Was the Recent Quality Score Display Glitch Really Fixed?

9 Comments Written on November 12th, 2010 by
Categories: Analytics, Google Adwords

On the morning of October 27th, a huge percentage of Adwords advertisers woke up to a nasty surprise:  Their Quality Scores had absolutely tanked and their minimum first page bids were horrifyingly high.  10/10 and 7/10′s were now 2/10, or 3/10.  My Quality Score alerts were pinging all over the place.

The weird part was that traffic seemed to be coming in normally and the actual CPCs being charged were apparently normal.  Word spread on Twitter and search marketing sites that Google was experiencing a “display issue” with Quality Scores and minimum first page bids showing up in the Adwords UI and that Google was “looking into it”.  They then came back and said they figured it out, ad serving wasn’t affected, and the issue was fixed:

“This issue was limited to the reporting of Quality Score, and the fix should be live for all within the next 24 hours. For those keywords with a status of Low search volume, the fix should be live within the next few days.”

Too bad for you as an advertiser if you freaked out (understandably so) and changed all your bids…

That aside, there’s still one small problem:  It doesn’t appear that the glitch is fixed for everyone and it’s starting to get really annoying.

A number of days later after the “fix” some of the members in our PPCblog community started commenting on the fact that they still had not seen their Quality Scores return to where they were before the display issue.

I’ve noticed it personally as well.  This is what it looks like, relatively high first page bid estimate with a low QS, but normal traffic levels and average CPCs well below the Max CPC:

Google’s support forums (pretty much the only way for non-big-brand advertisers to get any official Adwords support) are also lighting up with reports again that advertisers are still seeing the issue as well…

If you’re struggling to figure out recent drops in your Keyword Relevance Quality Scores, and you’re one of the blessed, reach out to your rep.  If you’re rep-less, but have been deemed worthy of being allowed to email support, it’s worth the time to ping them on the issue.

Alternatively, if you’re stuck with sending Adwords support smoke signals, keep loading threads into their hosted support forum, maybe they’ll finally give it a second look.

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9 comments “Was the Recent Quality Score Display Glitch Really Fixed?”

Yea I’m not sure how much I’m buying this fix either. Many of many campaigns are still way off from what they were, and starting a new one is an absolute nightmare. 3′s and 4′s across the board yet I’m still getting some traffic with them.

Thanks for writing a post on the issue. I have an account with a diversity of keywords which originally had quality scores ranging from 6 to 10. All the ads are highly targeted with pretty good click through rates. But on the date of the bug, they dropped to all 3′s and 4′s. They haven’t budged as of yet. I am keeping calm and hoping that the fix is taking it’s time to propagate through all the accounts, but it’s definitely taking a while.

One of my client’s accounts that was rocking along with lots of 10/10 QS keywords and a very strong click through rate tanked two days ago. Both QS and CTR dropped like a rock. The only changes made to the campaign the day before was minor bid adjustments for keywords that were showing up higher than my target, and the addition of a a few “Opportunities” keywords. Something definitely seems broken.

Same thing is happening on one of my smaller accounts which is in the Australian market. I’m not seeing it on the big accounts though which are on the US market. I’m not sure if there’s a relation to it.

Nothing was broken – it’s surely a scam from the top to attempt people to increase their bids – the extra revenue over even just a few hours would be in the gazillions of $’s – let alone over a period of weeks.

I fully expect this “glitch” to become an “annual event” – they have us by the short and curlies!

Yet what can we do. Google holds control of the QS factor. The only choice we have is to continue advertising or find other advertising systems that have adequate traffic volume. This ‘glitch’ as they call it sounds like a revenue stunt to me. I guarantee people up’d their bids to the minimum page bid estimate. Google’s talk about a fair, competitive marketplace hardly seems fair when they control one of the key factors that determines how much you pay for your ad to appear (QS).

no – it is not fixed.  My Adwords rep says  “I should focus on impressions & CTR” as indicators of how well my kw’s are performing.  I think they tried to turn up their QS filter.  I’ve seen some of my competitors completely removed from the space.

Our Google account is mature and the marketplace is pretty settled amongst the usual players. This month has been and continues to be a struggle to stay on top of the game. Having Q/S go from 10 to 5 and from 7 to 3 is killing all of us. I have posted in multiple forums, bugged my adwords reps via email and nothing…crickets. The problem is not fixed and will likely result in more PPC money going towards Bing, whether more people are searching there or not. If I can get 5 click and conversions from Bing compared to 2 on Google, I frankly dont care where the click stream comes from as long as it gets to me.

I said earlier “an annual” event – just happended again QS’s dipped from 7′s to 3′s overnight across pretty much whole campaign. Theiving ‘orrible people thay are……

Bing here I come!


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