When a potential customer searches for your client online, they can use any number of search terms, but when they use a brand term (a keyword directly related to your client’s brand) the potential for conversion is higher because they are searching specifically for your client. That’s why, as a digital marketing agency, it’s important to bid on these keywords for your clients’ SEM strategy. This practice of brand term bidding is a serious business and—for most corporations—a standard practice. But regardless of the necessity for brand term bidding, watching the branded cost per click (CPC) spike can be disheartening for a digital marketer. After all, with each increase in the CPC, your client’s SEM budget takes a bigger hit. But take heart; when CPC spikes occur, there are some strategic tactics you can employ to help combat the rising trend.

The CPC might not return to its original value, but the campaigns can still operate at peak performance. To reduce the CPC, you need to double check for anomalies, evaluate (and adjust) the relevant ad copy, maximize ad extensions, and review your bidding strategies. These tactics are further broken down below.

Eliminate Anomalies

The first step in reducing CPC spikes is to double-check any data that is affiliated with the CPC keyword. The data should be carefully analyzed, preferably by an AdWords certified professional. Once the analysis is complete, take the time to eliminate any anomalies found in the data. For instance, if you have 10 branded keywords, and one is significantly outperforming the others, this may affect the CPC.

Make Sure Ad Copy Is Optimized

The ad copy related to CPC keywords may, on occasion, create issues throughout campaigns. An ads analyst or copywriter should be brought in to evaluate and then adjust any ad copy that is not fully optimized for the targeted brand term. If the ads are too similar, or the keywords are not saturated enough throughout the copy, this can affect the CPC of each keyword. Take the time to have ads individually refined for better performance.

Maximize Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are an extremely valuable way to provide the customer with more targeted information about your product or service. Google thought the extended format was so valuable, they are making it the mandatory standard as of January 31, 2017. This date was pushed back from the originally announced October 26, 2016, to give marketers time to get used to the change.

These Ad Extensions are well suited to reach mobile devices and get your customers’ attention when they’re on the go. Filling the extension with fluff won’t do you (or your CPC) any favors. The best ways to minimize the CPC in ad extensions is to maximize the effectiveness of your extra headline (preferably through A/B testing), replicate the copy that works in standard ads in your ad extensions, and continue running your standard ads until the ad extensions begin to outperform them.

Review bidding strategies

To accurately review your bidding strategy, you first need to consider the company’s goals. The bidding strategies for traffic generation and brand awareness are extremely different.. If the company’s goal is traffic generation, then CPC programs are perfectly acceptable. If, however, you have a more targeted goal, you may not need a high performing brand keyword. In some situations, CPC keywords might not even be necessary.

If you’re concerned with the cost of bringing in AdWords specialists or other experts to combat rising CPCs, consider the cost of hiring them. Without focused attention and careful strategy implementation, a small CPC spike can quickly lead to a major budgeting problem. It can also cause other problems to go unnoticed, like targeting the wrong demographic or paying for clicks that never convert. CPC optimization is only one part of a successful SEM strategy, but it’s a part without which the other components can quickly become irrelevant.

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