Ad Strength is a Google Ads metric that scores ad creatives. The better your score, the higher your ad’s visibility. Learn from experts why this metric is important, how to increase Ad Strength, and common mistakes to avoid.

How strong are your ad creatives? With Ad Strength, Google Ads gives advertisers a simple metric to measure ad copy, images, and videos from incomplete to excellent.

Discover what this score means for ad performance, how to achieve higher Ad Strength, and when it’s worth putting resources into improving this rating.

What is Ad Strength in Google Ads?

Ad Strength is a Google Ads metric that rates your ad creatives based on how well they align with the platform’s best practices. Think of it as an optimization score for your pay-per-click (PPC) ad creatives.

This metric reflects the effectiveness of your ads by considering three main factors:

  1. Relevance: Do the assets include relevant keywords?
  2. Diversity: How different are the assets from one another? In other words, do they provide enough unique options for the algorithm to mix, match, and test ad combinations?
  3. Quality: Do the assets meet Google or YouTube quality guidelines?

When assigning an Ad Strength rating, Google Ads uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze ad copy (e.g., headlines and descriptions) and ad creatives (e.g., images and videos). The platform doesn’t consider the ad group’s keyword list or ad extensions like sitelinks and callouts.

Google Ads then gives each ad one of five Ad Strength ratings:

  1. Incomplete: The ad doesn’t yet include the minimum required creative assets.
  2. Poor: The ad meets the minimum requirements but needs more assets for optimal performance.
  3. Average: The ad checks most of the boxes but needs a wider variety of assets to improve performance.
  4. Good: The ad could benefit from minor changes (i.e., adding or diversifying assets) for better performance.
  5. Excellent: The ad has a high chance of performing well and doesn’t need additional optimization.

You can view this rating at the top of the assets panel during ad creation. It automatically updates as you add, remove, or change assets. You can also check your Google Ads dashboard to see Ad Strength for any active ad or asset group.

For example, here’s a Performance Max ad with average Ad Strength:


How does Ad Strength affect Google Ads campaigns?

Technically, Ad Strength doesn’t affect Google Ads campaigns — at least, not directly. It isn’t a ranking signal that impacts how your ad performs in the auction or how often it appears in search engine results or on Display Network sites.

Remember, it reflects how well an ad adheres to Google’s best practices for creative assets. In fact, Google’s documentation states this rating shows how well your ads make a good first impression on your target audience.

As a result, Ad Strength can be a leading indicator of your conversion rate. After all, it indicates the quality, relevance, and diversity of your ad. These elements can all affect how your target audience views and engages with your ads.

So what does poor Ad Strength mean for your ads? And should you really aim to achieve excellent Ad Strength?

If you’re wondering, “does ad strength matter,” Google Ads studies suggest that it does — at least in some cases. Making significant improvements to Ad Strength can have a quantifiable impact on campaign performance. According to Google’s internal data, improving Ad Strength from poor to excellent drives 12% more conversions for responsive search ads (RSA).

Quality Score vs. Ad Strength: What’s the difference?

Quality Score and Ad Strength measure different elements and have unique purposes for your Google Ads account.

Quality Score is a comparative tool. It measures your ad quality against other advertisers. Using a scale from 1 to 10, Google Ads assigns a Quality Score to keywords attached to search campaigns.

In addition, Quality Score is a confirmed Ad Rank factor. Your Google Ad Rank determines if and where your ads appear on search engine results pages (SERPs), so it’s a critical factor in driving more impressions and improving ad performance.

In contrast, Ad Strength provides feedback about your ad creatives. It applies to a wider range of ad types, including Performance Max, Demand Gen, and Display. However, it doesn’t directly affect your ad performance.

So is it worth investing in improving Ad Strength? In many cases, yes. For example, HawkSEM worked with HomElectrical to increase advertising efficiency. Our efforts led to:

  • 32% more clicks from Google Ads
  • 19% higher return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • 99% more revenue

Common mistakes that can hurt your Google Ad Strength

Small mistakes can lead to average or even poor Ad Strength ratings. Watch for these errors as you create new ads and as you optimize them over time:

Including only the minimum number of assets in each ad

Uploading the minimum number of assets to an ad can improve your ad’s rating from incomplete to poor. But for Google Ad Strength, poor means there’s a lot of room for improvement.


As Google’s internal studies show, raising Ad Strength from poor to excellent can increase conversions by over 10%. This increase can improve campaign results and ROAS.

Failing to include relevant keywords in ads

You could add the maximum number of headlines and descriptions to your ads. But if they don’t include relevant keywords, the Ad Strength could remain average.

To move the needle and achieve an excellent rating, go beyond asset quantity alone. Pay attention to the keywords you include in each asset and aim for maximum relevance.

