Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC)

Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) is a bidding feature that raises your bid for clicks that seem more likely to lead to a sale or conversion on your website. That helps you get more value from your ad budget.

Imagine that your job is to stand outside a barber shop and bring in new customers. If a businessman with shaggy hair comes walking by, you give him a big wave and a hello. If a bald man walks by, not so much.

ECPC does a similar job for your AdWords ads. It's a bidding feature that looks for ad auctions that are more likely to lead to sales for you, and then raises your max CPC bid up to 30 percent to compete harder for those clicks. When it sees auctions that don't look promising, it lowers your bid. That way you can get more sales and conversions out of the ad dollars you spend.

ECPC double-checks itself by leaving part of your traffic alone to work with your regular max CPC bids. Then it compares the two sets of results and adjusts accordingly. So when you choose ECPC, you should see conversion results that are better than, or at least the same as, the results you get without it.

ECPC works on Google, the Search Network, and the Display Network, but isn't available for the "Display Network only - Mobile Apps" campaign type.

How does ECPC know which auctions are promising?

The AdWords system looks for patterns of clicks and conversions and compares them to your past results. If certain search or keyword combinations lead to more sales, for instance, it will know. That's why, to use ECPC you have to have conversion tracking turned on, because that's where the data comes from.

ECPC will increase your max CPC bid by up to 30 percent when it sees a good opportunity. It'll also lower your max CPC by any amount (even more than 30 percent) if it determines a conversion isn't likely, so you'll pay less for clicks that convert less. If you choose the conversion bid metric that matters most to you on your conversion settings page, ECPC will focus on either conversions or converted clicks. If you don't choose one, ECPC will focus on converted clicks.

If you're using "Conversions" as your conversion bid metric, make sure to review your conversion counting method for each conversion action to ensure it matches your goals. If you're tracking leads (such as sign-ups), you probably only want to count unique conversions. If you're tracking sales, you probably want to count all conversions.

You'll probably only want to use "Converted clicks" as your conversion bid metric if you're tracking multiple types of leads and want to optimize for clicks that result in one or more leads (regardless of the type).

Tip

Because ECPC will increase your max CPC bid by up to 30 percent when it sees a good opportunity, don't be surprised if your AdWords report shows average CPCs that are over your max CPC.

How is ECPC different from Conversion Optimizer?

Both ECPC and Conversion Optimizer work to get you more conversions. The key difference: ECPC works with the max CPC bid you set, never going more than 30 percent over it. Conversion Optimizer needs no max CPC, though it does require a CPA bid.

Conversion Optimizer gives you the very best chance to improve your results, but ECPC provides a level of control and comfort that some people prefer.

Both ECPC and Conversion Optimizer

  • Use conversion tracking or Google Analytics data from your account
  • Predict a conversion rate for each auction
  • Adjust your bids to help you win the most promising clicks

ECPC

  • Works with all your campaign settings and max CPC bids
  • Can raise bids by up to 30 percent
  • Works with third-party bidding systems

Conversion Optimizer

  • Lets you set either a target CPA or max CPA
  • Has full freedom to set your CPC bid for each auction
  • May not work with some API-based bid management solutions

Example

Suppose you sell shoes on your site, and you've set your max CPC for US$1, and you have ECPC bidding turned on. If the AdWords system sees an auction that looks likely to lead someone to buy shoes on your site, it might set your bid as high as US$1.30 for that auction (that is, your US$1 max CPC bid plus 30 percent more).

Tip

Save time and effort on managing your bids by trying ECPC bidding as a flexible bid strategy. You’ll be able to apply ECPC bid optimization more strategically to entire campaigns or specific ad groups of your choice. How to use flexible bid strategies.

Enhanced CPC

How to turn on ECPC

Note: Your campaign must have conversion tracking turned on for ECPC to work. If it’s not turned on, opting into ECPC will have no impact on your bids.
  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com
  2. From your Campaigns tab, click the name of the campaign you want to work with.
  3. Click the Settings tab.
  4. Find the "Bid strategy" section. Click Edit.
  5. Click Advanced options, then click Enable Enhanced CPC.

When you choose ECPC, we'll automatically set your ad rotation setting to "optimize for conversions," even if it's currently set to "optimize for clicks."

Using mobile bid adjustments with ECPC

ECPC doesn’t take differences between mobile and other devices into account when raising or lowering your bids. You can, however, set a mobile bid adjustment to adjust your mobile bids up or down relative to your other devices, and ECPC will incorporate this along with its own bid adjustments.

We recommend setting a mobile bid adjustment that takes into account the differences in conversion rates between mobile and other devices, especially to incorporate any additional conversions that aren’t tracked using the AdWords Conversion Tracking tag (such as in-store visits). Learn more about setting mobile bid adjustments.

Note that ECPC, like Conversion Optimizer, will continue to set different bids for desktop traffic vs. tablet traffic based on differences in conversion rates.