Major AdWords Quality Score Reporting Bug Confirmed by Google

I’ve been following recent threads and complaints popping up in forum threads and posts by Google advertisers claiming a major decrease in Quality Score for their top keywords. Because Adwords quality score is such an important metric in determining both CPC and ad positioning this is certainly an understandable concern.

According to Google it is just a reporting glitch:

AdWordsPro said:

Many accounts are experiencing an unexpected drop in quality score for high performing keywords, starting around the 24th/25th of October 2010. This appears to be a reporting only issue, meaning that we display the quality score as incorrectly low in the account interface, while ad serving itself is not affected.
Please know that our engineers are looking into this as a top priority.
I will update this thread when I have further information.

A program manager of AdWords later confirmed Adword Pro’s statement by saying:

As earlier reported by AdsWordsPro, I can confirm that this issue did not impact serving (i.e., the system has been correctly computing auction-time Quality Score this entire time for ranking and pricing purposes).

This issue was limited to the reporting of Quality Score, and the fix should be live for all within the next 24 hours. For those keywords with a status of Low search volume, the fix should be live within the next few days.

Thank you all for your patience as we resolve this.

When PPC For Hire first reported on the impact of Google Instant on Quality Score, our initial concern was the large increases in impression volume would drive down CTR thus affecting overall quality. At the time our Adwords rep told us that the algorithm would account for ad performance changes attributed to Instant. My guess is the reporting issues cited above could be an outstanding issue that Google is still trying to reconcile, however, it seems as if the keywords remain unaffected. You can stay up to date on the forum discussions at either Google AdWords Help or WebmasterWorld.

Have you noticed a drop in quality score across your accounts? Leave your thoughts in the comments!


One Response to “Major AdWords Quality Score Reporting Bug Confirmed by Google”
  1. Roy says:

    I seriously doubt Google’s claim that this bug is limited to affecting the reporting of Quality Score as they are currently suggesting.

    I have noticed a drop in QS from 7 to 4 on many keywords which are quit relevant to related ad copy and landing page content with reasonable historic CTR’s and conversions. In addition to these abnormal drops in QS, I am also noticing what appears to be a corresponding drop in placement position. This would indicate that contrary to Goggles’ accretion that this bug is NOT confined to reporting and may in fact be related to an underlying algorithm affecting relative placement position and CPC.

    I do not make this assertion lightly, I have been managing PPC since the days of GOTO and currently manage a Google Adwords account with a spend in excess of 1 mil annually.

    I currently have an open case with the Google support team on this matter and am quit anxiously awaiting a resolution and finding.