Pinning too many assets in search ads

When you build RSAs, you may need to pin specific assets to ensure they always appear in your ads. But if you pin too many assets, the lack of diversity can decrease Ad Strength.

Always aim to pin as few assets as possible in RSA ads. For instance, only pin headlines you’re required (i.e., by legal) to include in ads. The more variety you include, the higher the Ad Strength is likelier to be.

Neglecting to check Ad Stregnth over time

Google Ads gives every ad an Ad Strength rating during the creation process. But securing an excellent rating at launch doesn’t mean the ad will keep its high Ad Strength.

Instead, Ad Strength can change over time, especially for campaigns with automatically created assets. Google Ads regularly updates this metric over time, so check throughout the life of the campaign.

How to improve Google Ad Strength

One of the biggest perks of Ad Strength is that Google Ads provides clear guidelines for improving it. You’ll see these recommendations during the ad creation process and when you click to edit any active ad:

Write more high-quality headlines or descriptions

Start by writing more headlines or descriptions if you haven’t already reached the maximum. Create high-quality copy that positions your offer, speaks to your target audience, and represents your brand effectively.

If you’re out of ideas, use Google Ads’ suggestion tool in the ad creation workflow. Review any suggested headlines or descriptions for accuracy and relevance before applying them to your ads.

Make your headlines or descriptions more unique

Adding the maximum number of assets won’t help if they’re too similar. Instead of writing 15 almost identical headlines or descriptions, create as many original assets with unique copy.

The most common mistake digital marketing specialist Nick Gibson sees is using multiple extremely similar headline variations. When he takes over campaigns from previous agencies or freelancers, he often see tiny variations.

“This can effectively ‘trick’ Google’s system into assigning a high Ad Strength score because of the many headlines and description texts, but it sells the campaign short as it doesn’t give Google’s system much to work with for testing distinct variations,” explains Gibson. “The idea behind Ad Strength is to encourage uniqueness, which I think is a good thing for the majority of large scale, broad match campaigns that run on Google Ads.”

Remember, not every headline or description has to detail the offer. Ad copy can highlight your brand and mention its unique selling point (USP) or appeal to your target audience.

Although headline and description copy may overlap somewhat, keep them as distinct as possible. Demand Gen ads reward the diversity of your ad copy but may show a low Ad Strength score if headlines are similar to descriptions.

Use dynamic keyword insertion

One of the best ways to improve ad relevance is to include more high-volume keywords. For responsive search ads, Google Ads automatically highlights the most popular keywords to prioritize.

Another way to include more relevant headlines is to use dynamic keyword insertion. This setting automatically inserts keywords from your ad group into the ad copy when your text ads display in search results.

Add more images or videos with a variety of aspect ratios

For Demand Gen, Performance Max, and display ads, Google Ads Ad Strength factors in more than copy alone. Each campaign type requires a different mix of images, logos, and videos.

With these kinds of Google Ads, poor Ad Strength may indicate you need more images or videos in specific formats. For best results, upload at least one image, logo, or video in each of the recommended aspect ratios.

When you upload more creatives, you give Google options to build responsive ads that fit multiple placements. As a result, the platform can create more relevant ads to reach your target audience.

If your team has limited creative production capacity, use Google Ads’ built-in tools to produce more images or videos cost-effectively. For example, you can:

  • Use Google Ads templates to create videos in any format. All you need is a handful of images and a few lines of copy. You can add royalty-free music and voiceovers directly in the asset library.
  • Include Google Ads’ stock images in your ads instead of producing your own. Browse the asset library to find existing images that align with your brand and offer.
  • Leverage Google Ads’ generative AI images. To avoid reusing stock images, you can generate unique ad creatives directly in the asset library.

Set a schedule to check Ad Strength

Ad Strength can change over time, especially for RSAs. To ensure your ads always align with Google’s best practices, check Ad Strength regularly — weekly, for example.

You can check Ad Strength for multiple campaigns or ads quickly by adding “Ad strength details” to the campaign column view. At a glance, you’ll see the number of ads and the Ad Strength score for each campaign.

To check Ad Strength for individual ads, navigate to your ads dashboard. Add “Ad Strength” to the column view to monitor scores easily. Add “Ad strength improvements” to the column view to see which improvements Google Ads suggests without opening each ad.

For Performance Max campaigns, check the asset groups dashboard. You’ll see Ad Strength listed below each asset group.

asset group

If the Ad Strength score is below your goal for the ad or asset group, click to edit it. You’ll see specific suggestions to improve this metric. For example, if you see Ad Strength “poor,” Google Ads will suggest writing more headlines, including more keywords, or uploading more images.

