Are Adwords Enhanced CPC's Worth It In 2018?
Many Businesses Use Enhanced CPC. But Is Enhanced CPC the Best Google Ads Strategy In 2018 and Moving Into 2019? Take A Look At The Good, The Bad And The Ugly To Find Out The Truth About Adwords Enhanced CPC In 2018 and find out whether your business and brand should be using Google Ads Enhanced CPC or Manual CPC bidding strategies into the future to achieve the highest return on investment, and maybe even more clients.
What Is Enhanced CPC Anyways?
What Is Enhanced CPC?
Enhanced CPC means Enhanced Cost Per Click, and when it was first rolled out in the Digital Marketing Community in 2010 the purpose behind Enhanced PPC was to simply help users of Google Adwords Obtain More Conversions.
Now it isn't a secret that more conversions is a good thing BUT, when it comes at a price that gives you no return on investment or that is so far off of your goals that it makes a business owner spin, scream at the person managing the campaign, and consider firing them than is it really worth it?
Enhanced CPC works by automatically adjusting your bids for the clicks that the automation program behind it believes will be more likely to result in a sale for your business but, in my experience that has very rarely happened, and when it does – it's at a cost so high that it isn't even worth it so, in my experience, all it is doing is paying for the employees paychecks and Google Adwords, and has no real benefit to the millions of businesses that advertise on the platform.
Artificial Intelligence Is Not Always Better – The Results Of Testing Enhanced CPC.
We're all afraid of automation to a certain degree unless you're standing in line with 10 items at Walmart, and the one cashier that is working has a line with 20 other people ahead in it so off to self checkout we all go, and that's similar to what Google Adwords and now Google Ads have done with Enhanced CPC Bidding only in this case, the price from my experience is always higher, and the screenshot above proves it.
EmBeance has this client that when I came on board I ended up coming on board for SEO, within a month I somehow found myself taking over Adwords as well, and one of the first problems that I found was that the Enhanced CPC feature was enabled on all of his campaigns. The enhanced cpc's were driving up his Cost Per Leads, and the general rule of thumb is that if the CPL goes over $6.00 ever, shut it down. Well his campaigns were running at $15 and $20 per lead so when I went to him and told him what the problem was, his first question was, “What is Enhanced CPC anyways?”
The answer in terms that anyone can understand is, Enhanced CPC is Artificial Intelligence, and yes, Automation. Over the last week I've been working really hard for this same client at expanding his remarketing campaign and in each and every call that I have had with Google Ads they keep pushing me to turn on Enhanced CPC for both search campaigns as well as display campaigns so, with the first Display campaign that I set up, I took a chance, turned it on, and my gut instinct was correct. A $1.00 Cost Per Click Did This:
Yes, you see that correctly: The Campaign is set up correctly, The strategy is all there, and my search campaigns have an over 40% conversion rate consecutively. This is quite honestly my prized campaign but, Enhanced CPC's are slaughtering something that I've worked so incredibly hard on to get it to where it is because, in the credit repair industry $4.75 conversion costs are unheard of but, I was able to do it with this campaign. Hence, the inspiration for this post.
Yesterday afternoon the representative that worked with me on this campaign and suggested that I make the enhanced cpc change emailed me and asked me why I removed Enhanced CPC from my display campaign, and my answer was honest, simple, and direct “As the Director Of Digital Marketing for all 9 and moving into more brands it is my responsibility to make sure that we are taking the most cost effective approach in obtaining the most leads possible at the lowest possible cost per conversion, and it is something that I am extremely dedicated to doing therefore, my question to you is; when manual bidding is getting us leads for $4.75 per conversion why would I spend $98.00 to get one single lead through enhanced cpc?”
She still has not responded but, I shouldn’t. It's as simple as that. I'm not going to ask one of my clients to spend $98.00 per conversion just to put more money into the pockets of Adwords – it's theft, it's wrong, and the fact that they do not adhere to daily budgets makes it 1,000 times worse.
These bid clicks were all set at a $1.00 CPL and adwords determined in this case that the bid cost was to low and so it ended up raising the maximum CPC bid to on average $2.70 per bid. Yes, you read that correctly, when you select Enhanced CPC bidding Adwords fully controls the bid costs and there is nothing that you can do about it other than shut the enhanced cpc feature off, and revert back to manual bidding.
