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Quality Score / Real Time Quality Score - DiscriminationThresholds

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# 1
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This post is more of a notice board to all adwords users how adwords is showing discrimination in the way Quality Score is calculated since changes back in October 2016 - current date.


So after the end of a 6 month period since october 2016 which included extensive test and hundreds of examples i can confirm that adwords has placed a minimum threshold of when quality score and real time quality score will be calculated for a keyword.


Quality score and real time quality score will only be initially calculated and subsequently recalculated when a MINIMUM THRESHOLD of the first page of search results (1.0 - 7.0) and position 1.0 only on the second page of search results is met.


Basically this results in any advertiser below this threshold to enter a purely highest bidder wins ad auction - with no ad ranking factored into the equation. (Due to the absence of quality score!)


This new minimum threshold is extremely biased towards advertisers on the first page of search results and im my opinion blatant discrimination - and not treating all customers fairly. Prior to october 2016 Quality score was automatically calculated for all advertisers, regardless of what page of the search results you were placed.


Why is adwords doing this?.....


If we take a look at adwords over the past 12 months adwords are quickly moving towards wanting 100% of customer clicks be to made to the first and second positioned advertisers. Due to obvious reasons, highest max cpc's and largest budgets.


  • February 2016 -  Adwords confirmed it would no longer show ads to the right of its search results. (limiting the number of advertisers being dispalyed  - again this would result in a higher CTR to the top positioned ads) More revenue for google!


  • October 2016 - As discussed above minimum threshold for quality score and real time quality score to be calculated. This is a discriminative way of suggesting adwords are not bothered about advertisers who cannot gain first page status.


  • October 2016 - Est. first position bid metric is no longer being calculated automatically for a keyword. The only way this figure can be seen / calculated is by continuously showing within the top positions of google search (1.0 - 4.0) - First page ad positions of (5.0 - 7.0) will not see the Est. first position bid metric.


  • March 2017 - Adwords is showing the top positioned ad (1.0) also at the foot of the page (2 adverts for the same advertiser on the same page). This again is the result of adwords wanting the majority of customer clicks to land on the advertiser with the largest cpc and budget.


Google adwords was once an advertising platform with its own ideas and at the forefront of pay per click advertising. However within the past 12 months adwords has choosen to go down the route of copying its closest rival in ppc advertising - the yahoo,bing and aol network.


The yahoo, bing and aol platform implemented many of the above features, and can to some extent justify this as the search volumes for these search engines are very low.


However for google there is still a significant number of keyword impressions choosing to go past the first page of search results, so i have no idea why quality score and real time quality score would be removed as a feature for advertisers not on the first page of results.


What is the future of adwords if it contuinues down the path of the last 12 months? It wouldnt surprise me if only one advertiser would show for a keyword search! Higgest bidder wins!!!




1 Expert replyverified_user

Quality Score / Real Time Quality Score - DiscriminationThresholds

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# 2
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Hi Danny,


Regardless of whether the calculations you described are factual or not, I'm not sure what your question is.


Google has multiple responsibilities - including keeping their users happy and keeping their shareholders happy. And keeping their advertising clients happy. Clearly it is a finely balanced thing, so changes to AdWords are incremental. Of course Google has the luxury of being able to make extensive tests before making changes.


If Google decided that the best result for everyone would be to run one ad, highest bidder wins, that would be Google's choice.  


But for the present, I can't see how anyone is discriminated against. The AdWords system rewards (directly or indirectly) well-written ads, useful landing pages and products/prices that people want. If you are unable to write ads that appeal to you, and your site is of poor quality, or your product is not competitive enough to allow you to afford higher bids - then AdWords will fail you. That is down to you, not AdWords.


Quality Score / Real Time Quality Score - DiscriminationThresholds

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# 3
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Mr Skelton,


The only thing i agree with what you have said is that google has the power to change their platform in which ever way they see fit - it is there product but it must still treat all customers to the adwords platform the same, without giving preference to any set of advertisers.


What i do not agree with your reply is when you said 'I can't see how anyone is discriminated against'


Without stating the obvious the definition of discrimination or indirect discrimination is 'when a working rule or condition disadvantages one group of people (advertisers) more than another'


With Quality score and real time quality score only being available to advertisers on the first page of search results (or for a maximum of 7 advertisers for a given search term) this is indeed discrimination.


Again as stated in my initial post advertisers who do not show on the first page of search results simply enter an auction based on the advertiser with the highest max cpc wins the desired position with no ad rank factored in.


What has google got to gain by removing quality score and real time quality score from being calculated for adwords users past the first page of search results??? In my opinion absolutley nothing!


Quality score has always been available to all advertisers since adwords was created many years ago, so this latest update to quality score (october 2016) is nothing more than a blatant act of discrimination!



Quality Score / Real Time Quality Score - DiscriminationThresholds

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# 4
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It is commonly accepted that for most advertisers appearing beyond page one is a waste of time. I have worked with thousands of advertisers. Often the "sweet spot" for return on ad spend is not #1, but #3 or #4. Very occasionally the best position for their ads is in the #5 to #8 range. I have never come across a single keyword that performs best on page 2.


Which explains Google's indifference. Not discrimination.