What Medical Marketers Need to Know About Quality Score to Boost Their Google AdWords ROI


Learn how Quality Score impacts your medical organization’s digital ad campaign performance.

If you’ve ever run a Google AdWords campaign, you’ve probably heard about Quality Score. Put simply, Quality Score is how Google determines the relevance and value of your ad campaign for its users. If you don’t know your score, you can easily check it using this guide, courtesy of Google.

Why does your Quality Score matter? For starters, because Google uses it to determine the cost of your campaign. Bidders with lower-quality scores pay more to launch a campaign, greatly increasing the cost-per-click (CPC) and reducing the impact of their marketing spend. Quality Score also impacts ad visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs), meaning your campaign outcomes and your score will be directly linked — after all, it’s hard for you ads to garner clicks, and ultimately conversions, if no one can see them.

Only Google knows exactly how the sausage is made when it comes to Quality Score, but it’s widely understood that a few metrics can determine whether your score is helping or hurting you. Read on to learn more about the factors that contribute to a good score and how that score can increase your marketing ROI.

Keyword Relevance

A good Quality Score starts with identifying the right keywords. Invest the time and energy into researching the most-searched keywords about your industry or product. Organize your keywords into targeted groups instead of picking a broad set of phrases. For example, instead of bidding on “doctor” or “clinic,” choose keywords like “cardiologist in Detroit” or “endocrine surgeon near Philadelphia.”

Don’t underestimate the importance of long-tail keywords specific to your practice or hospital, which are generally less expensive than shorter phrases and more likely to lead to conversions. In addition, exclude any negative keywords that might generate untargeted traffic and drain your budget.

Landing Page Experience

No matter how much you spend on ads, you’re not going to see a positive ROI if users don’t have a positive experience when they arrive on your landing page. In addition to being informative and intuitive, the landing page should feel like a seamless extension of the ad — in terms of visual brand, tone, and content. Importantly, you need to make sure that the landing page fulfils the promise of your ad — Google will penalize ads that link to irrelevant landing pages. It’s also important to ensure that your site runs smoothly on both desktop and mobile, and that you’ve given users clear navigation tools and calls to action.

Click-Through Rate

An ad’s click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of viewers that click on an ad. Your CTR may be the best indicator of the ad’s quality, since it’s a direct measurement of how helpful and appealing users find your ads to be.

Clearly, medical marketers should be paying attention to their CTR, but don’t make the mistake of solely optimizing for it. Any improvements you make to your ads to improve CTR should positively impact other areas of the Quality Score, from user experience to keyword relevance. Big, flashy ads with bold claims may attract clicks, but they won’t turn those clicks into patients.

Historical Account Performance

Just as banks check your credit score when you’re applying for a loan, Google checks up on your ad history when assigning a Quality Score to a campaign. If you have a history of thoughtful, relevant, and well-designed ad campaigns, your next campaign will rank higher and cost less than it would if you were just starting out. If this is your first AdWords campaign, don’t worry — account performance won’t significantly ding your quality score.

Ad Ranking

As I already mentioned, ad ranking — or where/when your ad shows up on the SERP — doesn’t impact your Quality Score, but Quality Scores do impact ad rankings. An ad’s bid amount, quality score, and anticipated performance all affect whether you fall in first or fifth position. If you don’t want to pay more for your ads, the best way to improve ad ranking is to optimize your campaigns for findability and relevance. As your Quality Score improves, you’ll see your ad ranking rise accordingly.

As with any metric, medical marketers shouldn’t place too much importance on Quality Score. Remember that it’s only one of many contributing factors that may cause your campaign to succeed or fail. But by improving your quality score, your medical practice will take a concrete step toward more clicks, more conversions, and more patients.

Medical Marketing Guide: Google Advertising