About 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% (after applying any bid adjustments you've set) to compete harder for those clicks. ECPC factors in real-time details such as device, browser, location, and time of day to adjust your bids during each ad auction.
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 for text ads is available on the Search Network and the Display Network, except in campaigns that promote mobile app downloads. For Shopping ads, ECPC works only on Google Search.
Tip: Save time managing your bids with a flexible ECPC bid strategy
You’ll be able to apply ECPC bid optimization more strategically to entire campaigns or specific ad groups of your choice. Learn about flexible bid strategies
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 you need conversion tracking turned on to use ECPC -- it’s where the data comes from.
ECPC will increase your max CPC bid by up to 30% (after applying any bid adjustments you've set) 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.
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 one conversion per ad click. If you're tracking sales, you probably want to count every conversion.
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.
Target CPA 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 Target CPA
- 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
- Works with all your campaign settings and max CPC bids
- Can raise bids by up to 30 percent
- Works with third-party bidding systems
- Is based on a target CPA you set
- Has full freedom to set your CPC bid for each auction
- May not work with some API-based bid management solutions
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).
How to turn on ECPC
Note: Your campaign must have conversion tracking enabled in order to use ECPC.
- Sign in to your AdWords account.
- From your Campaigns tab, click the name of the campaign you want to work with.
- Click the Settings tab.
- Find the "Bid strategy" section. Click Edit, then click Change bid strategy.
- If you’re not yet using Manual CPC bidding for this campaign, choose Manual CPC bidding from the drop-down, and check the Enabled Enhanced CPC option.
- Check the Enable Enhanced CPC option.
- Click Save.
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.
Tip: Choose what conversions to bid for
The following conversion tracking settings let you customize how you bid for conversions:
- The Include in "Conversions" setting lets you decide whether or not to include individual conversion actions in your "Conversions" reporting column. The data in this column is used by bid strategies like target CPA, target ROAS, and ECPC, so your bid strategy will only optimize based on the conversions that you've chosen to include. Learn more
- The Include cross-device conversions setting lets you include cross-device conversions in your “Conversions” column and in your conversion-based bid strategies. Learn more