Quality Score Insights From Microsoft’s Ping Jen

There must be 101 misconceptions about quality score on blogs and discussion forums right now. Ultimately, quality score is a useful tool with which you can prioritize opportunities and optimizations. It is a topic I’m often talking about, and next week, at SES New York, I’ll being covering a few quality score optimization techniques I’ve picked up using Excel.

To keep up to the minute on this frequently used metric, I regularly sit down with Ping Jen for key takeaways on quality score. Jen helped design Bing Ads’ quality score, and I’ve picked out some of his insights I think you might find interesting. Having worked at both major search platforms (Bing Ads and Google AdWords), I’ve found the more I understand about one system, the more I understand about the other.

Bing Ads vs. Google AdWords Quality Score

Quality score is similar, but not the same thing on both platforms.

“Google uses it as a factor to calculate your rank score in its auction and your AdWords ad rank is your max CPC x quality score,” Jen points out. “Because Bing Ads’ quality score is established after the fact, it isn’t used directly to determine your bid and your ad rank. We generate quality score to help advertisers identify improvement opportunities.”

After your keyword goes through the auction, Bing Ads documents its performance and gives you an idea of your marketplace performance relative to your competitors. Jen emphasizes “Quality score is not the end of your campaign management – it is where optimizations start.”

Jen also outlined this great heuristic to think about Bing Ads’ quality score:


Recent Performance vs. Historical Performance

Many people don’t realize that historical account data is also a factor in your quality score, according to Jen. It is considered with, but not weighted as highly as, recent performance to help you assess the marketplace dynamic.

A keyword that meets relevance and quality requirements will start at a quality score of 6. If that keyword is more competitive than the marketplace average for the same term, its quality score will be higher than 6.

Bing Ads publishes quality score once a day. If your keyword’s quality score is trending up it could mean your ad is getting more competitive, or that your competitors’ ads are losing strength.

Tips: Aggregated Quality Score & Using Exact Match as Your Baseline

Jen had some tips for advertisers trying to read their quality score, too.

“Bing Ads provides aggregated quality scores at the campaign and ad group levels to help you prioritize what optimization works,” he said. “Campaigns and ad groups that have a lower aggregated quality score incur a higher cost-to-serve. Advertisers should use campaigns or ad groups’ historical quality score to closely monitor their strength. ”

Another tip Jen shared is to look at your exact match first because that’s your baseline. If your score is low then you have to ask yourself whether these are the right keywords to bid on.

Landing Page Relevance

Many people think that landing page relevance is between your keyword and your landing page. It’s actually based on the search query your keywords trigger.

Your keywords can trigger one query with exact match or even thousands broad match. Bing Ads checks to see if your landing page can engage with the intent of each triggered search query individually.

If you have low landing page relevance, he suggests negative keywords and broad match modified keywords are “your best friends.” And landing page relevance is not relative to your competitors, but keyword relevance is relative to your competitors.

Additional campaign optimization tips from Jen are available at Bing Ads Community Site. If you have questions or comments we’d love your feedback.

We will both be at SES New York talking about a wide range of topics including quality score, reporting, and multi-channel attribution so, if you’re going, we’ll see you in the Big Apple!

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