Ad Relevance Score – How Do Your Ads Stack Up?

In theory, digital advertising seems simple. You choose your targeting on Facebook or keywords on Google, come up with some convincing brand copy, and pay for every click you get. But in reality, it’s a bit more complicated.

The quality of your ad, for example, matters. Not just because you want it to be as relevant as possible for your audience, but also because it impacts your quality score. Pay attention to this often underrated metric, and you might just save money while simultaneously improving the effectiveness of your Google and Facebook ads.

The Core Concept: Understanding the Ad Relevance/Quality Score

Google and Facebook, the two largest digital marketing platforms today, both use similar versions of the same concept to place ads and determine cost. Each comes with its own nuances, discussed in more detail below. But generally speaking, both follow the same underlying concept.

Google calls it your ads’ quality score, while Facebook refers to it as a relevance score. Both rank your ads on a simple 1-10 scale based on their projected effectiveness. Pulling in metrics from click-through rates to consistency with the content to which your ads links, this score can tell you exactly how well your ads will perform.

Ads with a high score cost less, and receive higher ranking priority in each advertising platform. At the same time, they can also be used to compare two versions of the same ad against each other, utilizing A/B testing concepts to improve your design and messaging over time.

Optimizing Your Google Ads for a Better Quality Score

Google defines its Quality Score as “an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages.” More specifically, its AdWords platform automatically determines which ads are more relevant by looking at these factors:

  • How closely text in your ads and the landing pages to which they link match up.
  • How closely the keywords you are targeting match up with the overarching ad group.
  • The click-through rates of ads already running, determining user interest as a result of relevance.

Optimize your AdWords ads for these factors, and you see a significantly increased ROI. In fact, WordStream found that the closer your quality score gets to a perfect 10, the lower your costs per click and costs per conversion will be.

How to Improve Your Google Quality Score

In short, your quality score matters. But how can you make sure you actually reap the rewards of that knowledge? Here are some steps to help you optimize your AdWords campaigns for a better quality score.

  1. Tighten up your ad groups to avoid the danger of irrelevant keywords in your individual ads.
  2. Engage in strategic keyword research to focus on the keywords and phrases most relevant to your audience.
  3. Optimize your landing pages to highlight, but not stuff, the keywords you found in the content.
  4. Revise your ad copy to sync up with your landing page content for increased relevance.
  5. Include your core keywords not just in the ad copy, but your display URL and headlines as well.
  6. Find and exclude negative keywords within your ad group that are irrelevant to your message.

Follow these steps, and you can significantly increase your AdWords quality score. As a result, you will be poised to increase the effectiveness and success of your Google ads in helping you reach your overarching marketing goals.

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Prioritizing Your Relevance Score in Facebook’s Advertising Platform

Like Google, Facebook has embraced its version of scoring ads in prioritizing brand placements and determining costs. Its Relevance Score “aggregates various ad quality and relevance factors to give you an idea of how relevant your ads are to the people in your target audience compared to other ads targeting that same audience.”

Each ad gets its own score, even if multiple ads live in the same campaign or ad set. A high score (8 or above) means your ad will cost less and will be shown to the audience you’re looking to reach more frequently, while a low score (below 3) means the opposite will take effect. The following factors matter most in determining the score:

  • Audience definition – broader targeting will decrease relevance and focus, leading to a lower score.
  • Ad relevance and freshness – ads can get stale, and will be shown less frequently if they haven’t been updated in a while.
  • Campaign objective – if you’re looking to get clicks or engagement, a lack of progress toward that goal decreases your score.
  • Expected feedback – Facebook calculates how many likes, clicks, and comments you might get and adjusts its score accordingly.

How to Improve Your Facebook Relevance Score

As is the case with Google, you can take a number of steps to increase your relevance score, lowering costs and improving effectiveness as a result:

  1. Narrow your targeting. Try to get as close as possible to your ideal customer and related audiences.
  2. Refresh ads regularly. Ideally, you should insert new visuals and copy to an existing ad as often as once per week.
  3. Narrow your focus. If your goal is to get clicks and conversions, don’t ask for likes. Stay consistent in helping each ad accomplish a single goal.
  4. Avoid polarization. Negative feedback will depress the score, so it’s crucial to use content that resonates positively with your audience.
  5. Test and adjust frequently. Facebook only calculates relevance score after 500

Relevance Scores as the Key to Effective Digital Marketing

Over the last few years, Google and Facebook have both implemented a score system that has become one of the most important metrics in digital marketing. If you want to be successful in reaching audiences via search engine or social media, you better pay attention to your relevance and quality score.

Fortunately, these scores are dynamic. Even a bad score to start can improve significantly if you recognize the problem, and make the necessary adjustments. Once you begin to pay attention to your relevancy scores, your digital marketing costs will decrease while your success and progress toward goal will increase dramatically.

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.


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