Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with more tactics and relevant links to better help our readers — hope you enjoy 🙂
Original Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Pay-per-click advertising is largely driven around a fascination on how to lower CPC (cost-per-click) costs.
If you’re able to pay less for a click, then your cost per conversion will also be less, right?
The answer is yes.
So how would you even start to reduce your CPC costs? Simply lowering your bid probably won’t do the trick (in the beginning at least), so what strategic steps can you take to improve your competitiveness while still keeping your wallet healthy?
It’s All About The
Benjamins Keywords, Baby
Now, as with any industry, the potential profit from certain keywords definitely reflect the average CPCs of those keywords.
If your industry stands to make $5,000 because of the intent behind a certain keyword, then don’t expect your CPC to come down to the $1 range. That simply won’t happen, because you won’t even be on the first page of Google.com. Remember that ad rank is Bid x Quality Score.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a lower CPC than your competitor, rank higher than he does, and laugh harder on your way to the bank.
6 Incredible Ways To Lower CPC Costs
Here are 6 incredible (and simple) ways to lower CPC costs in both Bing Ads and Google Ads management.
You must be tired of hearing this one right? Well, you shouldn’t be. The best PPC agency campaigns in the world are the ones that are extremely granular. Meaning, they have only one keyword per ad group (yes, one. But you’re allowed to have different match types), with extremely relevant ads to that keyword. They then have specific landing pages for that keyword and those ads. So the messaging in the ad is consistent with the messaging on the landing page.
“Wait a minute! That sounds like a lot of work Johnathan!”
It sure is, amazing blog post reader, but my advice for you is to start small and see the results for yourself. Take your most popular keyword and follow that recipe. And if it works, then go ahead and duplicate for other keywords.
BONUS TIP: Make sure the text on your landing page is “highlightable”, so Google’s crawlers/spiders can crawl the text and see the relevancy between your keywords, ads, and landing page.
2) Quality Score
Oh yeaaaa! We can’t forget quality score. If you’ve followed and implemented #1, then you’ll be happy to know that a higher quality score is a (fortunate) side effect of relevancy.
When you start creating highly targeted ads for your one keyword, then click through rate (CTR) will ultimately go up, and when CTR goes up, quality scores go up, and when quality scores go up, ad rank goes up, and a lower CPC can become a reality.
Woop woop! But we’re not done yet.
3) Click Through Rate
One of the things that I love about pay-per-click marketing is the speed. We get to see the results of our efforts very quickly, and we can then determine which direction to take.
It’s therefore vital that you frequently create new ads to compete against your winning ads. What do I mean by that? Don’t settle for a CTR of 6% with one winning ad, try to improve it.
Heck, even if your quality score is 10/10, there are still better words to use, better call to actions to implement, and more beneficial benefits to a visitor. Test them all!
4) Lower Your Bids
So you’re seeing that your quality scores are going up and your ad ranks are going up as well. But sometimes Google decides to make you pay the same CPC as you did before.
Why is that? Well, let’s just say that I don’t completely trust the automated system that is supposed to only charge you 1 cent more than the ad below (granted all metrics are the same between you two).
So when you have successfully completed steps 1-3, you can then start lowering your CPC bids in small decrements. And when you do so, keep an eye on your average position and make sure that doesn’t suffer. You’ll be surprised at how far down your CPCs can go while keeping everything else the same.
Now you should be able to keep your high ad rank and a lower CPC for those keywords! Hooray!
BONUS TIP: One thing you don’t want to sacrifice with lower CPCs is volume. Why save 30% on CPCs when your volume drops 50%?
Also, if you’re able to lower CPCs, then make sure you return on investment isn’t suffering either.
5) Negative Keywords
One thing people often neglect is their search query report. When you take a look at this report, you’re able to see all the keywords that your ads are showing for.
And I have been told by several Google reps that the continuous addition of negative keywords allows the system to improve itself and also improve the overall health of your account. It also narrows in on the relevancy of your campaigns and ad groups, taking you back to tip number 1.
And on top of that, you’ll stop paying for keywords you don’t want to pay for!
6) Location, Device, And Ad Schedule
Any experienced marketer will know that there’s more to bidding than just keywords.
You can consider other areas for bid adjustments that can help lower your CPCs.
Try asking these questions:
- Location – Which areas in my location targeting bring about the most conversions with a relatively good CPA? Which locations bring about bad performance?
- Device – Which device, computer, tablet, or mobile, bring about good and bad results?
- Ad Schedule – Which time of day converts higher?
In asking these questions you’ll find that there are areas of low performance and high performance where CPC’s can be decreased and increased. In increasing the bids during instances of high performance, your ad can become more visible – thus hopefully increasing conversion rates.
In summary, lowering your CPC is often times more related to you whittling down your audience to eliminate wasted ad spend and clicks than it is anything else.
The more refined your understanding of your audience is, and the better you can craft your ad messaging directly to your ideal customer/ client, the higher your click-through-rates will climb without increasing costs and the lower your CPCs will continue to drop.