Review Google Ads recommendations

Although you can check Ad Strength manually, you don’t have to. When your Ad Strength score could use some improvement, Google Ads will typically tell you on the recommendations dashboard.

Ads recommendations

To update ads or asset groups with Ad Strength scores below excellent, click the “Get started” link on your recommendations dashboard. Then follow the suggestions to improve your assets.

Expert tips to create high-performing Google Ads campaigns

To run high-performing campaigns, use these tips for managing Ad Strength and much more:

Remove low-performing assets

Not all your assets will perform as well as others. To monitor performance, use PPC tracking tools like Google Ads’ built-in dashboards. From the asset group dashboard, you can view performance for every active asset.

To find assets needing replacement, sort by performance. Then review all headlines, descriptions, images, and videos with a low performance rating. You can pause them directly from the dashboard and edit the ad group to add replacements.

top-performing combinations

Find top-performing combinations

Curious how to make better-performing ads? Review the top-performing ad combinations on your asset group dashboard.

Here, you’ll see how Google combines assets — including ad extensions. Use what’s already working for your audience to inspire more top-performing iterations.

Follow the buyer’s journey

Tracking and attribution can pinpoint what works for your audience so you can optimize your ads. At HawkSEM, we believe tracking is an essential element of any marketing or advertising campaign.

That’s why we developed ConversionIQ (CIQ) to track each step of the buyer’s journey. When we know which aspects of a campaign are working (e.g., ad copy), we can optimize ads and trim where necessary. Over time, this practice enables us to reach a higher ROAS month over month and year over year.

Tracking Google Ads campaigns with CIQ offers in-depth insight into clients’ target audiences. We apply that data across other marketing channels (e.g., SEO or paid social) to scale our efforts while running profitable campaigns.

Know when to prioritize Quality Score over Ad Strength

If your team has limited campaign management resources, you may not have the capacity to check and optimize every element regularly. When running RSA ads with exact match keywords, prioritizing Quality Score over Ad Strength is often better.

According to Gibson, the importance and value of Ad Strength as a metric will vary a lot based on the types of campaigns you run.

“I mostly run focused campaigns with separate ad groups for at most 2-3 keywords and very targeted, precise ad copy,” Gibson shares. “Google naturally assigns these ads a low Ad Strength based on the lack of headline variations.”

He states that in a broad match campaign with looser targeting, Ad Strength is much more important.

“Often my most successful campaigns have very low average Ad Strength but perform well because they target very specific exact match keywords and have large negative keyword lists,” continues Gibson.

“It’s possible to get a strong Quality Score with a low Ad Strength. Quality Score is mostly driven by click-through rate (CTR), landing page experience, and ad relevance. So if your ad creative is relevant and your landing page closely matches your keywords, a low Ad Strength shouldn’t stand in the way of a high Quality Score.”

A/B test ad assets

“Ad messaging and setup are vital parts of the overall performance of your Google Ads campaigns. It all starts with the initial click, achieved through compelling ad copy,” shares Sam Yadegar, CEO of HawkSEM.

“Getting this right and ensuring your messaging resonates with the target audience shouldn’t be overlooked. This is a big part of our process. We also think it’s important to do continuous A/B testing of ad copy to enhance performance.”

Keep in mind that the A/B testing process itself can lead to low Ad Strength scores — at least temporarily.

“Oftentimes PPC professionals must test various messaging options, and RSAs don’t have a great way to do this,” explains digital marketing expert Matt Hirsch. “What you often have to do is test various headlines and descriptions by duplicating an ad, swapping out text, and pinning the ad copy you’d like to test.”

“Almost always,” he continues, “this results in a poor Ad Strength score. However, if you’re testing your ad units properly, those poor or average scores sometimes have a higher CTR than an ad tagged as excellent.”

As a result, running successful PPC campaigns is all about optimizing for the metrics that matter most to your brand.

The takeaway

Ad Strength may not be the most important factor in optimizing Google Ads, but improving it can get your ads in front of your target audience, increasing clicks and conversions.

With so many different asset types to manage for each campaign, monitoring Ad Strength can be challenging. It can be especially difficult to juggle when you factor in other key optimizations, such as Quality Score and bidding.

We’re here to help. Our experienced Google Ads team is ready to partner with you on everything from improving Ad Strength for Google Ads to developing cross-channel ad strategies.

To learn more, book a free consultation to learn how we can enhance your brand’s Google Ads campaigns through improved Ad Strength and other diagnostic tools.

Anna Sonnenberg

Anna Sonnenberg

Anna Sonnenberg is a writer for B2B SaaS companies. She specializes in product-led and strategic content for marketing technology, sales automation, and productivity tools.