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Click quality is an important concern for pay-per-click advertisers. Invalid, or low-quality, clicks can negatively impact overall campaign performance. Consider that click-through rate (CTR) is the ratio of the number of times an ad is clicked to the number of times the ad is displayed. If there is a significant amount of irrelevant clicks, CTR will be inflated, thus throwing off performance reporting.

Microsoft Advertising uses real-time and post-click systems and performance reports to guard against click fraud, and low-quality or invalid clicks.

After reading this training, you will understand how to:

  • Recognize how Microsoft Advertising categorizes clicks.
  • Monitor low-quality clicks.
  • Report low-quality clicks, click fraud, and invalid clicks. 

Basics of Microsoft Advertising click quality

Each time your ad is clicked, Microsoft Advertising categorizes the click as either a standard-quality click, a low-quality click, or an invalid click.

  • Standard-quality: Clicks that have the highest potential to drive customer awareness of your business and boost your conversion rate.
  • Low-quality: Clicks that exhibit a low likelihood of commercial intent and rarely result in conversions or value to your business.
  • Invalid: Clicks that fall into the low-quality category which exhibit characteristics of user error, search engine robots, spiders, test servers, questionable sources, or fraudulent activity.

You are billed for standard-quality clicks, and should not be billed for low-quality or invalid clicks.

Using Reports

You can use several different kinds of performance reports to help you identify low-quality clicks, invalid clicks, and click fraud:

  • The Keyword, Campaign, Ad and Ad group reports tell you which campaigns are performing well and how your keywords are contributing to campaign performance.
  • The Search term report shows you which keywords cause your ads to display.
  • The Share of voice report gives you an estimate on where you are losing to competitors in the marketplace.

Note: Microsoft Advertising doesn’t include campaigns, ad groups, keywords, etc. with zero impressions in any reports.

Keyword report


The data available in the different performance reports offer a snapshot of how your campaigns are performing with regards to click quality. Each Microsoft Advertising report contains a subset of attributes and statistics, displayed in a column.

Screenshot of Reports page and where to select click and impression quality metrics in your performance reports.

Here are the definitions of the most common report fields you need to know for understanding click quality:

  • Clicks: the number of clicks or other user input on any clickable element of your ad, including the ad title, display URL or phone number.
  • Click Call: the number of clicks on a clickable Call Extension phone number. This includes clicks on metered (call forwarding) and non-metered phone numbers.
  • Click share: the percentage of clicks that went to your ads. It is the share of the prospective customer's mindshare and buying intent you captured.
  • Conversion rate (%): the number of conversions, divided by the total number of clicks.
  • Low-quality click conversion rate (%): the conversion rate of clicks that originate from low-quality clicks.
  • Low-quality click conversions: Conversions that originate from low-quality clicks.
  • Low-quality click rate (%): The number of low-quality clicks, divided by the total number of clicks.
  • Low-quality clicks: Clicks that exhibit a low likelihood of commercial intent and for which customers are not billed.

Note: After you run a report, you can customize its layout by rearranging the attributes and performance statistics or by filtering out unwanted data.

Monitoring clicks

To understand where your business’s high performing traffic comes from, you may also need to exclude certain websites from the Microsoft Advertising Partner Network. You can find out what those are by accessing the Website URL (publisher) report on the Reports page.

Website URL (publisher) report


Much like click-through rate is a percentage of impressions resulting in a click, conversion rate is the percentage of ad clicks that result in a conversion, for example, a purchase or a registration. A sudden change in your conversion rate could mean an increase in low-quality and invalid clicks. Using conversion tracking and Microsoft Advertising Universal Event Tracking makes it possible to analyze the number of clicks your ads are getting and the number of conversions being generated.

Quality Score

Microsoft Advertising quality score shows you the quality of your keywords, ads, and landing pages, which helps you understand how competitive your ads are in the marketplace. Your quality score can range from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. Monitoring your quality score regularly can help you identify keywords, ad groups or campaigns where click quality may be an issue.

Components of quality score include CTR and Expected click-through rate, which has sub-scores of Above Average, Average, and Below Average. If there is an influx of low-quality or invalid clicks and CTR drops, quality score may drop as well. Beyond click quality, monitoring quality score can help you to determine the overall relevancy and health of your campaigns.

Let’s say your keyword had a quality score of 4. You could research the Expected click-through rate component to investigate if it’s Below Average. If it is, then you can make changes to improve it by optimizing negative keywords, ad copy or landing pages. For tips on how to do this, read more about quality score in depth.

Increased Traffic

Sudden increases in click volume can be the result of many factors, and can often be good for you and your business. Increased click volume could be entirely made up of good clicks. Check if the following may be causing increased click volume:

  • Seasonal changes, such as an increase in online shopping during the holidays.
  • Sales, discounts, or promotions that increase visibility and bring extra traffic to your site.
  • Recent news events that stimulate online consumer interest and web traffic.
  • Changes to your ad headlines or text, or changes to your landing pages.

To account for natural fluctuations, set up a daily or monthly budget that allows for trends and fluctuations.

Reporting low-quality clicks

If you’ve identified low-quality click activity and/or suspect click fraud that Microsoft Advertising has not detected, contact Microsoft Advertising Support. A Microsoft Advertising representative will contact you once they receive your inquiry. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, your bill may be adjusted.


Click quality is important to all pay-per-click advertisers — it directly correlates with campaign performance. While working with your campaigns, remember these key points about click quality:

  • Monitor ad click-through and conversion rates.
  • Use performance reports to identify sources of low-quality activities.
  • Set up a monthly budget allowing for trends and fluctuations.
  • Review your quality scores to identify potential Below Average click-through rates.
  • Contact Microsoft Advertising Support to report suspected low-quality click activity.

Thanks for reading this training on click quality. Continue your training or move onto take the Microsoft Advertising Certified Professional exam to become certified.

Please note all features in this training may not be available in your market.