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About Enhanced CPC (ECPC)

Enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC) helps you get more conversions from manual bidding. ECPC works by automatically adjusting your manual bids for clicks that seem more or less likely to lead to a sale or conversion on your website. Unlike Target CPA, which automatically sets bids based on your target cost-per-conversion, ECPC is constrained by your max CPC bids when optimizing for conversions.

For Search and Display campaigns, ECPC helps increase conversions while trying to keep your cost-per-conversion the same as you’re getting with manual bidding. For Shopping, ECPC helps increase conversions while trying to maintain your same overall spend.

In this article, we’ll explain how ECPC works and how it can help you get more value for your ad budget.

Before you begin

To use Enhanced CPC, you’ll need to have conversion tracking enabled. Learn how to Set up conversion tracking.

If you’d like to learn about ECPC for Shopping, read how to Set up ECPC for Shopping campaigns.

How it works

ECPC looks for ad auctions that are more likely to lead to conversions, and then raises your max CPC bid (after applying any bid adjustments you've set) to compete harder for those clicks. If a click seems less likely to convert, AdWords will lower your bid. ECPC will try to keep your average CPC below the max CPC you set (including bid adjustments), but may exceed your max CPC for short periods of time.

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 to US$1.70 for that auction. If ECPC sees another auction that looks unlikely to lead to a sale, it might lower your bid to US$0.30 for that auction.

ECPC is a form of AdWords Smart Bidding that uses a wide range of auction-time signals such as device, browser, location, and time of day to tailor bids to someone’s unique context, but not to the full extent of other Smart Bidding strategies, such as Target CPA and Target ROAS.

ECPC for text ads is available on the Search Network and the Display Network, but not for app installs campaigns. For Shopping ads, ECPC works only on Google Search.

ECPC is available as an optional feature with Manual CPC bidding or as a portfolio 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 portfolio bid strategies

How conversion tracking works with ECPC

The AdWords system looks for patterns of clicks and conversions and compares them to your past results. If certain locations 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 (after applying any bid adjustments you've set) when it sees a high likelihood of conversion. It will also lower your max CPC if it determines a conversion isn't likely, so you'll pay less for clicks that are less likely to convert.

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.

Tip

Because ECPC will increase your max CPC bid when it sees a good opportunity, don't be surprised if your AdWords report occasionally shows average CPCs that are over your max CPC. ECPC will try to keep your average CPC below the max your set, but your average CPC may exceed your max CPC for short periods of time.

How ECPC is different from Target CPA bidding

Both ECPC and Target CPA bidding work to get you more conversions. The key difference is that ECPC partially automates your manual bids by adjusting your max CPC (after applying any bid adjustments you've set), and doesn't allow you to set an explicit CPA target. Target CPA fully automates your bid strategy based on the CPA target that you set, and doesn't require you to set manual bids.

Target CPA bidding gives you the very best chance to improve your results with the full power of AdWords Smart Bidding. However, ECPC provides a level of manual control that some people prefer.

Both ECPC and Target CPA bidding

  • 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
  • Raises or lowers your manual bids to help you get more conversions
  • Works with third-party bidding systems, even if they're automating your bids

Target CPA bidding

  • Uses a target CPA you set
  • Automatically sets your CPC bid for each auction to increase the chance of a conversion

Bid adjustments with ECPC

ECPC automatically takes into account different conversion rates for all types of traffic, but sets adjustments separately for mobile devices. This means you don’t need to set any bid adjustments (aside from mobile) for ECPC to maximize conversions. However, if you want to bid more aggressively for certain types of traffic you can still choose to set a bid adjustment. This adjustment will be applied on top of ECPC’s automatic adjustments.

Mobile adjustments can also help incorporate any additional conversions that aren’t tracked using the AdWords conversion tracking tag (such as in-store visits). ECPC will continue to automatically set bid adjustments for desktop traffic vs. tablet traffic based on differences in conversion rates.

Learn more About bid adjustments.

How to enable ECPC

Your campaign must have conversion tracking enabled in order to use ECPC. Also, keep in mind that ECPC works slightly differently for Shopping campaigns than it does on Search and Display. Learn more about how to Set up ECPC for Shopping campaigns.

Instructions

Choose the AdWords experience you're using. Learn more.

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  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. Choose Manual CPC bidding from the drop-down, and check the Enable Enhanced CPC option.
    • When you choose ECPC, AdWords automatically sets your ad rotation setting to "optimize for conversions," even if it's currently set to "optimize for clicks."
  6. Select Apply.
  7. To create a portfolio bid strategy for ECPC, read Create a portfolio bid strategy.
 

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
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