Over the last couple of years, Google has made some significant changes to not only the way the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) appear, but also to how we use Google ads. Some of these changes include; the increase in ad sizes and extensions, the introduction of exact match close variant and the removal of the cap on enhanced CPCs, plus various other automated bidding solutions. These changes are now factoring into the rise in CPCs that we are seeing across almost all industries. Listed below are our recommendations for what you can do to reduce your CPCs.
Use a CSS
A Comparison Shopping Service (CSS) is a website that showcases an online retailers product offering. The CSS then directs users to the retailer’s own site to purchase. CSS’s have the ability to place shopping ads on Google on behalf of the retailers. They were first introduced by Google back in 2017 when they received a record EU fine by the European commission, after it ruled Google had abused its power by promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of the SERPs.
Initially, a 30% rebate on ad spend from Google was put in place as an incentive for retailers to onboard to a CSS platform. More recently, the main advantage for ecommerce businesses to onboard is to gain the opportunity of a 20% reduction in CPCs across shopping ads.
Day Parting Schedule
A traditional ad schedule doesn’t give as much control and efficiency as a day parting script. With a traditional schedule, you are able to create a schedule for different days, however the hours are clustered together so you can’t alter your bids for each hour. For example, you could create a time segment for between 00:00-07:00, 07:00-11:00 etc. Problems can arise with this, as the conversion rate at 9am could be 5% but at 10am it could be 1%. As you can only create a limited number of time segments per day, this can lead to wasted budget.
Introducing a 24 hour day parting script can make an account more efficient. It enables you to set specific bids for each hour of the day. The weight of this bid is determined by the conversion rate over the last 30 or 60 days. Therefore, spend is likely to be higher during hours of high conversion, and lower when performance has dipped.
Day parting scripts work well because they give you more control over spend for every day of the week. The benefit of implementing one can results in a better return on investment due to less budget being wasted during poor performing hours of the day. CPCs will also be lower during the poor performing hours of the day as a result of the negative bid adjustments.
Search Query Reports (SQR) & Long Tail Keywords
Carrying out Search Query Reports (SQRs) on a regular basis is essential for identifying both potential new keywords and search terms, which need adding as a negative keyword. They also provide the opportunity to find long tail keywords, which can be added to current campaigns or targeted in their own campaign. Long tail keywords do tend to have a low search volume, however, they demonstrate clear intent which makes them a great addition to any campaign. Generic keywords have a higher CPC because more people are bidding on them, therefore it is important to use specific long tail keywords to reduce CPCs.
Adding negative keywords is important so your ads don’t show for irrelevant searches. If the negative keyword coverage in an account is limited, more often than not the ad will appear for irrelevant search terms, which leads to budget being wasted. For example, if you had a high priority shopping campaign which is aimed at people ready to buy now, you would probably add search terms such as ‘red trainers’ as a negative but keep terms like ‘red slip on Vans size 6’ because that is highly specific.