Quality score and campaign optimization FAQ

Learn the answers to advertisers' commonly asked questions about improving campaign ROI with Microsoft Advertising Editor, including information about quality score and targeting specific customers.

Quality score

What is a quality score?expando image

Microsoft Advertising provides a quality score for each of your keywords to help you understand both the relevance of your keywords to search users' queries and the degree to which your ads are eligible to be displayed in response to these queries. You can use your quality score to determine the best ways to optimize your keywords, ads, and landing pages to help improve your ROI.

Quality scores are based on three performance measures:

  • Expected click-through rate
  • Ad relevance
  • Landing page experience
At what level is the quality score assigned?expando image
The quality score is assigned to each keyword at the search match-type level. For example, a keyword that has both the exact and phrase match types selected will have two quality scores, one for exact match and one for phrase match.
What does it mean if a keyword doesn't have a quality score?expando image

If your ad group is new, there might not be enough data to calculate a quality score. As soon as your ad receives one impression for a keyword, a quality score can be calculated for that keyword. However, you might not see that quality score updated in your account right away.

Does quality score affect the position of my ad?expando image

No. Ads are ranked on a combination of factors, including your bids, ad relevance, and ad performance (click-through rate).

Does landing page load time affect the quality score?expando image
Microsoft Advertising considers your landing page load time as part of your landing page experience. It's a good best practice to make sure that your pages load quickly. Pages that load slowly might cause potential customers to abandon your site, which will lower your conversion rate.
If I make changes to my campaign, how long until my quality score is recalculated?expando image
Changes that you make to your campaign begin affecting the quality score right away. As more impressions are generated over time, the overall effect on your quality score will be more reflective of your changes.
How often is the quality score updated?expando image
The quality score is updated once per day.
How can I raise my expected click-through rate score to Good?expando image
Unlike the ad relevance and landing page experience scores, the expected click-through rate score has three levels: Good, No problem, and Poor. If your expected click-through rate score is No problem or Poor, you might improve the score by increasing your click-through rates. For more information, see About the expected click-through rate score.
How does the Microsoft Advertising quality score compare with the Google AdWords quality score?expando image

Google uses the quality score to rank ads. Microsoft Advertising uses the quality score as an indicator of the competitiveness of your keywords and ads in the marketplace.

Does a keyword have different quality scores for the different match types?expando image
Yes. It's possible that each keyword and match-type combination will have a different quality score, because each will have a different click-through rate (CTR). Exact match will generally have a higher quality score because it will have a higher CTR than either phrase or broad match.
What search traffic is used to determine a quality score?expando image
The quality score is based on traffic from the Bing, AOL, and Yahoo Search networks only. It is not based on any traffic from syndicated search partners.
Will I see a quality score for the content network?expando image
No. If you have an ad group that displays ads on the content network only, you will not have a quality score for the keywords in that ad group.
Is quality score available for mobile text ads?expando image
No. Mobile text ad performance is not included in the quality score calculation.
What does a No problem score mean?expando image
It means that your ads are eligible to be displayed in response to searchers' queries.
What does a Poor score mean?expando image
It means that your ads have limited eligibility to be displayed in response to searchers' queries.
How is the expected click-through rate score calculated?expando image
The expected click-through rate score is a comparison of the click-through rate (CTR) of a keyword in your campaign with the average CTR of that keyword across the marketplace. The keyword CTR is normalized for ad position; that is, Microsoft Advertising takes into account how ad position affects CTR when it calculates quality score.
Can I improve my quality score by raising my keyword bid?expando image
No. Although your bid amount can affect ad position, it has no effect on your quality score.

When Microsoft Advertising calculates the quality score, the raw click-through rate (CTR) is not used because it would give an advantage to those ads in higher positions. Instead, we "normalize" the CTR to account for the ad's position and provide a more fair and accurate assessment of keyword and ad performance.

