There are many misconceptions in the PPC world about the effect that landing pages will have on your Quality Score. This really isn’t all too surprising, given the fact that most Quality Score algorithms are “black boxes” which play a critical role in the success of any PPC campaign. There’s still little information on how Microsoft Advertising (formerly Bing Ads), Google Ads and the various social media advertising platforms conduct quality score calculations.
Landing pages are the first interaction a customer will have with a brand. They set the tone for the relationship. Because of this, landing page Quality Score calculation can be misleading.
Distilling a landing page to nothing more than a numerical score undervalues a lot of the importance of landing pages in several other areas of the campaign, like positioning and brand perception.
While most advertising platforms will use the term Quality Score, others use Ad Relevance, or something similar. We’ll be sticking to the term Quality Score, just for clarity.
In a nutshell, Quality Score is an approximation of the relevance of your ads and keywords to your target audience. Most ad platforms display this score as a number from 1 to 10. While this does make the score easy to understand, it does drastically oversimplify the complex and often user-specific inputs which are factored into each ad auction. Unfortunately, it’s the best we have.
Social media platforms and search engines use Quality Score to decide which ads to show to users, and how much advertisers should pay for each impression or click.
Quality Score was pioneered by Google Ads in their Ad Rank algorithm. It was designed to reward advertisers for creating relevant ads by offering them lower costs per click. Advertisers who try to show irrelevant ads to users who aren’t interested will be met with lower Quality Scores, and will have to pay more per click in order to remain visible.
One of the best ways to improve your Quality Score, and thus your Ad Rank, is to provide a good user experience. From the information available, most PPC providers use an equation similar to the one pictured below to determine exactly how ads appear.
Landing pages, however, are treated differently by each ad platform in the Quality Score equations. Ideally, the savvy PPC advertiser would take this into account, and tailor their landing pages to the platform their campaign is running on to ensure the best results.
The above table highlights the differences and similarities between Quality Score calculation across each major ad platform, along with the associated factors.
When ad platforms evaluate ads to determine their placement, there are certain questions asked, and certain attributes which need to be evaluated:
Landing Page Experience: Is your landing page relevant to the visitor’s intent? Does your landing page help them to accomplish their goals, quickly and transparently?
Ad Click Through Rate/Engagement: Are your ads clicked on as much as rival ads?
Ad Relevance: Do your ads align with your visitor’s intent and interests?
Post-Click Conversion Rate: How likely are visitors to convert or take meaningful action after clicking your ad?
Recency: Are your ads recently published or updated regularly?
If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above questions, it’s possible that your Quality Score calculated isn’t as high as it could be.
Landing pages are an integral aspect of the Quality Score algorithm. Fortunately, they’re also one of the easiest elements of your campaign to control. Providing a good experience for your visitors is one of the most important parts of the “Landing Page Experience” component of your Quality Score Calculation. Make sure your pages load quickly, look good on all screen sizes, and answer their search intent with relevant content.
Landing pages can have a positive impact on Google Ads Quality Score when done correctly. A better Quality Score means higher conversion rates and lower cost per click, especially when compared to sending your visitors to your homepage.
Though not every ad platform will explicitly factor landing pages into their Quality Score Calculation, they’re still not something to be ignored. Improving your visitor experience means users are more likely to convert and have a positive association with your brand.
In their support content, Google Ads specifically mentions the importance of landing pages for creating a positive user experience. The ‘experience’ part is what is important, as many people incorrectly assume that they focus only on landing page relevance.
While it’s true that your landing page must be relevant to the keywords searched and the ads displayed, it’s just as important that your pages load quickly, look good on all screens and are secure.
According to Google Ads:
“Landing pages won’t have any direct impact on the Expected CTR or Ad Relevance components of your Google Ads Quality Score, but the domain and URL you show in your ads may indirectly help or hurt your click-through rates.”
In the Quality Score Calculation for Microsoft Advertising is almost identical to that of Google Ads, although each of the three components has significantly less documentation. Microsoft explicitly mentions, unlike Google, that the landing page experience factor is “based on how many times clients leave the landing page of your ad shortly after arriving.” This means that lowering the bounce rate of your landing page (among other things) will improve your quality score .
A write-up by Microsoft Advertising on the factors affecting Quality Score Calculation:
“Monitoring your Microsoft Advertising Quality Score is a good idea, but don’t expect to get a lot of helpful data about individual keywords. In this case, I suggest following the best practices for improvements in Google’s Quality Score in the hope that the same efforts will be rewarded by Microsoft.”
Quality Ranking: The perceived quality of your ad. This is measured using feedback on your ads and post-click experience. Your ads are then ranked against other ads competing for the same audience.
Engagement Rate Ranking: The anticipated engagement rate for your ad. All clicks, likes, comments, and shares are included in Engagement. Your ads are then ranked against other ads competing for the same audience.
Conversion Rate Ranking: The anticipated conversion rate of your ad. Your ad is ranked against ads that are competing for the same audience with your optimization objective.
Notably, the audience targeting on Facebook does not rely on search keywords. So it’s much harder, at any given moment, to determine the intent of a social user.
Many types of Facebook campaigns also enable users, on the platform itself, to convert, transact, or engage with content - so they don’t need a landing page. In these cases, to determine whether an ad is relevant or not, Facebook relies heavily on the engagement and interactions that happen on its platform.
While the documentation of Facebook Ads does not mention external landing pages, in two of the three Ad Relevance variables, they reference “post-click experience” and “conversion rate”. Advertisers using the audience and conversion pixels of Facebook should presume that on your website, Facebook Ads can measure engagement and conversion rates.
The least amount of support material linked to their Ad Score and no mention of landing pages is available on Twitter Ads.
Most conversions on Twitter Ads occur within their site in the form of shares, retweets, content interaction, and follows, similar to Facebook Ads. Campaign performance and overall quality score calculation don’t seem to be influenced by landing page engagement, conversions, or experience.
That being said, combining your Twitter advertising with dedicated landing pages is still a smart idea. Even the strongest Twitter Advertising campaigns can not hit their full potential if your landing pages don’t reinforce your positioning and offers.
Nothing is simple with LinkedIn Advertising, including finding your Campaign Quality Ratings. As with other sites, LinkedIn scores each sponsored content campaign on a scale of 1-10. Unlike other sites, they do not allow you to see your Campaign Quality Score until you manually export the.csv file with your historical results.
Once you follow the time-consuming, eight-step method of exporting your ratings, you can see a number in the “Campaign Quality Score” column—but no insights or more information about how to boost it.
Without this information, the best advice we can give you is to concentrate on improving the click-through rate and interaction of your ads - likes, shares, etc to get a better Quality Score.
There are many tried and true methods for improving your Quality Score Calculation with landing pages. Most of these methods focusing on improving the visitor experience, and won’t require much dev support.
Your landing pages (directly and indirectly) affect your Quality Score Calculation. Unfortunately, the algorithms are not publicly available, so it’s difficult to tell exactly what’s working and what’s not.
We’ve also seen outcomes differ significantly depending on the industry and type of campaign. It’s best to think of your Quality Score as a lagging indicator and not a leading metric. Schedule reminders to check your landing page experience scores once a month or once a quarter. Look for improvement here.
With a little focus, the landing pages will help you in better quality score calculation and carry your campaigns to the next level. Contact us today!
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