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One-day impression spike affects QS and Lost IS

[ Edited ]
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# 1
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There was a news story in mid-December that caused one of my ad groups to get 10-20x the normal impressions it generally receives, for one day. The news story was unrelated to my product, so CTR that day decreased by about 10x the norm as well.

 

After that day, impressions (and therefore clicks) we're extremely low for the rest of the month. 

 

The ad group is based around one keyword (although there are other longtail versions of it in the ad group as well). That keyword saw its Lost IS go from 30% to around 60% after the spike. Its QS is 3, which is quite low, but the keyword was one of my best performing keywords in my campaign prior to the spike. The CPC has also increased by about $0.30, which is high for a keyword with little to no competition, such as this.

 

No changes were made to the ad group in this period.

Now, finally, impressions have slightly increased, although they still do not show a growing trend.

 

Any insight on to how a sudden spike in impressions, and consequently low CTR (even for a short period of time such as one day) can affect an ad group/campaign?

 

Thanks,

Sachin

 

 

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Accepted by topic author Sachin M
September 2015

Re: One-day impression spike affects QS and Lost IS

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi Sachin,

 

CTR is the major component of Quality Score - and current CTR the most important of all, over history, so any large spike in impressions that causes a drop in CTR is very likely to affect Quality Score.  QS in turn affects effective bids which will affect position, lower position means fewer impressions and lower CTR again so it's a vicious circle.


Once the spike was over, although things should eventually return to normal, for many days after the spike you'll still be feeling its effects.

 

Bear in mind that the Quality Score you see now in the AWFE is really just an average representation.  QS is evaluated for each and every auction and it's very likely that during the spike it was even lower and CPCs even higher.

 

Have things returned to normal now?

 

Jon

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

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Accepted by topic author Sachin M
September 2015

Re: One-day impression spike affects QS and Lost IS

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# 4
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Dear Sachin - A sudden spike in impression and a subsequent drop in CTR impacted your quality score which eventually increased your Avg CPC. However, since QS is dynamic and calculated concurrently with every auction, the QS for the keyword in question should be moving in the right direction now given no other changes (ad copies, Landing pages) etc. took place. Looks like you are still not satisfied with current impressions trend, though. I guess, you are comparing current trend with what you observed between Dec 1 and Dec 18. But, did you check Year over Year trend for impressions post Dec 19 through MTD? That trend should be compared with your current trend as well. You might also want to compare Year on Year avg position. If avg position happens to be better or same this year (which I think would be the case since your current avg position is pretty healthy at 1.1) but you are still seeing a diminishing year over year trend, please check Impression Share change year on year. If the IS seems to have gone down then take measures to improve it. If IS doesn't have any issue, then just relax Smiley Happy The macro factor in your competitive landscape is playing its part .. you can't do much about it.

View solution in original post

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Sachin M
September 2015

Re: One-day impression spike affects QS and Lost IS

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi Sachin,

 

CTR is the major component of Quality Score - and current CTR the most important of all, over history, so any large spike in impressions that causes a drop in CTR is very likely to affect Quality Score.  QS in turn affects effective bids which will affect position, lower position means fewer impressions and lower CTR again so it's a vicious circle.


Once the spike was over, although things should eventually return to normal, for many days after the spike you'll still be feeling its effects.

 

Bear in mind that the Quality Score you see now in the AWFE is really just an average representation.  QS is evaluated for each and every auction and it's very likely that during the spike it was even lower and CPCs even higher.

 

Have things returned to normal now?

 

Jon

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

Re: One-day impression spike affects QS and Lost IS

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# 3
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Thanks, Jon.

The spike occurred on December 19th and today I still only see 50% of the impressions I had at the beginning of December.

Perhaps there are some other factors at play here?

I am weary about increasing my bids because i do not have room to increase my tight budget- I already have a bid well above average cpc and an avg position of 1.1.

Just today I added negative keywords related to the news story, in case something like this happens again.

Although I noticed the spike when it happened (and had no idea why it was happening for a while...) I was skeptical about adding more negative keywords because a) I already had quite a few, b) my impressions/clicks/ctr were all at great levels, and c) all the clicks I was receiving were relevant to my product.

Of course that is no longer the case- clicks and impressions have taken a plunge. I've added the nkw's and slightly increased bids in hopes to bring it back up. Currently waiting to see the affect...
Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Sachin M
September 2015

Re: One-day impression spike affects QS and Lost IS

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Dear Sachin - A sudden spike in impression and a subsequent drop in CTR impacted your quality score which eventually increased your Avg CPC. However, since QS is dynamic and calculated concurrently with every auction, the QS for the keyword in question should be moving in the right direction now given no other changes (ad copies, Landing pages) etc. took place. Looks like you are still not satisfied with current impressions trend, though. I guess, you are comparing current trend with what you observed between Dec 1 and Dec 18. But, did you check Year over Year trend for impressions post Dec 19 through MTD? That trend should be compared with your current trend as well. You might also want to compare Year on Year avg position. If avg position happens to be better or same this year (which I think would be the case since your current avg position is pretty healthy at 1.1) but you are still seeing a diminishing year over year trend, please check Impression Share change year on year. If the IS seems to have gone down then take measures to improve it. If IS doesn't have any issue, then just relax Smiley Happy The macro factor in your competitive landscape is playing its part .. you can't do much about it.

Re: One-day impression spike affects QS and Lost IS

[ Edited ]
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# 5
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Hi Debdip,

Thanks for your answer.
Unfortunately this is a fairly new campaign so I don't have enough data for YoY comparisons just yet.

What you said is true- the keyword in question is performing well, just losing impressions to other keywords/ad groups. My guess this is due to low quality score, in comparison to my other keywords in the account. The QS was definitely lowered by the spike, but also has some other problems (such as landing page, which I am working on fixing).

Two factors that I think might be out of my control for this specific keyword are Expected CTR, and Impression Share. I think this because the kw in question is a branded term, but also happens to be the name of a famous athlete, who obviously is the target of majority of the search volume related to this term.

Google would not take this into consideration for Impression Share, would it?
For example, my impression share for this keyword is only 20%, but that must be okay if majority of the potential impressions would be for the athlete, not the product.
Also, I have many negative keywords around all terms associated with the athlete. Does Google calculate Impression Share after taking my nkw's into consideration?

I have the same doubts on expected ctr. Would Google rank my expected ctr below average, because they see that most of the searches are about this athlete, and my product is completely unrelated, even though it is branded with the same name?