The lower the cost per click (cpc) is, the greater are the chances of running profitable CPC campaigns. In order to achieve this you need to take a closer look at your bid strategies, keywords and landing pages.
As a Google Adwords Certified Professional I learned over the years that running profitable PPC campaigns is not enough for PPC success but instead you need to focus on increasing your profit margin. This can be achieved by either making more sales (without increasing your advertising costs) or by decreasing your cpc costs and thus advertising costs.
Note: What you will read below is not actually beginners material, if you are starting now with adwords you may want to read 7 PPC tips for beginners for a more gentle introduction to Adwords and PPC.
#1 – Switch to manual bidding and lower your cost per click
The easiest way to get started with bids and costs is to let Google manage them. You set a maximum budget per day (and optionally a max cpc) and Google does the rest.
This is great and works ok in a lot of situations. It is also less time consuming since you don’t have to monitor bids and make adjustments.
If your goal though is lowering the costs of a campaign then you need to switch from automatic to manual bidding and follow these simple rules:
- Start with a low cost per click – Identify the average CPC cost (from the results of your campaigns so far) and choose a default bid that is close to that number.
- Find out which keywords work best and increase their bid – Look at your statistical reports and find out which keywords generated the most sales. By increasing the bids for those keywords you will improve their ad position and generate more sales.
- Lower bids even further for keywords that received a lot of impressions but did not generate a lot of sales.
At the end of this exercise you should end by with a group of keywords that have a higher bid than the rest (winning keywords), a group with ‘normal bids’ (potential keywords) and a group with lower bids (candidates for removal).
#2- Adjust bids based on location, devices, day and times
While you do the above exercise to lower your bids, you should also review and find out:
- Which devices perform better (mobile, tables, desktops)
- Which locations bring in more quality traffic (country, city, area)
- Which is the best and worst ‘selling day’
- Which time of the day you make most conversions
Remember that your goal is to lower CPC costs so any changes you do should be towards that direction.
For example, based on the above data you can increase your bids for certain locations where your ads perform better or stop the ads running on particular dates or increase bids for the mobiles since they have a higher ROI than the desktop.
The possibilities are really endless and it all depends on your data. As a general note, don’t be afraid to make changes but don’t make too many chances at the same time. Take it step-by-step and make sure that track everything so that at the end of the day you know what works better.
#3- Review your keywords and add more long-tail keywords
Keywords have an associated cost, the greater the number of people bidding on a particular keyword, the higher is the bid. If in your campaign you will only have high competition keywords then your CPC will be high too.
What you should do is revise your keywords and create ad groups with lower competition keywords. These are usually the long-tail keywords and while they have lower search volume they cost less and some of them perform good as well. It sounds a bit tricky but spending some time in searching for low competition keywords can really make the difference since you will be getting conversions at a lower cost.
#4- Add more negative keywords
Something that should be part of your weekly routine is to review your ‘search keywords’ and identify negative keywords. Negative keywords are ‘wasting’ your budget on clicks you do not want and they also make your campaigns less competitive.
If you do not already have a negative keywords list (at the campaign or ad group level), it is almost certain that you are bidding on keywords that are not relevant to your business and this is one of the reasons of having high CPC costs.
To make your negative keyword list even more effective, make sure you understand how keyword matching options work.
#5- Review your landing page
One of the factors associated with CPC costs is the relevancy of the landing page. The ad landing page indirectly affects your quality score and costs. Some things to know about adwords landing pages:
Don’t always redirect users to the home page but rather to a page dedicated to the products or services advertised in the ad.
Make sure that Google can easily understand what the landing page is about. Make sure that you have page titles, description, headings and content that ‘matches’ your keywords and ads message.
Create different landing pages for different products. You don’t have to redirect all adwords users to the same landing page but create different landing pages for the products or services you are advertising.
Do your landing pages experiments correctly. While it’s good to experiment with different landing pages, call to actions etc, if you do this incorrectly you will be wasting your time. What is important is to do only one set of changes at a time and not a lot of things together.
For example if you make changes to your Adwords campaigns (ads, keywords, etc) then don’t make changes to your landing pages at the same time since you won’t know which of the two generated better or worse results.
I like adwords a lot not only because of the benefits it brings to businesses but also
due to the nature of the system which allows a beginner to use it by letting Google deal with the details or the more advanced user who likes to optimize their PPC campaigns and looks at every part in detail.
The five ways outlined above are certainly not the only ones that can help you lower your costs. There are other ways like reviewing your ad copy, enabling conversion tracking, using ad extensions correctly and many more that can help you increase your profit margins while at the same time increasing sales.
What methods are you using to lower your CPC costs?