target, the Walmarts and the Best Buys the world and have endless fun and that’s sort of the baseball example with the have and have nots with, you know, you have the smaller market teams competing against the big guys like the Yankees.

And my answer is always, yes, they do have all the money and they can bid on a lot of terms and bid extremely competitively on a lot of terms but when it comes to creating a solid account structure, you guys are both on the same grounds.

Philip:          Absolutely.

Mathew:     Exactly.  The smaller guy can create a sound account structure then the great quality scores will come and in the long run, that smaller guy will be able to compete with the bigger guy even on some of these more competitive terms and ultimately, hopefully pass the bigger guy and get a much better click through rate.

Philp:           Yeah, I fully agree.  I just say with this, the only difference with the smaller guys is you just can’t afford to make too many mistakes.  You may not have the deep pockets that the bigger guys have but you should be able to compete at least on a level playing field and I’d say probably better because you’re going to be more focused on what you’re doing and create really tight relevant ad groups for your campaigns.

Mathew:     Yeah and I think, Philip, the thing is too in an ideal world, we’d all have unlimited budget, that would be great but that’s not the case and whether you’re managing a million dollar budget or a $10,000 budget or a $100 budget.

It’s about making smart moves while running your PPC campaign and just going back to making sure your bidding on the most relevant keywords.

Philip:          That’s right.  You made a very good in the beginning that quality score is a really important number but it’s not the most important number.  The only thing that really matters is are you making money from Adwords or from Pay Per Click.

Mathew:     And again too, that’s why if I have a keyword that has a quality score of two, yeah, it’s showing me a 30% conversion rate and $5 cost per conversion, I’m not going to pause it just because by definition, it’s not a relevant keyword according to Google.

Again at the end of the day, Google is in our system and they’re using an algorithm to calculate this quality score but on my end, I’m seeing leads come through and I’m seeing money made off as keywords.

So if it is performing well then of course, I’ll keep trying to improve that quality score but I’m going to keep that term.

Philip:          Exactly right.  And I think another way of looking at it assuming you are profitable with your Adwords, quality score is going to give indication of what’s requires work in your account, what needs attention.  At the end of the day, you’ve got hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of keywords.  You need to focus on the worse performing areas, you need to fix those and you need to tweak the high performing areas.

Mathew:     Absolutely.  Going back to just overall account optimization, spend the money where it’s most profitable and you’re seeing the best results.

Philip:          We said that you can view quality scores by customizing the columns in the keyword tab.  We can also see it in the column that’s called status under your Adwords console and if you hover over the little bubble there, it will actually tell you what your quality score is on that keyword and recently it now breaks it down to sort of three elements.

Can you talk through those and what you think of this recent change because it’s started to give you a little bit of analysis now as to why you got a quality score out as five out of ten or whatever it is.

Mathew:     Sure, and with these specific areas, it’s off the top of my head now, but I believe that landing page relevance, ad relevance and keyword relevance but please correct me if I’m wrong.

Philip:          Yeah, you’re right, you’re right.  It’s ad relevance, landing page experience and expected click through rate is the wording that they use.

Mathew:     Perfect, thank you, sorry, not in front of the Adwords interface right now but I think these areas certainly help.  They do give advertisers a bit more clarity in terms of what they can approve on and they say, average, below average, above average.

It gives a little more clarity but again, I always go back to making sure my campaigns are as structurally sound as possible and I use those items as a guideline but if I know my campaigns are segmented as finely as they can be, then I’m looking for those items to be – I’ll be above average and show me good quality scores.

Again, they provide granularity and they provide some knowledge that can help but we want to remember as well that it’s not a way to kind of be persistent.  Still a matter of making sure your account is optimally creative.

Philip:          Yeah agreed.  I find, I don’t know, these – the way they break it down and give you the above average, average, below average type, there is not massive amount of value.  Sometimes if you have some problems we can get into a little bit more detail but to be honest, I don’t find it an absolute killer function to be honest.

Mathew:     It’s a nice effort by Google to try and give a little bit more granularity.  I think people like you and me don’t necessarily see much more value in it but it does help advertisers gain a glimpse of what Google is looking at and does help when they look at the overall account, make sure that they’re doing the right tactics.

Philip:          So what sort of focus do you think people should have on quality scores over a period of time because when you log into your account, you only see quality scores at that point in time.  You can’t actually get any historical quality score data.

I’m not sure if that’s going to come at some point from Google.  How do you think clients and customers should manage their overall quality scores?

Mathew:     It’s certainly important to look at over time and if you can chart your quality score over time and apparently there isn’t any way to do that with an Adwords that I know of but aside from day by day or week by week, putting on a excel doc what the quality score is for that particular keyword.

