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.