12 Steps to Get a Lower Cost Per Click

Lower Your CPC in AdWords Today- Disruptive Advertising
January 14, 2015 By PPC

Your New Years Resolution Was To Get a Lower Cost Per Click? Here’s How!

There comes a time in every AdWords account where you need to lower your cost per click. Whether it’s because you need to squeeze more clicks from a fixed budget or you want to lower your cost per conversion, here is the insider’s list of what we do at Disruptive to bring costs down.

We create single keyword Ad Groups (SKAGS). Each of our ad groups has one keyword with three different match types: broad match modified, phrase match, and exact match. SKAGS ensure that our landing pages and text ads can be keyword specific, thus enhancing quality scores. When quality scores are high, you pay less for clicks.

Each of our Ad Groups has two ads, usually with the specific keyword for that Ad Group in the headline and display URL.

With Ad Rotation is set to rotate indefinitely, having two ads in each ad group allows us to split test our traffic between the ads. Split testing our traffic allows us to find which text ads perform better and cost less. Once we know which are better, we pause the loser and create a new ad variant to test against the champion. The two keyword specific ads help lower cost per click by improving our click through rate and relevancy over time.

Our landing pages are keyword specific Our preferred landing page platform, Unbounce, lets us use dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) to ensure that the ad group specific keyword shows up on the landing page. For some clients that keyword shows up in the headline like this:

DKI Headline

For other clients, we include a You Searched: “Dynamic Keyword Insertion” in the footer of the page.

DKI Footer

DKI ensures that the landing page always includes the keyword the user searched. Keyword specific landing pages boost the quality score and help lower cost per click.

We check our quality scores. You may have noticed that everything up to this point has tied in to the Quality Score. The quality score is determined by Google from your CTR, ad relevancy, and landing page relevancy. When all of those areas are above average (7-10 is best!) you pay less per click. By hovering over the chat icon under the Keyword Status column Google will tell you which areas are low so you know where to focus:

Quality Score

We strategically adjust keyword bids. If you lower your max bids, your cost per click will go down too. But that’s not everything: you have to adjust bids wisely or your ad position will fall so far down the page that you’ll stop getting conversions.

Start by finding a few top performing keywords and lowering their bids by a few cents. If that works, you can lower those keywords’ bids farther or lower other keywords’ bids, too. Regardless of what you do, monitor changes closely and do not make too many changes at once.

At Disruptive, we look at the search term report for negative keywords on at least a weekly basis. Adding negative keywords ensures that you aren’t paying for irrelevant clicks that drive up costs. Consistently adding negative keywords make your clicks more relevant, which will increase click through rates and improve quality scores.

Another use of negative keywords is to eliminate internal competition to keep clicks as relevant as possible. Sometimes keywords can block similar ones from showing ads. For example, a more expensive short tail keyword could be showing over a cheaper long tailed keyword.

To avoid internal competition, run the Keyword Diagnosis to find which keywords are blocking others and add negative keywords so they’re showing in the ad groups you want. If you need more information about doing this, see this blog post.

We find low cost, intent based keywords to bid on. If you run a flood restoration service, having a keyword like “wet carpet” might generate good traffic, but it can also bring unrelated searches like “how do you get wet paint out of carpet” or “how to not make the carpet wet from snowboards.” The most relevant keywords are usually long tail keywords: specific, intent-based keywords like “flooded basement cleanup”. A keyword like this shows much more clearly what the user wants. Focused keywords like these will usually have higher click through rates a lower cost per click.

We pause keywords with a high cost and few conversions. If you sort your keywords by cost and filter by conversions you can find the keywords that are hurting you most. Pause expensive, non-producing keywords. Use your budget on lower cost, more profitable keywords instead.

We regularly add new keywords to accounts. We’re always researching new keywords to bid on. Often we discover new keywords using the Search Terms Report. Add converting search terms as new keywords with their own Ad Groups and Ads

Our accounts use ad scheduling. Ad scheduling is an often overlooked area with a lot of potential to save money. In the Dimensions tab you can see clicks, cost, conversions, etc by hour of the day, day of the week, and more. If you see that you’ve spent $1000 at 3 a.m. with no conversions, you should create an ad schedule in the Campaign Settings to exclude that hour. Depending on your industry, certain times of day and days of the week are much more profitable than others. Capitalize on this and your cost per click will thank you by lowering itself.

Finally, we check the geographic locations to find where ads are showing up. These reports will tell you if you are showing ads in areas that your business can service and which areas are most productive.

If you’re a Utah company with impressions from Brazil, you should change your advanced campaign location settings to show for “People in my targeted location” only. If you see that people in Salt Lake City, Utah are converting more than the surrounding areas at a lower cost, you should raise your bids in that area. You should also exclude areas that are costly and not converting.