But I know I keep harping on this Philip but it’s quality score, I think the high quality scores are going to be there as long as you’re crafting your campaign the right way and being extremely, extremely segmented and ultra specific and I’m talking about if you have a campaign around.

Let’s talk about Batman because that’s coming out in a few days.  If you have a campaign around Batman T-shirts.  I’m talking about you create ad groups around the Dark Knight T-shirts, you create an ad group around Dark Night Rises T-shirts, you create an ad group just around general Batman T-shirts and so forth.  And you put appropriate negatives in these ad groups so you’re ensuring that the right ads show up.

When I lay out a foundation like that, that really shows how because you’re taking the effort to segment these campaigns so finely and you have such granular ad groups, keywords can only be derivatives of those terms what you want.

The Dark Knight Rises ad group, you’re going to have just keywords that have Dark Knight Rises in them.  And they’re going to be so specific that by definition, you should be getting quality scores for them and if you don’t get quality scores right away, then you will over time.

In fact a lot of the time, once you add your keywords to an account it does take, I found, an hour to before quality scores catch up per say.  So for example if I had a keyword that has a quality score of four, I might check in a couple of hours and it will go up to a quality score of seven.

Philip:          Because initially it’s just an estimate and then it gets updated with your real data and revises it, right?

Mathew:     Exactly and the important thing to do there and Google has said this is too, bid a little higher out at the gate at some of these terms and then over the course, whether it be day or weeks, slowly go down on your bid and make sure that you’re in the position you desire.  Quality score, it’s going to be there if you do things right.

Philip:          Yeah.  That’s interesting, your point just now.  I’ve heard conflicting opinions on that whether you should bid higher to get a high click through rate to get high quality scores.  Google have told me and I’ve heard from a couple of people that your quality score is normalised by your ad position.  So if you actually are bidding in position 6, your quality score will reflect that lower click through rate.

Mathew:     Right.  I think it’s a fine line.  Generally when I first add keywords to an account, I do bid up a bit higher than I normally would and then even, again, days, weeks, I’ll go in and lower the bids.

If I’m seeing that with my higher bid then my position is average 1.5 per say, then I’ll go in and lower the bid so I’ll be within the top three.  If I big higher and the position is still averaging in the fourth position, then I’ll continue to bid even higher if that keyword is extremely relevant to my business and I know will make me money.

So it is a fine line but generally I do like to bid a little bit higher right out of the gate.

Philip:          What do you think of the strategy in a new account of only bidding on your branded terms?  Do branded terms generally get a high click through rate and then build up a much higher quality score at an account level from Google’s perspective because it’s all on the branded terms and then over a period of weeks, roll out the other ad groups.

Mathew:     That’s an interesting point.  Generally whenever I take over a campaign, one of the first things I do is create those branded campaigns and I’ll have those running well and creating other campaigns.  I don’t necessarily do that per say to improve the overall click through rate of the account and to boost the quality score.

But more so to start to gather some data and even though it is on the brand terms, start to see what the volume is like and start to test some ad extensions.  So I understand the point and it’s certainly something that I know I do and a lot of advertisers do but I don’t necessarily believe that it’s critical in making sure that you get off with a good basis of your quality score in the account.

Philip:          We were talking just now about managing your quality score numbers.  We found when we take over a problem account, that it’s worthwhile to monitor your quality scores over a period of months until you’ve made significant improvements, then we generally tend to focus more around conversion rates and ROI and click through rates and that sort of thing.

What we have found pretty useful is exporting all the keyword data for a period into excel and then using pivot tables to understand where you’re spending your money on a range of quality scores.  Sorry, in fact, where you are incurring impressions on each level of quality score.  That’s a really fast way to crunch data.  Don’t know if you guys use pivot data as well.

Mathew:     I love pivot tables.  They are certainly a great tool for PPC specialists out there and with pivot tables as well, to further add on to your point Philip, it’s a great way to easily grab cost per conversions, conversion rates and number of conversions for these keywords and these poor quality score areas.

With the quality score certainly that’s a great area to focus on when you’re first taking over an account.  Either pausing those keywords that are having a poor quality score or really updating those campaigns first to get those quality scores up because you know, you do have the history in the account and you do want to make use of that but you want to make sure that it’s going towards the positive route working to get that quality score up.

Using the pivot table to find that data and making adjustments there is definitely beneficial.

Philip:          What’s your view on taking over a horrendous account with quality scores and just – one of those accounts where you go, Oh my God.  And deciding to start a brand new Google Adwords account, essentially sending traffic to the same domain name and any benefit in doing that?

The reason for that is because I’ve heard mixed answers to this.  The latest one I’ve heard again from Google is that there’s no benefit in doing that at all because it’s the exact same domain and Google essentially will pass the credibility of that previous bad credibility from the old account to the new account because of the same domain.

