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.
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- 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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In terms of Google AdWords, one of the most important numbers to always keep a watchful eye on is your Quality Score. This is a number on a scale of one to ten that is essentially an estimate of how relevant the content of your ads and landing pages are when compared to the keywords users are searching for.
How Quality Score and Ad Rank are Calculated
Google’s Quality Score formula, (Expected Clickthrough Rate X Ad Relevance X Landing Page Experience) which itself is ultimately used to calculate ad rank, is determined by whether or not users are actually finding what they’re looking for in your ads and on your landing pages.
Google AdWords assesses expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, landing page experience, giving each a status of above average, average, or below average.
The benefits of a high-Quality Score are many. Not only does it mean that your content will rank higher on Google, but your display ads will pay more per click as a result. To say that your Quality Score is important, in that sense, is something of an understatement.
As a result, the answer to the question “What is a good Quality Score?” is simple – “The highest one you can get.” 10 out of 10 is obviously ideal, but anything in the 8 to 10 range should be able to help you get the results that you’re after. Your ROI will start to diminish with each point you drop beyond that.
Tips for Improving Quality Score and Overall Performance
Though the precise way that Google’s Quality Score is calculated is kept secret to avoid people gaming the system, there are a number of steps that you can take to start improving it today.
Get more information on how to check quality score.
If ad relevance needs improvement strive to make your ads more direct or more closely related to search queries. Answer questions potential customers might have about your products or services right on your landing page.
- Segment Ad Groups – Create more targeted creative
- Connect Media with the User’s Intent
- Integrate Negative Keywords into Account Structure
To improve CTR create more compelling ad text. Expected click through rate hinges on ad messaging and creative that inspires action on the page you’re driving traffic to. Don’t always use the same call to action, experiment with CTA messaging. Make sure to highlight unique benefits and products offered.
- Create Compelling Ad Text
- Inspire Action on Landing Pages
- Experiment with CTA Messaging
If landing page experience is below average —
Go through your landing pages and make sure that you’re not only using your target keywords, but also related keywords to increase relevancy. However, it’s important to not litter a page with keywords. Google search engines focus on the overall user experience. Landing pages must deliver on the promise in the ad, make sure users can follow through on the call to action.
- Increase Keyword Relevancy
- Deliver on Promise From Ad
- Push Call to Action
- Optimize for Mobile Experience
Pull out all the stops to make sure that people are staying on your pages for as long as possible. Google uses the amount of time someone spends on your page as a factor in determining Quality Score. Logic dictates if a person clicks on an ad and doesn’t flee a landing page right away, that content must be high-quality. Add elements like videos, testimonials, downloadable PDFs, pictures and more. Make sure that you’re always updating with relevant content to make that important impression on your visitors. Also setting up appropriate Google analytics tracking will help determine where searchers are converting into customers, or why a sales funnel is not delivering.
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Quality score is defined as Google’s overall rating of the relevance and quality of your PPC ads and the keywords used when creating them.
Quality score is rated between 1 and 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the best possible quality. It is an estimate of the quality of your ads and the landing pages that are triggered by the keywords used in AdWords Ad campaigns.
How to Find your Quality Score
Your ad’s quality score can be found by running a keyword diagnosis or enabling the Qual. Score column in your account, and both options are easy to do.
Running a Keyword Diagnosis:
- Click the ‘Campaigns’ tab on top of your account page.
- Choose the ‘Keywords’ tab.
- Click the white speech bubble icon that is next to any of your keywords and you will be able to see what its quality score is. You will be able to find the rating for your expected clickthrough rates, landing page experiences and ad relevance here as well.
Enabling the Qual. Score Column:
Click on ‘Campaigns’ in the top tab and select the ‘Keywords’ tab that appears.
Look for the Qual. Score column – you will find it in the statistics table. If you can’t see it there, you can add it in a few simple steps:
- Click the ‘Columns’ drop down menu that you will find in the toolbar above the statistics table.
- Click on ‘Modify Columns.’
- Select ‘Attributes.’
- Click on ‘Add’ next to where it says ‘Qual. Score’
- Click on ‘Save’ afterwards.
How Quality Score Component Impacts Ad Rank
So how does quality score impact Ad Rank? Each time an internet user performs a search which triggers an ad that is competing in the AdWords auction, Google calculates an Ad Rank. (Bid x Quality Score x Extensions)
The calculation that is performed will incorporate ad relevance; a site’s overall landing page experience, the bid you have placed and the auction-time measurements of the expected Click through Rate (CTR).
Improving the factors mentioned below will help you improve the quality components of your ad rank:
- Targeted Devices: Have your ads been performing equally well across desktop, laptop and mobile devices and platforms?
- Quality of your Landing Page: Is this easy to navigate and is it relevant and/or transparent?
- Expected CTR of your ad: This will be based on your ad’s historical impressions and clicks.
- Your display URL’s past CTR: This involves the historical clicks and impressions that have been received by your display URL.
- Geographic Performance: If you are targeting specific regions with your ad, how successful has your campaign been overall?
- Search and Ad Relevance: Is your ad’s text relevant to what a site visitor is searching for?
Higher quality ads will normally result in lower campaign costs and they will be placed in better positions than those of a poorer quality.
AdWords campaigns work best when ads are relevant and they are as close a match as possible to what site visitors are looking for. Ads that are relevant will be far more successful than those that aren’t. So what’s relevant? Check out the Evolve Digital Labs AdWords Grader today, to get a better understanding of your keyword relevancy, and overall AdWords performance.
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