Google is making a couple of changes to how bidding works in AdWords. The first one changes the way Enhanced CPC bidding (ECPC) sets bids on your behalf while the second change is an entirely new feature that provides suggested bids for your keywords.
The first change in particular is quite important, so let’s take a closer look at what’s going on with bidding in AdWords.
Changes to Enhanced CPC
You may have seen this notification recently when logging into AdWords
Click the Learn more link on that notification and you’ll be taken to the following page with Google’s explanation of the upcoming change:
“CPC is changing to help you increase conversions. Previously, ECPC would raise your max CPC bid by up to 30% in cases where you’re more likely to get a conversion. We’re now removing the 30% bid cap to fully account for differences in conversion rates across dimensions like audience and location. This means you generally won’t have to set bid adjustments when using ECPC. You may still want to set a bid adjustment for mobile, as ECPC doesn’t adjust for the difference in conversion rates between mobile and other devices.
ECPC will still respect your manual bid by trying to keep your average CPC below your max CPC over time. For Search and Display campaigns, ECPC will help increase conversions while keeping your cost-per-conversion the same. For Shopping, ECPC will help increase conversions while maintaining your same overall spend.
These changes will begin rolling out gradually starting in early June. We recommend monitoring your performance and adjusting your bids and bid adjustments as needed.” – AdWords Help.
So, essentially, the 30% bid cap Google used to place on ECPC is being removed, meaning Google could increase your bid by any percentage it chooses. The only remaining limit will be that Google aims to keep your average CPC over time below the max CPC you manually set.
The idea of this feature is to help you convert more leads by upping your bids on the searches Google deems more valuable to you. Of course, this comes at the price of handing bidding control over to Google. Many advertisers don’t like this; others are fine with it, as long as the numbers swing in their favour.
Above all, it’s important that you know whether you’re using ECPC or not. And, if you are, be ready to compare results after the change rolls out to make sure you’re benefiting from it. To check if you’re using ECPC, go to Settings in your dashboard and check the Bid strategy type for each of your campaigns.
If you are using ECPC, then you’ll want to keep an eye on your CPCs and conversion rates for those campaigns to make sure the upcoming change has a positive impact.
New keyword bid suggestions
As far as your manual CPC bids go, Google is now providing new suggestions over how much to bid based on where you want you want your ads to show. Kelly Baker posted a screenshot of what the new interface looks like on Twitter:
— Kelly Baker (@ProdoKelly) May 12, 2017
As you can see, Google now provides suggested bids for getting your ads Above all other ads, Above all organic search results and On the first page of search results. Which means you now get an idea of how much it will take to get the top spot, land yourself in the top pack and make sure you’re on the first page of results.
However, you can take this further. This also gives you an idea of how much you can reduce your bids without dropping positions. And when you notice one of your ads does drops position for whatever reason, this gives you an idea of how much it will take to get yourself back to where you were.
This feature is already rolling out but it looks like a gradual rollout, so don’t panic if you haven’t seen this in your account yet.