How do I improve the expected click-through rate score?expando image
To improve your expected click-through rate score, focus on improving your click-through rate. For example, you can write more compelling ad copy and add negative keywords to your campaigns and ad groups to prevent unwanted impressions. For additional tips, see About the expected click-through rate score.
How do I improve my ad relevance score?expando image
You can help improve your ad relevance score by making your landing pages highly relevant to your potential customers' search queries.
How do I improve my landing page experience score?expando image
To improve your ad relevance score, make sure that you have original content on your site and that your site adheres to the Microsoft Advertising policies.
To improve the quality score, is it better to edit an underperforming ad, or delete it and create a new one?expando image
It is better to delete poor performing ads and then write a new ad that adheres to the Microsoft Advertising polices.
If I don't have any problems with my expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience scores, what quality score can I expect?expando image
If there aren't any problems with an ad group, you can expect a minimum quality score of 6. However, it is possible to earn an overall quality score of greater than 6 despite a Poor ad relevance score and a Poor landing page experience score.
If I am creating a new ad group, what can I do to ensure that I receive a Good quality score? expando image
To get a Good quality score for the keywords in a new ad group:
  • Write compelling, relevant ads that are likely to be clicked by potential customers.
  • Bid only on those keywords that are relevant to your business.
  • Create landing pages that include your keywords and are therefore relevant to what searchers are looking for.
If I am using the same keyword in multiple ad groups, with the same targeting and landing page settings, will those keywords receive the same quality score?expando image
Your quality scores might vary if the ad, keyword, and match-type combinations in the different ad groups generate different click-through rates.
Can the organization of my ad groups affect the quality score?expando image
Yes, it can. You'll want to create a separate ad group for each important product or service you offer. For example, if you are a tea retailer, your site might have offerings in several key categories, such as green tea, Darjeeling tea, and black tea. Creating ad groups for such narrowly defined groups of products or services enables you to use ads and landing pages that contain highly relevant keywords. By improving the relevance of ads and landing pages, you can improve the quality score.
I followed your recommendations, but my quality score hasn't improved. What else can I try?expando image
Check to see which of the three performance indicators—expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience—are Poor, and then take the appropriate action to improve those scores. If all three scores are No problem, you'll want to focus on raising your expected click-through rate score from Poor to Good by refining your ad copy.

It can take some experimentation with ad copy to determine what achieves a good click-through rate.

Campaign optimization

How can I improve my campaign performance?expando image
There are several actions you can take to improve the performance of your campaigns.

  • Write effective ads. Make sure you write multiple ads that address your customers and emphasize what sets your product apart from competing products.
  • Optimize your landing pages. Landing pages should be straightforward and directly relevant to the search keywords that lead to them.
  • Choose relevant keywords. Use keywords that are appropriate for your campaign and match your customers' interests. For more information, see About the expected click-through rate score.
How is ad position determined?expando image
The position of your ad on a webpage is determined by the amount you bid for keywords, your ad's relevance, and the ad's click-through-rate.
How do I increase impressions, click-through rate, and conversions?expando image
To improve these performance measurements, improve your ad's position, relevance, and landing page.

Targeting customers

What is targeting?expando image
Targeting can help you optimize your ad's exposure to potential customers. You can increase the likelihood that specific customer segments will see your ad by adjusting the following customer criteria:

  • Geographical location
  • Day of the week or time of day
  • Gender and age
  • Device and operating system

For more information, see How does location targeting and ad language affect who can see my ads?.

How does targeting affect my bid?expando image
You target a customer segment by placing an extra bid, known as an bid adjustment. The incremental bid is added to your keyword bid whenever a customer who meets your target criteria clicks your ad. For more information, see How does location targeting and ad language affect who can see my ads?.
Will targeting improve my ad's position?expando image
Adding incremental bids to an ad group might improve your ad's position. Because each target requires an incremental bid, the total bid is higher. Generally, the higher the total bid amount, the higher your ad's position. For more information, see How does location targeting and ad language affect who can see my ads?.
Who sees my ads if I don't target a certain location?expando image
To provide the best experience, customers get the search results and content-based webpages that originate from, or target, that country. Therefore, if you don’t target your ad to a specific location, your audience is primarily customers in your country, which helps improve the relevance of your ads. For more information, see About language options in Microsoft Advertising Editor.
Are the borders for regional targeting set up by Designated Market Area (DMA)?expando image
In Microsoft Advertising, regional targeting borders are not set up by DMA. Borders are currently based on the closest of the targetable metro areas, which could potentially cross state or provincial borders. If a customer resides in an area that is not the major city of a metro area, Microsoft Advertising looks for the closest major city. For example, Los Angeles is a major city, but Pasadena, one of its suburbs, is not. Because Pasadena is closer to Los Angeles than to San Diego, Pasadena is included in the Los Angeles target area.
Why are my ads being delivered outside the time ranges I specified?expando image
Your ad might appear outside the selected time range if a potential customer is in a different time zone than the one that's associated with the campaign. To optimize your campaign, consider targeting your ads by location.

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