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SES – Ads in a Quality Score World

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Day 1 of SES San Jose is in the books. It was a busy one for me. I managed to moderate a fast-paced session on Search Landscape, speak on Ad Quality, and took in a new session on Ad exchanges.

The Ads in a Quality Score World panel was moderated by Danny Sullivan. In this session I tend to amuse myself by watching carefully for subtle wordings, especially in statements by Googlers.

This shouldn’t be surprising, in a way! Imagine if they gave as much info away in the SEO sessions as sometimes we get in the ad sessions. :) No wonder I now think of the Ads Quality session as the "new SEO" session at SES… as with New York, a large hall was absolutely packed for this one!

So Clay Bavor of Google came up with a couple of interesting nuances in an otherwise fairly straightforward overview and Q&A. On the question of how often quality scores are updated (as various pieces of data on keyword relevancy, CTR’s, landing pages, human editorial review may be flowing in on different timetables), Bavor improvised brilliantly: he said Google’s quality score updates are "relatively real-time." Relatively real-time! Take that you software benefits copywriters! Googlers can improvise this stuff in front of 1,000 people. It would take you a week to dream that up.

Bavor also noted that the old formula for elevation to premium placement, it was "auction price," not max bid, that was a key part of the formula. "Auction price" is what your next lowest competitor is bidding. However, I had always recalled that they said this was "actual price" (real historical CPC) on your keyword, not "auction price." I suppose I could go back and figure out when that story changed, or if I mis-remember it. Remember, at SES there is always a way to amuse yourself, even when on the same panel several times in a row. For me, it’s all about the subtle nuances.

On a related note, congrats to Hitwise’s Bill Tancer for the 10th anniversary of his Search Landscape presentations! (10 presentations, not all the same though Bill, we know :) ).

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