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CPC going crazy on CPA campaign

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 1
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Hi

 

I have a campaign that's been running on CPA target for around 6 months now, targeting Canada.

On Jan 11th there was suddenly a huge spike in Average CPC, although there was no change in the website, nor any change on my side to the campaign. 

The spike was so extreme that the Average CPC was actually higher than the Target CPA for that campaign.

Other campaigns targeting other regions didn't see this problem.

In the graph below you can see last 30 days (blue is clicks, orange is average CPC)

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 09.08.28.png 

Speaking to other people who run campaigns in Canada they saw similar spikes in CPC happen as well. 

Adwords support is of no help and I am unable to get any answers from them

 

Does anyone have any idea what's going on ? 

 

Thanks

R

2 Expert replyverified_user

CPC going crazy on CPA campaign

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi @Alda R,

 

"...although there was no change in the website, nor any change on my side ... "

 

Things do not just depend on what you do or don't. There are a lot of other advertisers, e.g. your competitors, and the entire advertising landscape may undergo changes, suffer landslides or earthquakes overnight. What obviously happened in Canada on Jan 11 must be associated with a few players unexpectedly changing their bidding habits for some reason. (Their budget may perhaps have been raised early in the year.)

 

Best,

Lakatos

CPC going crazy on CPA campaign

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor

Hi @Alda R,

 

Totally agree with @Lakatos here... it is not always what you do that impacts your account. Your competitors play a big part in your campaign's CPCs. Here's what I would check - 

1. Avg positions - with the rise in CPC.. have your positions improved. If not.. then you are paying a higher/same CPC for a lower/same position. Which would mean that you have competition beating you in the auction for the same keywords.

2. Auction Insights - This will help you figure who those competitors are, how many times they have shown their ads along with yours.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Cheers,
Shweta

AdWords Top Contributor
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CPC going crazy on CPA campaign

Participant ✭ ☆ ☆
# 4
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Hi @Alda R

 

Aside from @Lakatos and @ShroffS contribution, i would also like to suggest segmenting data by device.

 

I have seen similar occurances where the competition are bidding heavily to get the top 2 spots on mobile and this can condierably force up the prices. This may not be the case, but it is a plausible explanation alongside the ones already provided.

 

It may go the other way at times too - where the cpc can drop dramatically and you will see asscoaited advantages too.

 

Another theory is to look at the actual number of conversions? Has this metric gone down? It could be the automatic system is bidding more for 'quality traffic' than that of clicks that didnt convert. I personally have found auto bidding to be a very powerful tool so dont lose hope just yet Smiley Happy

 

Hope that helps

James

CPC going crazy on CPA campaign

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# 5
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Thank you all for your suggestions - all valid point.

 

However - if my CPA is say $1.0 for the past 6 months, and the average CPC for the past 6 months is $0.1 - there should be NO condition where the CPC will suddenly jump to $1.2 - higher than the CPA itself !!!

I have used CPA bidding for a couple of years now - I know it's not accurate to the cent, however how can the system justify bidding on a click higher than the target CPA ? and suddenly out of the blue ?

If indeed competition raised bids I would expect to loose traffic - not pay 10x for a click and overshoot CPA before even taking to account conversion rates 

 

 

CPC going crazy on CPA campaign

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

Hi @Alda R,

 

I appreciate your reasoning, however, if everything is fine and unchanged at your end as you claim, the algorithm should be adjusting bids using real-time signals based on an increased competition in ad auctions. It was suggested to you above to seek an insight into their activities before going forward. I'd advise you to suspend the campaign temporarily till you identify the reason. (We can't guess what is being done by them right now.)

 

Hope you'll come back later on with more info.

 

Best,

Lakatos

CPC going crazy on CPA campaign

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 7
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Hi Lakatos

 

Again, I'm not arguing that a change in CPC can't happen in the entire ecosystem.

What I am arguing is, that given that I have CPA target set - if the CPC in the ecosystem rises beyond a certain price (due to competition or any other factor) - my campaign should stop bidding at a certain price since there is no possible way to achieve a target CPA if your CPC is higher than that CPA (i.e. you can't have a conversion rate over 100%)

This seems like it should be an underlying unchangeable fact and I fail to see how any environmental changes should effect that.

 

AR

CPC going crazy on CPA campaign

Top Contributor
# 8
Top Contributor

Hi @Alda R

 

Basically I think I should be close to agreeing with you. It would perhaps be advisable to give some proper consideration to what you are saying and make sure the appropriate algorithm contains a capping brake to prevent what you see from happening. Apparently it does not at at the moment which is probably based on the assumption that advertisers keep a regular eye on what's happening to their daily CPC. If more forum users come to complain of it, I'll perhaps file a case or something. Currently, however, I am under the impression that it is a relatively isolated complaint.

 

Best,

Lakatos

CPC going crazy on CPA campaign

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 9
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Thanks Lakatos

 

I tried the following in hopes it would recalibrate the conversion optimizer - I changed the campaign back to Manual CPC and let it run for a week (needless to say it didn't go over the set Max CPC). 

Then after a week - I changed it back to CPA - and the average CPC jumped 10x (yes - 10 times what is was on Manual CPC) in a single day !

 

I have never seen this kind of behaviour from adwords

 

 

 

 

CPC going crazy on CPA campaign

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 10
Top Contributor

I did. That's why I always say caution is advised when you switch to automated bidding like CPA and also whenever you make changes to it. Always keep a careful eye on how it works. That said automated bidding types are often as effective as hell and may spare you an awful lot of analysis and manual work.