Once I get a Google Ads campaign running smoothly and producing profits, it’s like a never-ending train ride down a perfect set of tracks. Our momentum carries us, it’s a smooth ride, and we even have a nice view from the dinner cabin.
Winning, winning, winning.
We print profits for our clients month after month.
And that is what’s happening most of the time when we get a Google Ads campaign to the right place. Smooth and profitable month, after smooth and profitable month.
But every now and then the train runs off the tracks.
Every now and then something gets screwed up, and the campaign’s performance starts going in the wrong direction.
One of the most common performance going down scenarios I run into is when our cost per conversion just starts creeping up for no apparent reason. Things can be going great and then next thing you know the cost per conversion is up 40% month over month.
And when this happens I do all my usual checks. I look for problem keywords, I review the search terms, I audit the conversion tracking code, and I run through all the common reasons why cost per conversion could be going up.
But sometimes nothing obvious stands out. Sometimes there’s no problem keywords to blame, the search terms are still perfect, and nothing is wrong with the conversion tracking.
In these frustrating scenarios, where none of the usual suspects are causing a problem, most of the time I trace the root cause of the “nothing seems wrong but the cost per conversion is going up” problem to a rising cost per click.
And this situation can sneak up on you because often times you won’t have done much recently with your bids that would drive up the cost per click. You might find yourself thinking wait a second, what’s going on here, why is my cost per click going up when I didn’t change my bids?
I think this rising cost per click but I didn’t raise my bids situation occurs when you have bids set at a certain point, you get used to a cost per click that comes in below those bids, and then all of a sudden a new advertiser comes into the market with different bids than you’re used to competing against, or an existing advertiser changes their bids, and all of a sudden your same bids are leading to a higher cost per click because other people are now bidding higher and closer to your max cost per click bid level. So they’re forcing you to get a cost that’s closer to your high cost per click bid levels. It’s almost as if overnight they put themselves into the sweet spot, and you’re the one getting punished with a rapidly rising cost per click.
For example, you might be bidding $50, getting away with a $25 cost per click because no one else is bidding over $25, and then all of a sudden a competitor switches their bids to $45 and now your $50 bids, that you weren’t really paying a price for, are now costing you $45.
This happens to me all the time when I’m running aggressive, top position campaigns. I bid a lot, other people don’t bid nearly as much, my cost per click comes in much lower than my bids, and then all of a sudden, a competitor ups their bids and my high bids get challenged to a new extent and my cost per click rises and the cost per conversion I was used to getting goes up as well.
At this point, to get the train back on the tracks, I make the one move I can make, I lower my bids and kind of do a reset. And I do it fearlessly.
A lot of people in this position would be scared of severely lowering their volume when they lower their bids. But I don’t get scared of that.
Often times I find that when I lower my bids down from a level where I was bidding much more than everyone else, my volume doesn’t suffer that much or at all when I still bid near the most or slightly higher than all the competitors. And even if my volume does suffer, the nice thing about lowering bids is that you can always just go back up. It’s really not that hard. You just move your bids back up until you find the right new level that gets the cost per conversion and the volume you want to get.
Often times when you run a very aggressive Google Ads campaign, you can get away with super high bids and get a lower cost per click since no one is close to challenging you. But then when someone steps up, and drastically ups their bids and gets closer to your’s, your cost per click can go up fast and your cost per conversion goes up correspondingly. This is confusing for a lot of people since they themselves didn’t do any changes. A lot of people miss that the competitor changing their own account started changing your results.
But feat not. When this happens you can just lower your bids way down, get things under control, and get the train back on the tracks. And if volume starts coming in too low, just gradually raise bids back up until you are comfortable with the volume and the cost per conversion.
When the cost per conversion starts going up, and nothing obvious seems wrong, just lower those bids and get things under control. And you’ve got no downside to doing that, because all you have to do if you go too low is raise those bids back up, a little bit at a time, until you are happy with your results again.
Having this “I’ll just lower the bids and go from there” tool in your toolbox will save you a tremendous amount of stress, and it will help you get the train back on the tracks. When in doubt, just lower the bids. You can always go back up.