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Google Plans AdWords Algorithm Change; Expects Complaints




UPDATE: It looks like Google’s pushed the button too early – and it could be the wrong button too. Lots of people are complaining that their Quality Score has gone crazy.

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I just got off the phone with Google’s Nick Fox, Senior Business Product Manager for Ad Quality, and got the scoop on the upcoming changes to the AdWords Quality Score.

As we reported earlier today, Google is indeed planning a change to the Quality Score, with two major updates.

  1. The addition of a new column in AdWords campaigns, showing the Quality Score.
  2. A change to the Quality Score algorithm.

Fox explained the addition of the new column was Google’s effort to “improve transparency” and “make it easier to understand the quality score.” He also explained that Google hoped the new Quality Score information would “help advertisers optimize their ads.”

The new data will be available as early as tomorrow afternoon, which is a key move in anticipation of an algorithm tweak to the Quality Score in the next week or two. By being more transparent with the scoring, Google hopes to prevent any backlash that may come with the new algo.

While the new algorithm shift won’t be as dramatic as when Google introduced the landing page factors, Fox does expect to hear some complaining from advertisers. He confirmed that the new algo “will impact a fairly large number of keywords”, which might lead to a knee-jerk complaint by a large contingent of AdWords advertisers. However, Fox stressed the “bulk of the impact will be on keywords not driving traffic.”

To try and offset some of the complaints, Google’s also trying to provide “more benefit of the doubt, when data is not available,” says Fox. Effectively, some advertisers will find that their minimum bids actually go down.

The side-story to this update is Google’s effort to try and reach out to advertisers before they flick the switch. They’ve learnt their lesson from previous changes to the Quality Score and are keen to get the message across that while the change will impact a significant number of keywords, they believe only poorly performing keywords will be affected.

That said, it’s clear that Google is on an aggressive campaign to try and reach advertisers and bloggers before the sh*t hits the fan.

So, if I were you, I’d try and get a good grasp on the Quality Score data now, so you can be prepared for the new algo next week.

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