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Absolutely Desperate; CPC has skyrocketed

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# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

On the 13th of this month, I decided to turn off the display network for all of my campaigns as I didn't really feel it was working for us. I had previously tried managing the display network, blocking certain domains etc but still didn't think it was worth what it was costing.


The difference was at first positive; a much higher CTR. I understand the search network clicks are worth more which is why the CPC increased, but it has just continued to rise to the point now where it's costing an average of $3.16 per click! This is absolutely ridiculous, especially considering the CTR has dropped.


I also thought that by turning off the display network, it would improve the quality score of my keywords however these have also gone in the opposite direction. I've been monitoring them and 17 keywords that were previously a QS of 7 are now QS of 5, and 22 keywords that were previously a QS of 4 now have QS's of 2 and 3.


The biggest spike happened early this week when our site was temporarily down for a few hours due to changing hosting services. I paused all campaigns as our site was down and it would have been a waste to send clicks to a dead website. Once the site was back up and running, I turned all the campaigns back on and that's when things got really bad, even worse than before. Really low CTR and super high CTR


I really don't understand how everything has gone so catastrophically badly. I feel like i'm being punished for not wanting to be on the crappy display network or something...


Does anyone know what's gone so wrong? As my title says, I am absolutely desperate!!!

1 Expert replyverified_user

Hi M-Aus-S,   It certainly sounds like things have gone s...

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi M-Aus-S,


It certainly sounds like things have gone south on your account.


Ok, first thing to consider is that the QS you see for keywords is not affected by the Display Network. Keywords on the DN do get a quality score, but it is never shown in the interface. Turning off the DN (or on) has no effect on your QS. So we'll have to look elsewhere. All of the data you see for keyword impressions, CTR, etc. is for the Search Network.


Next, you say you changed hosting services for your web site. Did the domain name change also? Were there major changes to the site? Either of these could affect your keyword QS.


Last, for now, Have you changed any bids? Written new ads? Has the average position changed? Do you have new competition in your market? Has your competition changed their advertising behavior? These could all affect your average CPC.


On another note, are your keywords mostly broad match? If so, take a look a the search terms report and see what you are getting traffic from. Pull a similar report from a prior period, when response was better, and compare the two. It could be that the DN advertising was using enough of your budget to where the Search Network was giving you impressions from the top of the list--those who are most likely to click and/or convert. When you turned off the DN, that made more budget available for search. The end result could be that "lower quality" impressions are now being delivered. What I would look for is trends in the volume of unrelated search queries that triggered your ad through broad match keywords. If, as I suspect you will find, a number of unrelated search queries suddenly appear when you turned off the DN, start adding some of those queries as negative keywords. Come to think of it, even if there isn't a difference in unrelated queries you should still ad those as negative (either phrase or exact but NOT broad).


Oh, btw, you are not being punished for turning off the Display Network! QS is tied to CTR. Once your campaign has been running for a while (1000 impressions or more for the keyword), CTR becomes the major incluence on QS, and QS is a major part of ad rank (ad rank = QS * Bid). As the QS goes down, the CPC to keep your ad showing in the same position goes up. That's how the system works. Your objective at this point is to increase CTR on your keywords and CTR average on your account. That's where the negative keywords come in. Also, if you are not using modified broad, phrase and exact match types along with your broad match term, you might consider adding some. Make sure they are keywords that will perform for you and that people are searching on those keywords. Use the Search Terms report to determine these, too. Take queries (only those with 2 or more clicks) that perform well in CTR and add then as phrase and/or match. The CTR on the more restrictive match type should be higher than for that query, meaning your CPC should be less. (That doesn't mean you should bid less on the more restrictive match types.) This will improve your overall account score, your campaign score and the QS of your keywords.


Best of Luck!




petebardo -- Deadhead doing AdWords

When you were targeting search and display, did you segme...

[ Edited ]
Badged Google Partner
# 3
Badged Google Partner

When you were targeting search and display, did you segment your campaigns by network, and see what the campaign level CPC's for each network were? If you are just looking at the campaign totals, CPC is an average of all clicks, and the cost per clicks, of the entire campaign. Is it possible the search neteorks CPC's have not actually gone up, but you are only now seeing the difference in the cost between search and display network clicks?


Try segmenting your campaigns, adgroups, ads, etc. by network, then select different date ranges - Before and after the 13th. Did average search CPC go up, or now that the potentially lower CPC display network clicks are no longer part of the average, did the campaign level average CPC increase? There may not actually be anything "worng" here...