Imagine waking up to $42.00 conversion costs on a campaign that normally converts at $4.75? You would be terrified to dig in any further, and I know you would but when enhanced cpc is selected this in my experience is the result.
Now on the opposite end of the coin, adwords in addition to raising your bid costs through enhanced cpc’s also has the ability to drop the bid all the way down to $0.00 if they believe that your ad is not performing as well as it should therefore, if the automated program doesn't think that your ad measures up to the ads of your competitors it can just decide to turn the bids down to $0 so your ad never gets seen.
Enhanced CPC Smart Bidding
What Is Google Ads Smart Bidding?
If you are wondering how Adwords determines whether or not it should raise or lower your bid that's a great question to ask, and the truth behind that is Google Ads uses what they call “smart signals” which is based on the browsers location, their search techniques, their demographic, and even what time of the day it is to determine which prospects have the highest probability of converting into a sale for you.
Google uses the data that they collect not just on users but also on your business and campaign performance history to determine which prospects will be most likely to convert into real time clients for you but, in the age of spur of the moment research, and decision making where people are looking up anything and everything from DIY home projects, recipes, the latest happenings in sports and even politics is a machine really able to determine who is going to be more likely to convert?
Our personal studies say no.
Manual CPC Vs Enhanced CPC – What's Right For Your Google Ads Campaign?
As you can see I changed up my bid strategy for this client, and not only have I gotten more conversions but, I've gotten more conversions at a much lower daily cost, and I've gotten more leads at a much lower Cost Per Lead all which will lead to a much happier client. Am I finished – definitely not. Is my work on this campaign done? Absolutely not because, my work is never done but, this was a starting point. Since I took the screenshot, I've lowered the Manual Bid even more, and am on my way to continue to do what I do best which is find the magic area at the lowest CPL possible.
So Which Google Ads Strategy Is Right For Your Business and Where's The Magic Area?
Manual CPC VS Enhanced CPC Bidding? Which Should Your Business Use?
Every business is different but whether we are talking about Enhanced CPC, Target CPA or any other Smart Bidding Strategy that has been rolled out by Google Adwords and Google Ads my suggestion is to stick to manual adwords bidding, and onboard an Adwords Specialist who will take the time out to do what EmBeance has done with this client's campaigns.
You can't just create a campaign and let it go without managing it. Every Google Adwords Campaign requires a strategy, and someone to consistently oversee it even if that means only checking it a couple of times a day – yes – this is important because, many factors come into play that effect your campaigns results.
Non Working Landing Pages
Non Working Forms
Inaccurate Conversion Tracking
These are just a few areas that can and will effect your overall stats. The other problem many don't even think about are daily fluctuations – if a campaign doesn't perform well over weekends for example what should you do? If you're getting $15. $20, $30, $40, $50, $60, or even $70 conversion costs what should you do?
Start by asking a professional with experience for help. Adwords is not a DIY project, it takes years of experience, it takes years of training, it takes years of real world experience to get campaigns to a place of success, and at costs per conversion that are realistic for you businesses success.
Enhanced CPC Bidding Is The Easy Road
Most businesses that set up adwords enhanced cpc bidding do not have anyone managing their adwords accounts, setting up adwords enhanced cpc bidding is therefore, the easy road because, the majority of businesses that set up enhanced cpc bidding believe that over time as bid costs go up or down adwords and now google ads will do the work for them but, the return on investment will suffer tremendously as a result.
For The Best Return On Investment Opt Out Of Enhanced CPC Bidding And Stick With Manual CPC Bidding
While enchanced cpc bidding may seem to be the best solution to reach more customers, the return on investment is not there, and has never been there in the 8 years since the program and feature was rolled out. After working on hundreds of Google Ads campaigns over the course of the last 15 years in the industry, and managing budgets of $30 a day to $15,000 a day I have never once seen Enhanced CPC Bidding work for my clients, and the same applies to the other Smart Bidding strategies that Google has rolled out over the years.
While there is never a one size fits all run down, strategy or solution, 8 years of working around enhanced cpc bidding in credit, credit repair, finance, business, legal, e-commerce, and real estate sum it up for me pretty clearly when it comes to the majority of clients that come to EmBeance for assistance with their PPC and Google Advertising needs. Conduct your own research, perform your own tests but, watch your campaigns to make sure that you are not spending more than you should on clicks that aren't bringing you the return on investment that manual cpc bidding does with some strategy, analysis, and real time management.