Just a couple weeks ago (on September 12, to be exact), Google AdWords began reporting on null Quality Scores for both new keywords as well as keywords that lack recent click and impression data.
What does this mean?, you might be wondering. First let's backtrack and talk about what Quality Scores even mean.
What is the Google AdWords Quality Score?
You know those paid ads that appear on the top of Google search results? Each one has a Quality Score based on how well it's performing, which is derived from how often the ad is shown in search results, how frequently the ad is clicked on, and the landing page content. The Quality Score is an excellent metric for tracking how effective your ad is, and can also be an indication that perhaps you need to make some changes in order to enjoy better ad performance.
Google AdWords Quality Scores range from 0 to 10, 10 being the best possible score.
Image via Creative Development.
Introducing the Null Quality Score
Here’s the thing, though: in order to calculate an accurate Google AdWords Quality Score, there needs to be enough data. And in cases where you’ve just added new keywords to your campaign, or your keywords haven’t had any recent activity, there just isn’t enough data to determine a Quality Score.
Previously, Google AdWords would default to reporting a Quality Score of 6 in those instances when there wasn’t enough data. Obviously this was problematic because whenever you saw a 6, you wouldn’t know if it was a true Quality Score of 6, or just a default (i.e. placeholder) score.
With the latest Quality Score update, Google AdWords now displays a null value (in the form of a ‘--‘) whenever there’s insufficient data to calculate the Quality Score. We think this is an excellent change because it promotes accuracy.
Note that if you have any reports or filters configured on your Quality Score data, they will automatically exclude the null values. If you prefer to display all keywords regardless of score value, you can easily do so by clicking the “Include keywords with quality scores of ‘---‘“ checkbox.