It's the challenge marketers spend just about every day of their careers battling: getting the right numbers up and the right numbers down. But how far up, and how far down, and just how to make that happen? That's a marketer's El Dorado.
When we ran our numbers for 3.4 billion impressions and over 40 million clicks across Google Ads Search and Google Display Network in Q4, we came up with a median CPC of $1.33 on Google Ads Search and $0.56 Google Display Network. If your median CPC is below that, skip this post and take yourself to lunch! Or at least throw us a bone in the comments and share a couple of tips, pretty please. For the rest of us, here are 17 posts we found helpful in strategizing ways to get Google CPC down.
White Shark Media suggests changing your approach on keywords, and in the example below, specifically by running your main keyword to add to your list. Be sure to filter your results to find low competition keywords.
Image from White Shark Media: 4 Powerful Ways to Lower Your CPC in Google Ads
Lyfe Marketing also has some advice on the keyword front, encouraging marketers to focus on long tail keywords, and provides a few ways to turn short words into long ones:
- Make it a question (eg. How do I, Where can I, What’s the best way to, How do you)
- Make it a semi-question (eg. How to)
- Add an intention word (eg. Find, Buy, Get, Reviews)
- Add your location (eg. in Atlanta)
- Add More Description. (eg. Best Maytag AC Repair Companies)
- Target people trying to do it themselves (eg. How to clean AC coils).
In a similar vein, Disruptive Advertising sorts its keywords by cost and filter and pauses expensive, non-producing keywords. Don't waste your budget on something that's not working.
Octos, an Australia-based agency, reminds us of the other side of the keyword coin – negative keywords, which we've also written about. Though adding negative keywords might not directly reduce CPC, it will save some of your precious marketing budget.
Also on the exclusion front, WordStream has a fabulous tip specifically for the GDN, which is to exclude mobile apps when deciding where to show your ads. The post reminds us of a very annoying and common occurrence most marketers want to avoid, "Have you ever tried to close an in-app ad and accidentally clicked on it? If the app isn't geared toward your target audience, there's no reason for you to be there paying for clicks that have more chance of being unintentional or otherwise useless than not."
ClickZ offers 5 tips to reduce CPC in Google AdWords, including going beyond the ads themselves and testing multiple landing pages, and double check you're providing people with a great experience using Google's Progressive Web Apps, which are user experiences that have the reach of the web and are always reliable, fast, and engaging.
WordStream hits hard on the importance of Quality Score (the metric Google uses to determine where advertisers rank on the Results Page and how much they pay). They suggest raising your Quality Score by bidding on branded keywords since they tend to have really high click-through and conversion rates.
New Media Campaigns agrees, and in addition to breaking down the formula Google uses to calculate Quality Score, adds, "The Quality Score is Google's way of preventing an advertiser with too much money from simply buying any keyword he wants and also rewarding good, relevant advertising through discounts and better ad placements."
Databox shares a great roundup of what 42 paid marketers sharing their strategies to lower CPC. Like this one from James Bowen, founder of Ripen Digital, "Broad match modified keywords keep costs down while giving you more control over the queries that trigger ads."
Marketing consultant Josh Meah reminds us about the impact your ad copy can make. He adds, "People click on ads and buy because the ads reflect the goals people want to accomplish. Match your ad’s copy with customer intentions."
Growth Everywhere shares a great and often overlooked tip to carve out your audience targeting. Don't forget to use your Facebook Audience Insights to dig up relevant information that you can apply to campaigns on Google.
Search Engine Journal has some advice for when the going gets tough and CPCs in your vertical are super high. Test different ad positions to see what makes the most sense for each keyword. Driving hard until you "win" first position is exciting, but is it actually the most profitable based on your revenue and margins?
When analyzing a campaign and making adjustments, Wordtracker advises that 200 is the magic number. Wait until you've accrued at least 200 ad impressions and 200 clicks.
eKomi has an interesting tip for ad creative, which is to use star customer ratings as images to build social proof and credibility, which in turn affects Quality Score.
Marketing consultant Dinesh Thakur highlights the possibilities of remarketing, and points out that it will increase your Quality Score since you're showing your ad to the most relevant audience. We covered remarketing ads best practices previously, including tips like:
Watch Your Impressions and Frequency: Retargeting can become a nuisance, if not downright creepy, to someone who sees a barrage of your ads continually within a given day. Luckily, there is an option known as frequency caps. This limits the number of impressions (times) a unique user might see your ad in a given day. 3-4 impressions is perfectly acceptable; when a user sees your ad 8-10+ times, you might seem a bit clingy :).
Remember to go easy on implementing the above strategies. If you make a ton of changes all at once, and your CPC goes off the rails, you're going to spend loads of valuable time backtracking to see what went wrong. Start in one area, and see how you can push the needle little by little.