Redfly Online Marketing, Dublin, Ireland

Great Quality Score, Low Min Bids But No Impressions?

A fellow online marketer got in touch with me via Facebook this week with a question. I am asked this question at least once a week on various forums and through this very blog. The question is as follows:

I have been using AdWords for a long time and I seem to have hit a brick wall. I set up my tightly knit and focused campaigns, have a perfect landing page (That I know converts from SEO) and all my keywords have a “Great” quality score. I bid 10-50 cent more than the required minimum bid and set the campaign live. It has been live for weeks now, the Ad Diagnostic tool says my ads are being displayed but AdWords is reporting little to no impressions? Has Google changed something? What am I doing wrong?

The Answer my friend is simple. Competition.

Let’s assume that ALL advertisers in your market have a tightly knit campaign with focused keywords and compelling ad text, have a campaign bursting with “Great” quality keywords and have the same minimum bid requirements as you. Now lets assume that there are 40 advertisers bidding on the same keywords as you. Assuming all things being even, what determines which ads get placed on the front page?

Old School Maximum Cost Per Click.

According to Google your minimum bid is defined as follows :

A keyword’s minimum bid is the lowest amount that you can pay in order for that keyword to trigger your ads.

Note “trigger” being the operative word there. Trigger means it will indeed show but not necessarily on the first page or even second.With the introduction of quality score (at all levels), country targeting, matching options and bringing Click Through Rate into the equation people still tend to forget that the maximum price you are willing to pay for the click still comes into play. Seeing that quality score column all green does not mean you are golden and entitled to a top spot on the first page. I see this all the time when ringtone affiliates, insurance and mortgage affiliates and dating offer affiliates ask me to take a look at their campaigns. The simple reason you are not getting impressions is because you are not bidding enough and you are up against a LOT of other advertisers.

So you cannot afford to pay 5 Euro a click? Tough. Other advertisers pay spend that and still make a profit from the click. They tweak their campaigns and squeeze every last drop of revenue from their landing pages (unless they are bidding cluelessly on the top spot in which case their budget will not last long!).

To sum up, a lot of factors come into play when advertising using Pay Per Click but remember, PPC is still a bidding platform and there are sometimes more than eleven other advertisers competing for a first page spot.

Note: I am aware that the above scenario is a little over simplified and I did not take into account historical data or ad rank but I think the point is still valid.