Optimization score in Google ads is an indicator you should pay close attention to. It shows the overall health of your accounts. Within you can find many valuable gems that can help you keep your campaigns optimized at all times and running at full performance. However, things are not always so smooth. There are some annoying things about the optimization score in google ads and we’ll cover all about them right here.

What Is Optimization Score in Google Ads?

  • Optimization Score is a metric that evaluates the potential at which your Google Ads account is performing.
  • It is found under the “Recommendations” tab on the left side of the Google Ads dashboard.
  • In the tab, there is a list of various recommendations that are tailored to your goals, strategy, and business.
  • These recommendations can be based on account, campaign, and ad group level and each one of them holds a different value. Google calls it a score uplift. 
  • The optimization score can range from 0% to 100% and regardless if you’re applying or clearing the recommendations. The score will improve until the new recommendations appear again. 
  • For more details about Optimization Score visit Google’s about page and also their Skillshop course.

Should You Follow Google Ads Recommendations?

The Google ads recommendations are incredibly useful and powerful. They give a general overview of the things that you should focus on, update and improve to help your account achieve its full performance. However, some recommendations are not 100% accurate, and small mistakes can have a significant impact on the performance.

The algorithm behind it is fairly accurate at recommending good adjustments to the ad headlines for example (to help you increase the ad strength), activating empty ad groups that have no active keywords, clearing redundant and non-serving keywords, updating your bid strategy, but there are also many caveats with the recommendations.

Here’s what you should look out for when managing recommendations in Google ads:

  • Be wary of the auto-apply recommendations: This function is still in beta, but if you make a mistake by picking the wrong changes to be auto-applied you will have a tough time fixing it because once applied automatically you can’t undo it. Just be careful with what you delegate to Google.
  • Disable automatically apply ad suggestions: Under “Settings” → “Account Settings” → “Ad Suggestions” select “Don’t automatically apply ad suggestions”. If you are specific with what you want your ads to have as headlines & descriptions, turn this feature off. You can then find the ad suggestions under ‘Recommendations’ where you can review, apply and/or dismiss them. However, if there is a headline or description that Google is recommending but is not relevant to you, there’s nothing you can do to fully dismiss it. It will keep appearing, no matter how much you dismiss it, it gets quite frustrating.
  • Never-ending recommendations to increase spending and switch to an automated strategy: If you are using any strategy other than the automated Target CPA strategy or Target ROAS, it’s guaranteed that you’ll be getting repeated recommendations to switch to those strategies. Equally, if your campaign is signaling “Limited by budget” you’ll be constantly reminded to increase the spending. There seems to be no way to permanently disable it, so just keep on dismissing it if not applicable.
  • Many of the new keywords suggestions may be irrelevant and it’s time-consuming: If you are running relatively big campaigns you will be getting a lot of keywords suggested for you to add. However, many of them didn’t seem to be relevant, and also they can accumulate quite quickly which makes checking all of them time-consuming.

How To Effortlessly Maintain a High Optimization Score in Google Ads

Sifting through all the recommendations can be quite time-consuming as there are a lot of different ones, new ones regularly appear and some of them have simply insane volumes. And so at times, it’s easy to just give up and forget about it. But quickly your optimization score will decrease and with that, your account will be missing out on potential performance.

So here are a few things you can do to make the process more manageable:

  1. Automate as many recommendations as you can: Although we mentioned to be careful with auto-applying recommendations, the Auto Apply feature is uniquely helpful when used properly. Certain recommendations such as removing redundant keywords are something you can allocate for Google to do automatically and keep your account clean.
  2. Make a schedule & review the recommendations regularly: Usually, it seems they update them at the beginning of the week, so we suggest for you to book 30-60 min at the start of the week to review them, clean them and set up your campaigns for success. 
  3. Focus on the recommendations you deem important and don’t be afraid to dismiss them: You will receive a lot of recommendations and as we have mentioned some have higher importance than others. If you are tight with time, focus on the ones that have the biggest impact first, before continuing on with the rest. Also if you don’t have lots of time to review the ones you’re not 100% sure about, don’t be afraid to dismiss them. Nothing bad will happen, if anything they will reappear next week if Google thinks they are important.
  4. Make use of Google Ads Editor when making changes in bulk instead of doing them individually one by one, it will save you time and energy. Usually, Google is able to register the change automatically and remove the recommendations, but if the recommendation is still in the account after you’ve made the change, just pick “Done it outside of recommendations, when dismissing it.

Final Thoughts & Bonus on Optimization Score in Google Ads

The optimization score and the recommendations are a good tool to assess your account’s health and find room for improvements and updates. Some recommendations are quite unique and interesting to test out. Our final thought is to be structured with managing the recommendations and also careful with automating this task.

We received a recommendation to enable the ‘Display Network’ in our search campaigns to help spend the leftover budget and bring more conversions at a similar CPA. Unfortunately in our case, this didn’t really work. We generated a lot more traffic for a much lower CPC than the average we were getting in the Search Network, however, it wasn’t the highest quality traffic and we generated few to no conversions at all. But overall it didn’t hurt to test it out, in fact, it may end up working for you.

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