“Since my first three years in digital marketing were all self-taught and on my own student-to-food-stamp budgets, I had to learn more than everyone else.”
Lowest Google Search Ad CPCs In The World
- 1. The Data: 78 Different Ads Getting <$1 CPCs
- 2. Dissecting The Best Ad
- 3. Best Converting Ad (My Favorite Ad)
- 4. Other Secrets
- 5. Cheat Sheet
Since my first three years in digital marketing were all self-taught and on my own student-to-food-stamp budgets, I had to learn more than everyone else. If I didn’t, I’d run out of money and have to get a real job. I focused a lot on Google Search since it was the easiest/shortest way to see buyers’ journeys and the cost to obtain them.
Here is how all the search ads that got less than $1 CPC worked. The average for all industries is $2.69/click.
Lowest Google Search Ad CPCs in the World
I went into my Google Ads account (that’s been in operation since it was still called Adwords) and set it to ALL CAMPAIGNS and the time frame to ALL TIME. Then clicked to view all the ads, and sorted by CPC. Here’s what all my ads that consistently got less than $1 CPCs had in common.
I’m not going to include any ads that got less than… 100… impressions worth of data. At 100 impression, the ad has usually been shown at least 100 times. A poor statistical requirement, I know, but at least it’s something and at least it’s 100 points of data.
1. The Data: 78 Different Ads Getting <$1 CPCs
26 of them had over 1,000 impressions, but I used 100 impression threshhold because I’ve ran a lot of test ads and micro campaigns on $1/day budgets. Some days I just feel like I have something to prove, I guess.
32 of these 78 ads had a click-through rate of 3.00% or higher. Average CTR for all industries is 3.17%.
26 of the 78 ads getting less than $1 CPCs had 1,000 or more impressions. And 48 of them had 10 or more clicks.
I commonly set my bid per click at $0.40 per click, or $0.80 if I’m feeling rich. 31 ads got $0.40 or less CPCs.
Four of the 78 ads started with the word “Recommended.” Only one of the rest of the ads didn’t start with the brand’s name. It started with the word “Get.” Of the top five ads I spent the most money on, two of the top five started with the word “Recommended.”
The lowest cost CPC in this group was $0.12 per click, and was clicked 655 times after being shown 7,786 times for a click-through rate of 8.41%. It had the 4th highest CTR and the best average position of the group: 1.25. (Google recently switched from average position reporting to “top impression” metrics.)
2. Dissecting The Best Ad
The cheapest CPC also had the highest average position. It also had one of the highest CTRs of the set. Here’s what it said:
Recommended: Twitch Grow | Grow Your Twitch Stream
Services, sponsors, and partnerships to grow your Twitch stream.
Here’s what I think makes it work:
a) 5,000,000 monthly searches according to Google’s Keyword Planner
It also says you might be able to get top of page placements for a penny right now. Competition is also reported to be low for the keyword. Why? No fast movers on this video game train I’m assuming.
b) Branding in Headline, Branding in url, Branding in keywords, & keywords in description.
In other words: the words I used.
Google tells you to keep your branding and message consistent on all steps of the buyer’s journey. Any half-decent digital marketer will tell you that. Reinforcing your brand and high intent search keywords at the same time is pretty effective.
c) Ad Actually Solves A Problem
This brand helps Twitch streamers get more attention. More viewers, more followers, more subscribers. So when we target keywords like “twitch followers–”because we know almost every streamer has the goal of getting more followers—we deliver ad copy that says we’ll help them do exactly this. And since they’ve already heard of our brand before (they saw it in the headline a split second ago), they decide it’s worth a look.
3. Best Converting Ad (My Favorite Ad)
The best converting ad cost me $0.43 per click and had a CTR of 3.79%. Here’s what it said:
Bandturo – Gig Booking | Get Paid To Play
We help bands book gigs. Get paid to tour. Start the booking process today.
Words like “get” and “now” are said to work well in search advertising since it’s a fairly high intent platform most of the time. The brand name starts the message and gets a second impression right away in the url. Since we know that getting paid for their craft is the biggest problem for our target audience, we mention that we will solve it several times across the length of the ad.
The marketer or manager gets to define what the conversions are. For these conversions, the user doesn’t have to do much. Just show interest on the site by clicking through a page or spending a certain amount of time there. By bidding low and converting more than 50% of my clicks into “interested” conversions I can afford to remarket to them for even cheaper, and pile on leads from various channels on my website where we tried to put something for everyone.
4. Other Secrets
a) Small Budget
You also have to remember that we used relatively small budgets. Not all these campaigns or ads will scale with just a flip of the budget switch. But it won’t take much more effort since we have the “formulas” proven for ad and keyword setup.
b) Optimizing Results
Why does all this matter? Well when you’re small you can focus on conversions at every step of every channel to easily stretch your first budgets. For Bandturo, I knew that $100 was an easy number to pull from my bank account even though it might be hard to part with when I was a super low-income student on food stamps. But it was a nice round number, and I knew that if I bid less than $1 per click I’d end up with at least 100 points of data to analyze.
Hopefully one of the experiments would perform better than the rest and I could shift more budget into it eventually. I also knew that if I had 100 visitors to the site I could use the data to improve the site for more conversions.
I could also expect some leads. Even if I got one lead from 100 visitors, I knew I had the sales experience to convert them into a sale of some sort. If I had one lead to work with all month I could even build them something of significance to convince them to be a customer.
If I converted one customer from that little budget, I’d be able to run at least the same amount of budget again by recycling the revenue. And if I optimized by analyzing the results in every channel at every level, it should return more next time.
c) Choose Your Budget, Go For Quality Score
I’m not sure why any managers or marketers talk trash about Google. You can tell Google how much you’re willing to pay for a click. Then track to see where they fall off instead of becoming a customer. You can get lower CPCs by doing most of the stuff I’ve already mentioned and improving your quality score.
5. Cheat Sheet
If you’ve made it this far you deserve a cheat sheet. Here’s a rundown of how to get low cost CPCs in Google Search:
- Target keywords that people will be searching for that you can actually help.
- Make your keywords, ad copy, and website copy all similar.
- Set your bid to a low number. Change it as you see fit.
- Get your CTR high and find ways to keep people on your site once they click.
- Take the time to run several different ads and target as many long tail keywords you can.
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