One last word about lowering cost per click—don’t make too many changes at once, or you won’t know what worked and what didn’t!

What other suggestions do you have for lowering cost per click? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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Jenny Hatch

Chief of Staff
As the Executive Assistant, Jenny's primary focus is to help the Executive Team better lead the company with the proper financials, reporting, presentations, accountability etc. Jenny's role as an account manager, social media marketing manager, and accountant along with her recently earned MBA have allowed her to develop an understanding of the business that few others have.


  • Hi Jenny Holt,
    You Sharing very Superb Article.it is very helpful for me Thanks For Sharing.

  • Jenny Holt says:

    Autumn, I’m glad you found it helpful! Thanks for reading.

  • […] Keyword Ad Groups) here at Disruptive. If you don’t know what those are you should check out this awesome post. The keywords that I’ve had most success with are Broad Match Modified terms that look like […]

  • Mark says:

    How does DKI work for landing pages now that exact match is no longer available? You could end up with any search term inserted which could be way too long and not relevant to the content you want to insert it into.

  • Jenny Holt says:


    When you use DKI on landing pages, you can specify the words that are dynamically inserted onto the landing page using ?keyword=(insert%20word%20here). That way you know exactly what will show up on your landing page regardless of search term. I hope that helps!

  • Mark says:

    Great article!

    Any tips for creating A LOT of ads quickly? Or do you create a default ad for all adgroups and then update the ads for adgroups which are generating impressions?

    • Jenny Holt says:

      I typically have the ad in each ad group that the ad makes sense in. So if my client sells home furnishings, each ad group that deals with lights has the same ad and each ad group with pillows has the same ad. I have also used DKI to switch out different products. Using the home furnishings example, if my ad says “We have the best price on {KeyWord: home furnishings}”, “home furnishings” will switch out for whatever the search term is. This works well EXCEPT for when long tailed search terms trigger your ad.

      I hope this helps!

  • Hello Jenny,

    We are definitly going to try it out adding more negative keywords and use keywords with intencion. This are really important decisions that many times we tend to ignore and it can be very helpfull! Thanks so much for remind us all of this again!

    Keep up sharing this awesome guides/tips 😀



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  • Ed says:

    Love the unique info in this article, Jenny! Would you recommend SKAGS as a general best practice? Thanks for a good read. 🙂

    • Jenny Hatch says:

      Ed, thanks for reading! I would recommend SKAGS as a best practice! It ensures you aren’t competing against yourself for position.

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  • Froggy says:

    very helpful article. It will definitely help me to optimize and reduce my per click cost . Thanks again

  • Ron Stelter says:

    Hi Jenny,

    What about other ways to lower the cost of keywords? For example, I run a German>English translation business. My budget is very low. (Most of my ads and keywords are in German.) I’ve tried various longtails like
    +CV +translation +english
    +contract +translation +english
    which bring jobs at a low cost, but only still a very low quantity of jobs (a drop in the bucket). Also, Google often won’t show most of them because of low search volumes. Certain keywords like the German equivalent for
    [translation agency]
    will apparently get much better results, but the competition is very high and the bidding rates for these keywords are ridiculously high-like more than 25. I’ve tried to make the terms more specific to hopefully get better conversions and lower rates like
    [translation agency prices]
    but they get very few clicks and apparently the bidding price is just as high. I’ve tried to bid late in the day to hopefully save money, but my average position barely increases.
    Also, I’ve never been able to get a straight answer from anybody at Google: The keyword planner may say that a certain important keyword’s recommended bid according to the Keyword Planner is 25, but the estimated first page, top of page and first position is much lower. However, when I put in these estimates for first page, I get no impressions and no clicks-that is to say, that the “effective bidding price” is substantially higher. Why are the estimates so wrong? I know Google will say it doesn’t make any guarantees that you will be on the first page and then will claim your quality scores are probably low, but the estimates are obviously not even close to being right.
    I really can’t afford to bid 25+ for keywords-particularly when they seem to convert so poorly. Thanks for any guidance.

    • Jenny Hatch says:

      Hi Ron, Thanks for your question. Sounds like you’ve tried a lot of things without the success you wanted. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m happy to help where I can.

      As far as keywords to try bidding on, I’d try super short-tail keywords like “translation” or “translate” or “german to english”. Stuff that’s very generic. Most likely it will have a cheaper cost per click and a lower click through rate, but might bring you conversions at a more reasonable price.

      Unfortunately, I do not have the algorithm of Google and can’t tell you why their estimates are so far off. But I agree with you, its super frustrating and unpredictable.

      If you have any more questions, feel free to email me at jenny@disruptiveadvertising.com.

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