- 6 min. read
Matthew GibbonsLead Data & Tech Writer
- Matthew is a marketing expert focusing on the SEO & martech spaces. He has written over 500 marketing guides and video scripts for the WebFX YouTube channel. When he’s not striving to put out some fresh blog posts and articles, he’s usually fueling his Tolkien obsession or working on miscellaneous creative projects.
Got Google Ads? Then, you’ve got a Google Ads optimization score.
What is a Google Ads optimization score? A Google Ads optimization score is a percentage from 0 to 100% that estimates how well your account will perform and provides recommendations for improving your score.
Keep reading to learn more about optimization score, including:
- How to check your Google Ads optimization score
- Whether optimization score matters
- How to increase your optimization score
What is the Google Ads optimization score?
Google Ads’ optimization score is a metric from 0 to 100% that demonstrates how successfully Google thinks you’re running your campaigns. If it feels you’re not bidding as efficiently as you could be, for example, it will give you a lower score with recommendations on how to improve.
How to check your Google Ads optimization score
If you haven’t yet encountered your optimization score in Google Ads, you can find it by going to “Recommendations” in the left-hand page menu. Your score will appear as a percentage between zero and 100.
What is the difference between Quality Score and optimization score?
Be sure not to confuse your Google Ads optimization score with your Quality Score.
Quality Score is Google’s assessment of your ads’ overall quality. In other words, it measures the quality of your individual ads and campaigns, mainly in terms of design and accessibility elements. Optimization score, in contrast, measures the quality of your overarching strategy — the way you make your bids, plan your budget, and target users.
Does optimization score matter for Google Ads?
Once you know what your Google Ads optimization score is, the next question is, how much should you care? Is your optimization score a useful metric, or should you ignore it?
The short answer is that while your optimization score isn’t as useful or reliable as your Quality Score, you can still benefit from keeping an eye on it and trying to improve it. The thing about Google’s optimization score is that it relies on an algorithm to make highly subjective decisions.
Different businesses are better suited to different campaign strategies, and Google can’t necessarily account for all the relevant factors. For example, one of Google’s most consistent recommendations is that you turn on Smart Bidding, which will let Google automatically adjust your bids. But depending on your needs, it may not be a good idea for you to relinquish control of your spending to an algorithm.
Furthermore, keep in mind that Google stands to benefit from however much you spend on your ads. It’s in Google’s best interest to persuade you to increase your budget and bid larger amounts, which is why many of your recommendations will focus on those elements.
That said, some recommendations will prove genuinely useful.
For example, Google might suggest that one of your campaigns would be more successful if it used ad extensions, and that might prove a valuable tip.
In conclusion, you should pay attention to your Google Ads optimization score, but do so with a skeptical eye. Look for genuinely helpful recommendations, and implement those that you see — but be sure to stay wary of recommendations that aren’t in your best interest.
How to increase your optimization score in Google Ads
When Google generates your optimization score, it doesn’t just show a number without any context. It also offers specific recommendations for improving your score.
Those recommendations are split across five different categories:
- Bidding and budgets
- Keywords and targeting
- Ads and extensions
- Automated campaigns
As previously mentioned, many of your recommendations will be useful, while plenty of others are better off dismissed. It all depends on the needs of your specific business. Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect from each recommendation category!
Repair recommendations are perhaps the most objective category, which is why they’re often the most trustworthy and useful. They focus on more technical, black-and-white elements, including the following:
- Fix ads that aren’t leading to the correct URL
- Work on ad groups that don’t have any ads or keywords
- Repair issues with your conversion tracking
Since these recommendations for your Google Ads optimization score typically indicate concrete problems and aren’t very subjective, you’ll want to look out for them and fix them as soon as they appear.
2. Bidding and budgets
The bidding and budgets category is typically a mixed bag. Since it deals directly with how much money you spend on your campaigns, you’ll want to consider each recommendation before taking action — many of them won’t be good fits for you!
Some example budget recommendations — some of which are good, while others are questionable — include:
- Alert that a campaign’s budget hasn’t been used at all (good recommendation)
- Alert that a campaign’s budget has almost been used up (good recommendation)
- Turn on Smart Bidding (questionable recommendation)
To be clear, just because a recommendation is “questionable” doesn’t mean it’s bad. It might be a great idea for you! You just need to assess each recommendation based on the needs of your business.
3. Keywords and targeting
The third recommendation category focuses on keywords and targeting, assessing whether you’re targeting the right people with your ads. These recommendations aim to help you reach a more relevant audience. Some possible targeting recommendations include:
- Use customer match lists (lists of existing customers)
- Create a custom audience
- Add additional keywords
As with bidding and budgets, you’ll want to watch out for some of these recommendations. For instance, Google might recommend you add keywords that aren’t relevant to your ads.
4. Ads and extensions
These recommendations for our Google Ads optimization score center around the content and structure of your individual ads. They frequently prove useful for making your ads more engaging and drawing more clicks. Some sample ad recommendations include:
- Replace ads (update ads that haven’t been altered in a long time)
- Add ad extensions
- Use responsive search ads
Don’t follow any of these recommendations without first verifying they’ll benefit you. That said, they often tend to be helpful.
5. Automated campaigns
The final recommendation category in Google Ads is all about automated campaigns — that is, campaigns Google runs for you almost entirely on its own. The main recommendations included in this category are:
- Launch a Smart Display campaign
- Create a Local campaign
- Use a Smart Shopping campaign
Make sure you’re cautious with this category.
Automating your campaigns can have a significant impact, and you’ll want to do the research to ensure you’re making an informed decision. If you take the time to read up on it and decide that automation is the route for you, fantastic! Just make sure you don’t accept these recommendations without thinking.
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Matthew is a marketing expert focusing on the SEO & martech spaces. He has written over 500 marketing guides and video scripts for the WebFX YouTube channel. When he’s not striving to put out some fresh blog posts and articles, he’s usually fueling his Tolkien obsession or working on miscellaneous creative projects.
WebFX is a full-service marketing agency with 1000+ client reviews and a 4.9-star rating on Clutch! Find out how our expert team and revenue-accelerating tech can drive results for you! Learn more
- What is the Google Ads Optimization Score?
- How to Check Your Google Ads Optimization Score
- What is the Difference Between Quality Score and Optimization Score?
- Does Optimization Score Matter for Google Ads?
- How to Increase Your Optimization Score in Google Ads
- Improve Your Optimization Scores in Google Ads with WebFX