Switching to Maximize Conversions Will Skyrocket CPC’s. Here’s How to Fix That…

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A law firm called us recently, to ask us if we can help them lower their CPC’s and increase conversions on their Google Ads account. They claimed that their CPC skyrocketted to $347 per click after starting to use the “Maximize Conversions” bidding strategy.

They hired us for a coaching session to learn how to avoid being charged such nuclear bids and lower their Cost Per Conversion in the process…

Now, we first had to explain to them that this was a common and totally normal phenomenon when you switch from a Manual CPC or Maximize Clicks strategy, to an automated bidding strategy like Maximize Conversions.

Why Does the CPC Increase With Maximize Conversions?

When you switch to Maximize Conversions bid strategy, you are essentially telling Google: Hey Google, you are now in full control of how you spend my daily budget, so long as you are getting me as many conversions as possible for my budget.

Google’s AI will therefore drastically increase the auction’s bid when it “feels” like the conversion intent behind the search is high. Google’s AI takes into account not only the search term, but also the user’s past search history and behaviour online, to determine whether the user is likely to convert at that moment in time or not.

Keep in mind that with Maximize Conversions, the CPC will fluctuate from day to day, so you won’t always be paying high CPC’s for every search. In fact, it’s just the initial few days or weeks that the CPC may be higher than expected, as Google is doing its best to get you those high intent clicks, and therefore maximize your chances at getting conversions. It’s essentially bidding sky high to put your ad above everyone else’s when it thinks the click is likely to convert for you.

The Problem with Maximize Conversions

If you let Google fully control the bid, it’ll take you to hyperspace and beyond, as in the case of our legal client above. There’s literally no limit to how high Google can bid in an auction if it feels like there’s a high chance of conversion.

While Google is pretty darn good at gaging the intent of a search user, the problem is: it cannot predict if the user will like your company, its products/services and landing page or website experience AFTER they click the ad.

In other words, even if John Doe is highly interested in hiring a criminal lawyer in New York, and you happen to be a criminal lawyer in New York, it doesn’t mean that John will like what they see on your landing page.

Maybe they’re looking for someone specific, like a criminal lawyer who is of a specific gender, age range or ethnicity. Or perhaps they’re looking for a criminal lawyer that has experience working with specific types of cases or that is located in a specific part of town.

There are all sorts of factors that Google cannot always determine and therefore your landing page might fail at converting that click that was initially so promising.

How to “Tame The Beast”

If you want to use Maximize Conversions as a bidding strategy, while preventing Google from going past a certain bid, then you need to set a “Portfolio Bidding Strategy”. That’s the only place where you can create a Maximize Conversions bidding strategy WITH a maximum CPC.

How to Set a Maximize Conversions Bid Strategy with Maximum CPC:

  1. Go to Tools
  2. Click on Budgets & Bidding
  3. Click Portfolio Bid Strategies
  4. Click Add New (The + button)
  5. Choose Maximize Conversions
  6. Fill out all the fields, then click “Set a Target Cost Per Action
  7. Choose the CPA you want to hit
  8. Then click “Advanced Options
  9. Enter a minimim and/or a maximum CPC to avoid Google from going nuts with the bid 🙂
  10. Go back to your campaign, and under “Campaign settings” make sure you select the portfolio big strategy you just created, instead of the standard “Maximize Conversions” option within the campaign.

There you go, using this secret little trick, that Google Ads doesn’t make obvious to its users, you can take advantage of the Maximize Conversions bidding strategy, WHILE avoiding the ridiculously high CPC’s that the system can sometimes go for.

If you want to determine the Maximum CPC you should pay for a bid, then use Keyword Planner to look at the low range and high range bids for the keyword you are targeting. Your maximum bid while setting your portfolio bidding strategy should be more or less equal to the high range bid for your keyword.


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