Google’s Recommendations and Optimisation Score

We take a look at Google Ads’ Recommendations and Optimisation Score features and how to use them to improve your performance.

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Back in August when I wrote about the new, what was then called, AdWords interface, I briefly touched upon the new Recommendations section. In this post we explore that further…

Found in the left hand navigation column when logged into Google Ads, below ‘Overview’ the ‘Recommendations’ section provides campaign specific suggestions for how to improve your account:

Once you have clicked on the option you can see ‘your optimisation score’, either for the whole account or if you click into a campaign on the far left hand side, in the black navigation menu, you can see the score for that individual campaign.

Google states that your “optimisation score is an estimate of how well your Google Ads account is set to perform.” The score is a percentage, 0% being total rubbish, and 100% being perfect (and therefore with no recommendations that Google could suggest for improvement).

In order to improve your optimisation score Google provides ‘recommendations’, hence the name of the feature, to increase your score. These recommendations include bid and budget changes, keyword and targeting alterations, and ad and extension amendments. Each idea includes details of the increase you could see in your score if you were to implement the suggestion(s) – this indicates how important these changes are deemed by Google.

Google makes it super simple for advertisers and agencies to implement the recommendations; you can simply hit ‘view XX recommendations’ (there could be a number of recommendations if they apply to several campaigns or ad groups, for example) and then read about what it is suggesting and why. If you wish to action the change(s), simply hit ‘apply all’:

With most suggestions, there will be information about how the change(s) could impact performance. So for example, if the suggestion is to change the bidding strategy to Target CPA, there’ll be information about what you should set the target CPA to and also how it could impact weekly conversions, weekly cost, and also cost per conversion for each campaign.

However sometimes, in order to get a perfect score, Google’s recommendation is simply to spend more money, like this for example:

Now, this isn’t always an option for advertisers, as the vast majority have a budget and want to/have to stick to that budget, so luckily Google’s optimisation score isn’t taken into account when it comes to Ad Rank and Quality Score. Phew!

I would say that whilst these suggestions are a good guide and can offer up some ideas of how to improve the quality of your campaigns, they should certainly not be applied willy-nilly. Each one should be looked at individually and carefully considered, by a human, to see if they genuinely could improve the performance of the account.

For example, Google might suggest that you split some ad groups into smaller ad groups, but usually the suggestions for those new ad groups are not quite right. You can therefore take the suggestion and look at your list of keywords to see if there are smaller groups you could split them up into, but not necessarily in the way that Google has suggested.

When it comes to bid strategy changes it can be hard to know whether it is the right choice or not. In this case you could always set up an experiment and test the new bid strategy against the old one to fairly see if it does have a positive impact on your campaign performance or not.

There is an option to dismiss ideas, which triggers a feedback box so you can tell Google exactly what you think of the suggestion and why you will not be implementing this one:

I like to take the time to provide accurate feedback so that Google can hopefully improve its suggestions in the future.

What are your thoughts on Google’s recommendations? Take the time to share your thoughts below.

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