Mathew:     Yeah, that’s a good point.  I think it depends is really the answer.  I mean I’ve done it both ways.  One of the great things about starting a new account is really you start fresh and I understand what you’re saying about potentially that domain being, for lack or a better term, blacklisted.

I haven’t really found that when I start a new account based off of a domain name that’s already done PPC before.  I don’t really find quality scores being hurt from the previous account.

In that case, I think creating a new account is fine if the previous account was just dead because of poor quality scores throughout.  However, I think that’s very rare too that an account is really deemed dead because of poor quality scores through the whole thing.

I found that even with accounts that have extremely poor quality scores, by pausing those keywords and in some cases even deleting them and creating brand new campaigns within that same account, I’ve seen these account rebound and really be profitable and these keywords bring in a lot of leads.

I think either way, you can do – I think it also depends on some other factors as well whether you want to start anew account and really start clean or if you just want to keep building within the current account and pause the rest of the campaigns.

Philip:          So Google have an account level quality score that we really don’t have access to but it’s fair to assume it’s a roll up of all the little things and all the keywords within the account.

That will take into account a fair bit of history within your account.  So when you create a new ad group, it will look at your account level quality score and give you quality scores based on that.

There’s a lot of debate around it as to how much data, how many weeks of data or months of data Google will actually take into account.  So if you’re looking to turn over a bad account, potentially how quickly can you do it.  What are your thoughts?

Mathew:     I think – again it depends.  I found in my experience that new campaigns in existing accounts that has gotten over all poor quality score in the account, it can take some time but – I’ve seen a range of a week to a month really.

Some campaigns can pick up just like that and other campaigns, it takes about a month or two before they get on their feet again and can really start to show results.  Again, it really depends on what Google is deeming that overall account quality score and then moving on from there.

Philip:          So I think the message for listeners, people managing their own accounts is to have faith, keep doing best practice, things will pick up.

Mathew:     I definitely agree with that.  Really, the fundamentals of PPC are always going to be the core and that’s why they are the fundamentals of PPC and that’s why if you are doing things the way they should be done, then you will naturally see quality scores improve.

Any great PPC campaign will show better results here over a year.  if I start a campaign today, if I run a campaign for a month – if I run a campaign in August and I see a $100 cost per conversion and then August 2013, I see that date and the cost per conversion is $50, it’s pretty safe to assume that quality score improved during that time because that cost per conversion did decrease.

Granted all things being equal but it’s really important to make sure that you take these fundamentals into place and you create tightly themed campaigns with very segmented ad groups and keywords and write extremely relevant copy because that’s how at the end of the day you’re going to get your quality scores to increase.

Philip:          Beautiful.  So you’re heavily involved with the industry, you see a lot of different topics, you chat to a lot of people about their challenges and what’s coming up in Adwords, what people want to see, what do you think we’ll be talking about, sort of focused on, maybe in a year’s time, any new functionality you’d like to see from Adwords, just a little bit of a future view on Pay Per Click.

Mathew:     I think Google Shopping will continue to be a big focus a year from now.  We’re moving into the paper play model with Google Shopping and Google Product Listing Ads specifically.

Product Listing Ads have always been on the pay to play model but now going to Google Shopping which will be managed within Adwords.  That’s going to continue to be a huge development over the next year.

Remarketing – I think remarketing is just going to continue to get better and better within Adwords and really start to compete with these other third party providers.

Not that it isn’t already but I think Google will continue to make some significant strides with how remarketing works whether it be more dynamic ad options where if you’re checking out a site and you view a specific product, then Adwords will allow the visitor to see that product on one of the display network sites within the ad or just a more focus on making remarketing a little bit easier for advertisers but remarketing will definitely continue to play a huge front.

Then I think video advertising through the true view video ads will just continue to become that much more important and that’s where ads show on YouTube and display network placement.  We already have several clients who are doing video advertising and it’s not just for brand awareness anymore, they’re starting to see some good conversions and revenue come from this video advertising.

I think as we move forward that’s going to continue to be paramount.  Just in general, Google will – the search network and bidding on a keyword and showing your ad, that will always be there but it’s really about getting Google Adwords getting a lot more interactive in terms of the ads they show people and really, it’s going towards that end.

Philip:          Beautiful, thanks Matt.  We could speak for hours and hours about Pay Per Click but I know it’s very late there. Thanks so much for you time.  Where can people find you online?

Mathew:     Sure.  You can find the PPC chat blog at .  You can follow me on Twitter @matt_umbro and if you ever like to reach out to me to talk PPC, ask questions or even see if we can do a future topic on PPC.  My email is

Philip:          Beautiful, thanks so much Matt.

Mathew:     Thanks a lot Philip, I’ve enjoyed being your guest.

By Philip Shaw


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