High cost per click per topic: what to do about it?

Competition in the contextual advertising market is growing every year, and entry for small companies is becoming more and more difficult.

Small and medium-sized businesses have to compete with federal brands, which have a much higher margin of safety. There is no point in competing with budgets.

Are we giving up? Not at all.

We have repeatedly encountered a situation where the cost per click in contextual advertising on search was very high. So much so that in order for the advertisement to pay off, every fifth user who visits the site must leave a request, otherwise – a loss. It is extremely difficult to get such a conversion.

We were in no hurry to abandon our clients in such situations. This resulted in the fact that over four years of work, we tested many hypotheses. Now we are ready to tell you what really works cool. Below are our five ways to reduce your CPC cost per click.

Look for low-competition queries

Let’s look at an example right away. Imagine you are selling nail vacuum cleaners. It is logical that users will search for such a product for the query “manicure vacuum cleaner”. If we look at the competition for this query, we see six pages in the SERP.

If we enter the query “manicure dust collector”, then the competition will drop to four pages.

Low competition requests

The lower the competition, the more likely it is that the cost per click will be lower. Here’s a visual confirmation.

And the traffic is targeted for us both in the first and in the second case. In almost every niche you can find such queries and get cheap traffic while your competitors sleep.

Typically, such queries can be found if you carefully analyze or parse search clues, as well as study the price lists of competitors. Perhaps, after communicating with the customer, you will find ideas on how else customers can search for the company and its products.

Increase website conversion

Not so long ago, a client came to our agency who was engaged in phone repair. In a city with a population of 450,000 people, there was fierce competition, there were regional brands that squeezed everyone from the advertising issue with their budgets, preventing them from getting traffic. We realized that we would not be able to compete with their budgets, and decided to focus on increasing the conversion of the site. The best solution is traffic hyper-segmentation: for each user request, we made a separate header on the site.

Here are some examples. The user types in the request “to fix the charging on the phone”, sees our ad on the search.

Request example

When going to the site, the content is substituted and the user sees a title that most closely meets his needs.

Substitution of content
The user’s request is “replacing the battery on the smartphone”, he sees the ad.

Request example

When going to the site, the content is replaced again – and the user sees the header with his request.

Substitution of content

Substitution of content is done for each user request.

This allowed us to pinpoint the needs of users and offer a solution to their problem on the first screen. In this particular case, the conversion increased to a record 30% and consistently generated requests for 110 rubles.

Use ads in YAN and CCM

In addition to advertising on search, you can use promotion in the networks: Yandex – in the YAN, Google – in the CCM. Advertising is shown on partner sites, for example, on the Avito site, in Yandex.Dzen, on the Kinopoisk site, etc. As a rule, advertising there is always cheaper than on search.

If you understand that search ads don’t pay off, try ad-serving ads.

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The only caveat is that this format is not suitable for all advertisers. Ads are not shown at the time of the user’s request, but after he has familiarized himself with the competitors’ offers with a 95% probability. Therefore, if you have a short cycle of the transaction, you do not need advertising on the networks to be ineffective. Examples of such topics are calling a tow truck, breaking a lock, etc.


Use near-targeted traffic

First, let’s figure out what near-target traffic is. Imagine you are promoting a fitness club. The target audience is everyone who wants to lose weight and gain an attractive figure. Now let’s think about what these people can search on the Internet besides a fitness club:

  • how to remove the sides;

  • how to lose weight;

  • pump up the press;

  • workouts at home, etc.

Clicks on such requests will be near-targeted traffic.

With this approach, you will need to use the hypersegmentation method that we described above. For each request, you must make your own value proposition to convince the user that you can help them.

If you show information about the services of a fitness club at the request for “workouts at home”, then the probability that the user will leave a request is extremely low. But if you tell why classes in a fitness club are better than workouts at home and make a special offer for such people, the conversion may be even higher than with targeted queries.

The main benefit of near-target traffic is a decrease in the cost of a click and the cost of a lead in the end.

Read also

Test different bidding strategies

PPC systems are now striving for automation. Every month, updates are released that allow traffic specialists to free themselves from routine and focus on more important things. Why not take advantage of this?

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Each system has its own bidding strategies, which perform different tasks, from increasing the number of conversions for the same money to driving more traffic on a daily or weekly budget. How to use it depends on your goals and resourcefulness.

Even if you need more leads, it may not always be the right decision to use a maximizing conversion strategy. The choice of any strategy must be approached wisely: do not use the strategy just focusing on the name and expect good results. Often times, if your goal is to increase conversions at the lowest cost, it will be better to use the “Maximum Clicks” strategy over “Maximum Conversions”.

In my experience, after testing your bidding strategy, you can reduce your cost per conversion by at least 30%, and in some cases by 200%.

Here’s a quick example of a Shopping campaign in Google Ads. Data taken over seven business days. Initially, the campaign worked with a manual CPC strategy.

Manual CPC

And then – with the strategy “Maximum number of clicks”: the number of conversions increased, and their average cost decreased.

Maximum number of clicks

Therefore, test and keep the mechanics working. However, when working with auto strategies, keep in mind the recommendations from advertising systems. For example, to work with the “CPC Optimizer” or “Target CPC” in Google Ads, you should accumulate data – from 15 to 30 conversions over the last 30 days, so that the algorithms advertising systems were able to more accurately find an audience similar to these people.

More about auto strategies in Yandex.Direct and Google Ads

Every year the competition in contextual advertising is growing, but we are able to reduce the cost of the application thanks to the techniques that I described above. I am sure that in your niche these actions will also bring results.

Thanks for attention!

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