Pay per click advertising (PPC) is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked.
Google AdWords allows for automated and manual bidding methods for PPC ad management. Each has their benefits, however, manual bidding is the primary strategy many people use for CPC optimization, as it gives a high level of control to AdWords administrators.
With manual Cost-Per-Click bidding, you set the maximum cost for each click on your ads. This is an excellent value for many businesses since you only pay when someone is interested in your product or service enough to click the ad. Manual CPC bidding gives you the most control over how much you spend within AdWords.
Once you have chosen to use manual cost-per-click, you can go through your list of keywords, and raise or lower your spend, based on the maximum CPC or the highest amount you’re willing to pay for each click. Two factors weigh heavily on CPC; the competition for keywords and the quality score. The higher the quality score, the lower the cost-per-click.
Max CPC vs. Actual CPC
The final amount you’re charged for a click is the actual CPC, it’s often less than the maximum CPC. That is because the most advertisers pay is what’s minimally required to hold ad position, essentially paying just enough to beat the other advertisers, in the AdWords auction.
You can change your max CPC bid in two ways by Ad Group or at the keyword level, for groups of keywords or individual terms.
If you want all keywords in a group to have the same bid, you can set this CPC at the ad group level, or by adjusting your “default bid.” Doing this gives you manual control and is less involved than bidding on each keyword individually.
If you want each keyword or a group of keywords to have different bids, you can go into each keyword and set them one by one. This allows ultimate control on a granular level, but can also become cumbersome, if you’re dealing with a large number of ad groups and thousands of keywords.
If you’re not sure how to determine CPC, the keyword planner tool offers insight on cost-estimates and impressions. Bid simulator offers details for hypothetical scenarios and bids. First-page bid estimates show information on what it will take to land your ad on the first Google Search Results Page.
To see the first page bids estimates login to AdWords
- Click “Campaigns”.
- Select “Keywords”.
- Click the “Columns” button.
- Choose “Modify Columns”.
- In the attributes section choose “Est. first page bid”, “Est.top page bid” and “Est. first position. bid”
- Make sure to “Apply” these column settings or save.
Setting the right PPC is one important step in your AdWords campaign, as is effectively managing bids. To learn about the best ways to set a daily or monthly budget check out these PPC budgeting tips.
Evolve Digital Labs’ Resources
- Learn about Automated Bidding
- Discover how to Make the Most of Paid Search Bids
- Get information on Maximizing Clicks
- Review PPC Budgeting Guidance
Not sure how your manual bidding is impacting overall AdWords performance? Get your AdWords Graded with the free Evolve Digital Labs AdWords Grader.
When working on your CPC optimization strategy, you have an alternative to manually bidding on every term. Automated bidding takes the work (and guesswork) out of setting bids. For many, automatic bidding is a step in finding the answer for “How to reduce CPC”.
If you are looking to lower a high cost per click or simply an easy way to improve your positioning without filling up your time adjusting budgets, these automated bidding PPC tools could be the solution.
Using Automated Bidding to Meet Your Goals
Before you set up an automated bidding profile, it’s important to look at your PPC campaign goals. Then, your bids can be more easily adjusted to align with objectives. There are six automated bid strategies in AdWords. Most can be applied to campaigns, ad groups and keywords.
- Increase Site Visits – If you want more visitors to come to your site, the automated bidding strategy you will want to use is “maximize clicks.” This approach is just as it sounds: get as many clicks as possible within your budget. For instance, if you notice a keyword is performing very well and converting searchers to customers, you may want to apply “maximize clicks” to that keyword or ad group.
- Increase Visibility on Google – The “Target Search Page Location” function will help you appear on the first Search Engine Results page. Bids are increased or lowered so your ad is served on the first SERP. However, the exact location of your ad will depend on the outcome of the Ad auction, including advertiser competition and overall quality score. Settings can be adjusted for ad placement, bid automation and bid adjustment. Keep in mind “Target Search Page Location” is applied as a portfolio bid strategy, and bids will be adjusted several times a day as needed. When would you apply this strategy? If you have a new product that you’d like to drum up interest in, but don’t want to create an entirely new ad group or campaign to generate interest, you may use “Target Search Page Location”
- Gain Visibility over Specific Competitors – Using “Target Outranking Share” increases or lowers bids to help your ads rank higher and more often than ads from other specified domains. This setting will not improve overall Ad Rank it will only help your standing in comparison to another domain’s ads, and the desired outcomes are still predicated by the AdWords auction. If you’re not sure who to “target” but want to continue with competitive campaigns look at the auction insights report. Keep in mind “Target Outranking Share” can only be applied as a portfolio bid strategy.
- Achieve More Conversions – “Target CPA” helps you achieve more acquisitions. Target CPA (Cost-per-acquisition) adjusts to an optimal CPC every time your ad is eligible for auction. Some conversions may cost less than your target, others may be higher. AdWords works to set the CPA equal to what you’ve set up. Remember bidding can be applied as a standard or portfolio bid strategy. Target CPA bidding has historically been called Conversion optimizer. To setup CPA your campaign has to meet a few requirements.
- Tracking conversion data is already set up in AdWords
- Ad Group or campaigns have at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days.
- Conversions across a campaign or Ad Group are at a similar rate for several days.
- Adjust Your Manual Settings – “Enhanced Cost Per Click” is a setting that allows you to make smart adjustments to your manually set bids. ECPC raises bids in situations that seem more likely to lead to a sale or other conversion. Bids are lowered for situations where a conversion or sale seems less likely. For instance, if your max CPC is set to a dollar and you sell plant food online, if AdWords sees an auction that will likely lead a searcher to purchase plant food, then your max bid is adjusted by as much as 30% higher, or $1.30 in this case. ECPC is an optional feature with manual CPC bidding or as a portfolio bid strategy. If you are interested in automated bidding, you may want to start here—and make small changes across campaigns.
- Meet a Certain Return – “Target ROAS” – Target Return on Ad Spend sets up bids to help increase conversion value, in relation to the Return on Ad Spend set. Certain requirements for Target ROAS must be met first:
- Values for tracked conversions are set.
- Ad Groups or campaigns with “Target ROAS” need 15 or more conversions in 30 days, and a history of consistent conversions.
- Conversions across campaign or Ad Group are at a similar rate for several days.
How do you determine your Target ROAS? You’ll need to modify the columns in the statistics table and select the conversions column then choose “Conv. value/cost” multiply that by 100 to get your target ROAS percentage. For instance, if your goal is to make $8 for every $1 spent, then Target ROAS is 800%.
Setting an affordable CPC and effective bid strategies is a vital step towards successful digital marketing campaigns. If you’re just getting started with AdWords, automated bidding may not be the most-effective strategy for your account. If you’d like further assistance with bidding or have additional questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 1-844-GO-EVOLVE.
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