Ever since Google announced the upcoming shift to Enhanced Campaigns back in February, search marketers have been moaning and groaning about the loss of control, and pundits have claimed that it’s all a big plan to drive up average cost per click (CPC).
In the last few months, vendors and agencies all piled in offering sensational “studies” of their own:
- Adobe claimed CPCs were already up 6% in Q2
- The Search Agency claimed CPC’s were up 21.2%
- Covario claimed CPC’s were up 7%
However, according to yesterday’s Google earnings call, the pundits’ fears were not realized. In fact, I was surprised to learn the exact opposite occurred: average CPC’s went down, despite the fact that over half of AdWords users have already upgraded to Enhanced Campaigns.
Here’s a summary of the results:
- Paid Clicks Up – Aggregate paid clicks increased approximately 23% over the second quarter of 2012 and increased approximately 4% over the first quarter of 2013.
- CPC’s Down – Average cost-per-click decreased approximately 6% over the second quarter of 2012 and decreased approximately 2% over the first quarter of 2013.
So what gives?
Good News: AdWords Clicks Are on Sale (on Average)!
It remains to be seen whether CPC’s will rise over the long term. But for now, click prices are actually down.
As I see it, there are a few possible explanations for the drop:
- More advertisers are using mobile, bringing average CPC down since mobile clicks are cheaper
- Competition has gone down because Google has expanded ad inventory faster than advertisers can keep up
- Enhanced Campaigns actually work better – hey, it’s possible!
- Alternatively, maybe advertisers are fleeing AdWords and shifting budget to Bing? (Crickets…)
Of course, due to the law of averages, it’s entirely possible that CPC’s have gone up in some sectors or for some types of business. My respected colleague, Marty Weintraub speculates that large enterprises, who were already following best practices and optimizing their campaigns for mobile, are taking a hit in the post-EC world.
If that’s true, small and medium-sized businesses are in a position to take advantage of the fire sale. Most SMB marketers didn’t have the time or patience to execute a mobile strategy before the age of Enhanced Campaigns; it was just too complicated. EC’s make it possible to target mobile users with the same campaigns you’ve already built. Most WordStream clients (who tend to be small businesses, not huge enterprises like eBay, Adobe, etc.) have already migrated their campaigns and are seeing impressive results.
AdWords Apocalypse Cancelled? How To Get The Most out of Enhanced Campaigns
Of course, come Monday, you won’t have any choice – all your campaigns will automatically be upgraded to enhanced campaigns. But you’re not going to see better results unless you actually take advantage of all the bells and whistles that the new campaigns offer.
Here are three tips for making the most of Enhanced Campaigns:
- Implement New Features: Google introduced some cool new features and functions that are newly available in EC, like those mega sized site links and call conversion tracking. Start using these tools ASAP.
- Consolidate Your Campaigns: If you were previously spending a lot of time managing multiple campaigns to target different device and location combinations, consolidate them and make the most of your time savings to pursue other PPC management activities.
- Give Mobile a Chance: The vast majority of my clients say that they value desktop clicks more than mobile clicks. But when they actually use the right tools and processes to measure the ROI of mobile traffic, many have found that mobile calls convert better (and more cheaply) than website clicks. With EC’s, you can discover what mobile is really worth to you and adjust your budgets accordingly.
Were you surprised by the earnings results? Are you ready for the upgrades on Monday?