21.4% of Paid Search Experts Get Right Answer to Tough Question


In a recent Ultimate Quality Score Guide created by WordStream, 14 PPC experts including me were asked the annoying, but ultimately revealing, question:

“(Question #4:) Quality Score vs. Bid Management: If you could pull just one of these levers in every PPC account you touch, which would you pull and why?”

Andrew Goodman said: “Hello! It’s all about bids.”

George Michie said: “It’s about bid management, hands down.”

Elizabeth Marsten said: “Bid management. You pay what you pay.”

Thus 21.4% of us actually got the right answer.

Now, I’ve been “optimizing for Quality Score” since 2002 when it was CTR only, and I’ve been explaining how and dealing with how different versions of the formula cause low CTR’s to harm your account, in great detail, for that entire time. So I’m secure enough in my QualityHood that I don’t feel I have anything to prove there. I assume Michie and Marsten, as well, know they don’t need to impress anyone, because unlike most marketers, they get the math.

Richard Cotton (7.1%) actually agreed with us, and in fact criticized others for giving “evasive answers,” but then left in two references to how it is both and they are “inter-related”. So, while claiming not to hedge his bets, he hedged his bets.

7 of 14 (50%!!) gave often painfully evasive answers, choosing to not only speak in favor of both levers, but also in some cases, kicking into the big sell of all of the other factors you need to consider. One had hyperlinks to two bid management and campaign automation companies in his response, even though he voted for Quality Score. One respondent, on about his 7th coffee apparently, even mentioned trademark infringement, dayparting, and affiliate URL hijacking. Talk about changing the subject.

3 of 14 (21.4%) voted for Quality Score. Two of the three work at WordStream, so they’re clearly selling something. A WordStream white paper on improving Quality Score was promoted right in the text of the interview.

You do have to wonder how the marketplace will be educated when most vendors are pitching even when they’re supposed to be answering direct questions. I’d like to thank George and Elizabeth for confirming that I’m not crazy.

[To the fellow gurus, I know you’re on the ball most of the time, so maybe this is more along the lines of the disgruntled electorate’s plea to “shut up and answer the question”. Shifty answers suggest you either don’t know, or are selling me something other than an answer.]

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