August 11, 2013

Simple ways to reduce your AdWords Cost Per Click (CPC)

If you have used Google AdWords, you’ll know that how much you end up spending on your ads is entirely dependent on your Cost Per Click (CPC). In other words, how much each click on your ad is costing you. Prices for CPC vary, to say the least, from niche search queries only costing a few pence to ads within the health/medical, law and insurance costing where a single click can be in 3 figures.

AdWords is a great tool to get instant and relevant traffic to your website, however, if not done right, you can end up exhausting your budget quite soon without having maximized the possible ROI in the way of low CPCs.

Considering just how important it is to optimise your Pay Per Click campaign, here are some simple ways to reduce your CPC.

Micro-manage

How many keywords and/or keyphrases were there in a single ad group of yours? 5? 10? Perhaps, 20? In cases where we take over managing a clients PPC campaign, we generally find anywhere between 5-15 search queries within a campaign.  However, if you want to lower your CPC rates significantly, you need to start thinking small. Really small.

One of the factors that affect CPC rates is the Quality Score (discussed below). The higher the score, the lower the CPC. However, to increase your Quality Score, each campaign has to be very targeted and one of the most effective ways to do this is to keep the number of ad-trigger keywords down to a few. We’re talking 1 or 2 (We said ‘simple’ ways, not quick). Once, you have done this, you need to create….

Landing pages

Ideally, you’ll have a landing page dedicated for each of the Ad group. For example, if you have 2 ad groups, one for ‘buy Nike shoes’ and another for ‘buy Nike Air Max 3000’ then these should be in 2 separate ad groups and the headline of each of the 2 landing page should contain the trigger keyword.

Whilst this may sound like a lot of work initially, the potential savings in CPCs can far outweigh the cost over a short period of time, especially if you are spending £700+ per month and once you have a landing page template set up, you should be easily able to modify the headline and associated text via your Content Management System (CMS).

Click-through rate

The CTR is the percentage of clicks your ad receives compared to the number of impressions (how many times your ad was displayed). A higher CTR = lower CPC and one of the ways to increase your CTR is via ads that stand out. So, how do you make this happen? It all starts with the headline…

Resist the urge to keep your headlines very straight-forward in the hope that more people will understand and therefore, click on it. The key here is testing. If you’re showing prices in your ad, try to have a variation which doesn’t.  If you’re used to using up all the available text in each ad , try a version which is much shorter and to the point. Apart from the speed by which AdWords can bring you possible customers, another advantage is that it allows you to test and therefore optimise your campaigns to no end. You can have multiple versions of your ad with different headlines and text for each ad and let your users tell you which one is working best.

Lower your CPCs

Is ad position #1 always better? Absolutely not.

There are at least a few instances when you may not actually want to be on top. For example, items or services which have a long life-cycle involving research and where getting quotes from multiple sources is quite common, even if your ad is the first one that your prospect saw, there’s a very low chance that they’ll convert. In such an instance, lower ad positions can actually work for you better, not only in the way of a lower ad spend, but there may also be a chance where your first interaction with the potential customer is perhaps the 2nd or 3rd or more in their line of interaction with the companies that their business may go to.

Quality Score

The quality score is an overall indication of the quality of each of your ad groups and is determined by other factors such as click-through rate, ad rank and so on.  As discussed above, the higher the quality score, the lower the CPCs are going to be and creating highly targeted campaigns following techniques mentioned above can help you achieve this.