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how can you lower your CPC in Google Ads?

6 Ways To Lower Your CPC in Google Ads

Whatever you’re spending on Google Ads, I’ll bet your weekly budget that you’d like to get your cost per click lower. By lowering your CPC, you stand to reduce your cost per acquisition, get more traffic for your money and maybe even have some marketing budget left over for one of those basketball hoops over the waste bin.

Getting your CPC lower in Google Ads isn’t actually too difficult, and just a few simple marketing hacks can save you a percentage of your ad funds.

1. Bid lower on keywords

The obsession with being numero uno on the SERPs drives most marketers into a battle of keyword bidding. When it comes to your paid search, lowering your CPC might drop you a place or two on the listings, but would it necessarily impact your conversions or traffic?

In fact, although the first spot does get more clicks (around 50% more in fact), does being number one in paid make a big difference to your sales?

The jury is out on this. And, like many factors in pay per click marketing, it can also depend on your industry, product, USP, ad copy and a multitude of other factors. 

More clicks doesn’t always equate to more paying customers. In fact, when it comes to ecommerce or retail, it can equate to more window shoppers being lazy and clicking your result because it’s first.

If you’re offering a high value service, let’s say legal support for example, your audience are more likely to read your ad carefully to make sure you are what they’re looking for.


You can probably afford to bid lower on (many of) your keywords and see what happens if you miss out on top spot.

Play with lowering your bids by a few cents at a time and see if it makes a difference to:

  1. Your traffic
  2. Your actual conversions, and of course…
  3. Your bottom line

Another reason to lower your keyword bids? 

By reducing your CPC you’ll be able to extend the life of your daily or weekly budget, therefore potentially displaying your ads when others have run out of juice.

2. Really work on your ad content

In many of our articles about optimising your PPC ad content, we often mention copy. And, that is because IT IS CRUCIAL. With paid search results, copy is everything. 

And even with display ads or video ads, well written copy can encourage more clicks once those sharp images of yours have got people’s attention.

So, if you’re going to lower your keyword bids, from our first step, make sure to work on your copy in tandem with this step.

Look at your competitors’ copy and work out how you can top that.

Some tips to get more clicks on your ads for a lower CPC:

  • Say more with less. Cut out unnecessary information and think of ways to use single words in place of chunks of content
  • Use those ad extensions – they really can make a big difference
  • Play around with your call to action (CTA) – and draw those clicks with a really tempting proposition
  • Search for products and services in other industries and get more of an idea of what good written content looks like
  • Hire a professional copywriter. It’s their job to make those words count and if they do it right, they’ll make you back their fee in a day or two… 

Check out our expert advice around creating copy for PPC ads.

3. Pay attention to your quality score

The quality score on your Google Ads impacts the price you pay per click. So, by optimising your ads for the quality score, you’ll see the added benefit of lowering your CPC.

This is more of a long game strategy, rather than a quick fix marketing hack. But understanding how the quality score affects your CPC will help you in the long run. 

It’s made a little more complicated by the fact that the QS can be applied individually to each keyword, ad and campaign. 

Whatever it applies to, the quality score measures how relevant your ads are to the searcher, by measuring a mixture of metrics including:

  • Click through rates 
  • Historic impressions vs clicks
  • Relevance of ad copy and keywords
  • Factors related to landing pages such as bounce rate and loading speed

In short, in the long term if you want your CPC to come down, pay attention to your QS. 

Basically, make your ad as relevant to your searcher as possible, and give them a good (the best) reason to want to click. 

4. Use negative keywords

Another point that comes up often when we look at creating ad copy, and one that could definitely lower your CPC, is the use of negative keywords. 

Find those keywords that attract a relatively high volume, but low conversions, and pop them on your negative keywords list. Usually, negative keywords are those general terms that might attract people at the top of the funnel, those doing their window shopping.

Another reason to pay attention to negative keywords is for your quality score, as mentioned above. For each time your ad is displayed but attracts no clicks, your quality score is impacted.

And for each time your ad is activated by a general keyword, you have a higher potential to pay for a click that likely won’t convert. If you’re looking for a low CPC keyword, chances are it’ll be long tail or more specific. 

Look at:

  • General terms, i.e; car parts (too general) vs replacement parts for Audi A8 (specific)
  • Long tail, i.e; Salsa dance (too general) vs Salsa dance classes in *My Town* for beginners
  • Potentially irrelevant, i.e; Vegan cakes vs vegan wedding cakes in *region/town*

In short, give you ads less chance of showing for general search terms, or search terms that are most likely to be used in the research and awareness (top of funnel/ToFu) stage.

5. Optimise by location and scheduling

Any paid search marketer has probably noticed that some days, weeks or months are just not as effective for ads as others. Perhaps your service or product is seasonal. Or maybe it’s affected by the demands of the working week.  

Switching off during these lean periods, or at least running a reduced campaign, can be a useful way to preserve your quality score and your ad budget too. In the long run, this can also serve to bring down your CPC.

Location also plays a major factor in how effective your ads are performing. Narrow down your geo-targeting by areas that have a track record in delivering results. If you cast that net too wide, yes you catch a lot of fish, but you can end up with a catch full of tiddlers and other less useful returns.

6. Prevent invalid traffic

When it comes to invalid traffic, or IVT, this can impact your PPC ads in a number of ways.

Firstly, factors such as high bounce rates and irrelevant clicks can impact your quality score, and by extension your CPC.

And secondly, invalid clicks on your ads cost you not just the price of a click, but lost business. For each invalid click you pay for, that’s one less real customer who could find their way to you.

Shockingly, some 90% of all PPC ads are impacted by fake clicks. In fact, recent data from our own research shows that advertisers in certainindustries see up to 60% of their ad budget impacted by click fraud, or IVT.

ClickCease is the industry leading click fraud prevention software, designed to prevent accidental, malicious or bot clicks on your ads. So, in the long term, you get more real human clicks, more potential for conversions, and less chance of a quality score penalty.

The bottom line

The first step in lowering your CPC in Google Ads is an obvious one; lower your keyword bids.

Beyond that, look into your ad quality and continue to optimise and fine tune the content and your bidding strategies.

Getting a lower CPC in Google Ads, and on any ad platform, means understanding how the components work and how to use them effectively.

Remember though that competitive keywords are always going to be the most expensive. You may have to swallow the cost on these, but can find ways to game the more niche keywords on your list.

Found this guide useful? Check out our Ultimate Guide for Creating a PPC Strategy.

Oli Lynch

Since working for ClickCease, Oli has become something of a click fraud nerd, and now bores people at parties with facts about click farms and internet traffic stats. When not writing about ad fraud, he helps companies to optimise their marketing content and strategy with his own content marketing business.

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