If you work in different industries, one quickly learns about the cost per click: it varies a lot.

A CPC for a pair of sneakers is in a completely different environment than, for example, the search for destruction services.

Generally, if what is advertised doesn't cost a lot, the average CPC will be lower.

It's really a function of economics for retailers and services: every sale is worth only so much, and costs that are inconsistent with it are not sensible to spend.

In other words, shoe retailers will all work maximally in the same areas as their margins do not differ drastically from one another. This tends to set the price for a particular vertical.

However, this creates challenges for cases where the CPCs are higher: every click is important and costs a lot of money.

Many retailers are willing to pay these costs either because their product is worth so much or They know that based on a customer's lifetime value, they will make it back over time.


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I've worked with various clients competing in ridiculously high CPC environments and am currently working on it internally.

It's like a high stakes game some days, but a positive ROI doesn't have to be elusive.

There are a few steps you can take to improve your ROI if your expenses are starting to break a sweat.

1. Have proper tracking

Seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it?

It comes as a surprise when you work with and find costly client environments still Do not track phone calls generated from PPC campaigns.

A feature like call tracking seemed too complicated for local businesses. It required coding, additional subscription fees, etc., and the CPCs were relatively low back then so it wasn't worth the effort.

Today, industries like HVAC or lawyers can routinely pay more than $ 100 per click. This means they can lose even more money if they don't use a phone call tracking platform.


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Nowadays, a simple sign up and a snippet on the website gives you a glimpse of where those high dollar leads are coming from.

This can help focus the budget where it is best spent and free up funds from flinging campaigns.

2. Be careful with keyword matching

The world of keyword matching has changed a lot since Google created Exact Match. Well, not exactly.

When it comes to the search terms and how your keywords match them, look at everything.

It is no longer enough to just check your width or modified width.

If you want to force search terms to match a particular ad group, it takes more work than ever before.

Google will take a lot of matching freedoms these days, including replacing terms that it thinks correspond to what you have.

To make this more difficult, Google no longer shows advertisers all search terms for which they match:

Winning in competitive and costly PPC environments

This means that it is even more important to be as vigilant as possible with your data.

3. Start with aggressive negative keyword lists

While this was usually reserved for broad match, the recent issues outlined in the previous section make this even more important.

Because Exact Match takes more freedom than before and lacks transparency about how your keywords might match, setting negatives for the first time can help mitigate the impact of those keywords.

An irrelevant click can cost over $ 100.

So I use keyword research the other way around: use it to find terms you don't want.

This can be done using the Keyword Planner to see the related terms it contains.

You can also use Google's suggestions when searching to see if it suggests any long-tail queries that you want to avoid.

For example, many accounts automatically exclude requests with "jobs" because the job seeker is a job seeker, not a prospect.

Winning in competitive and costly PPC environments

Other examples are search queries, including "customer service numbers" or "signups" that indicate that there is a current customer looking for information.


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You can also infer people looking for information or people who may be competitors in your industry with references such as “Podcast” in the query.

4. Assess the device relevance for conversions

Users sometimes experience differences in behavior between mobile devices and desktop or tablet devices, but these are inconsistent in a high-spending environment.

Let's look at two examples of how this can be different.

Let's say you live in Texas and your air conditioner dies in August.

HVAC clicks are notoriously expensive, and it's not hard to see why: the jobs are urgent and worth a fair amount.

How do you think most of these users are looking?

They talk on the phone while trying to get the air conditioning on, rather than sitting at their desk doing careful research on their laptop.

In these cases, mobile users are very valuable, especially because they are likely to be calling directly from the ad with a click of the mouse and not necessarily visiting a website.


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You need a quick fix!

Let us now turn to an example in a completely different area: business to business.

Many B2B industries are also very expensive when it comes to CPC, but for a variety of reasons: They are very high dollar amounts that can take months (or years!) To complete.

They're worth a lot, but for a different reason than our HVAC example.

Are these users researching something like expensive software solutions on their phone?

Probably not so much.

In this case, desktop users are probably more valuable than mobile users.

Understanding where your conversion actions are coming from is important in your bid strategy.

In addition to the data in Google Ads, pay attention to any CRMs you may be using to understand the full buying cycle of users and their devices.

5. Use remarketing to reduce click costs

Using Search Ads Remarketing Lists (RLSA) is one way to get your ads running for these highly competitive keywords, but it may be for less money.


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When you bid on keywords in an open auction, you are dealing with every competitor.

This also means that there may be search queries pointing to a potential future customer (i.e. information searches like "What is …" or "How do I do …"), so a high CPC for the place they are are on their customer journey, meaning is not enough.

One way to stay present in searches without having to look for them in the open market is to use RLSA.

Just like displaying remarketing, you can apply a customer list of your choice and show your ads only to users who are looking for higher-competitive keywords.

This will keep your brand in front of users permanently, but at a lower overall cost.

RLSA can be applied at the campaign or ad group level:

Winning in competitive and costly PPC environments

Choose your remarketing audiences and "Targeting" as the setting.


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This ensures that all of the keywords in this ad group are only shown to users in the lists you specified. You can set different bids for these users depending on what makes sense for your metrics.

6. Use the audiences to bid based on relevance

This tactic is similar to RLSA's, but instead of using your own customer lists, use Google's.

For example, if you know that your customer is more of a foodie or is interested in home remodeling, only users in these groups can see your ads if they search.

It works exactly like the RLSA function, but you can choose between "Targeting" and "Observation".

Winning in competitive and costly PPC environments

With "Targeting", only those users who belong to these target groups will see your ads.


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With "Follow", all searchers can still see the ad, but you can see exactly how users are behaving in those audiences.

You can also make bid adjustments to increase or decrease those audiences based on the results you see over time.

Winning in competitive and costly PPC environments


The highly competitive bidding environment is only going to stay that way, and we see CPCs in emerging industries rise every day as they grow.


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Google Ads has been criticized for removing some of the control PPC practitioners that used to have fun. However, maneuvers can still be performed to reduce losses in these higher stakes environments.

By applying marketing principles such as user habits, interests and existing relationships with your brand, you can better target and lower your costs.

Tackling the lack of transparency right in an account can be countered to some extent using the research available in Google tools.

Usually, to some degree, the best results come from all of these efforts.

Make a test sketch and document your results along the way to find your winning combination!

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