Search Advertising assessment study guide
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 will try to keep your average CPC below the max. CPC that you set (including bid adjustments) when optimising 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 and Hotel campaigns, 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 with Search, Shopping or Hotel campaigns, you’ll need to set up conversion tracking. You don’t need conversion tracking to use ECPC with Display campaigns, but conversions will help you see whether your ads are effective.If you aren’t using conversion tracking
If you aren’t using conversion tracking, you can still use ECPC on your Display network. You may see higher quality traffic and more conversions because Google Ads will raise and lower your bids according to the quality of the traffic that we perceive for each auction. Your daily spend might increase as a result. If you're using manual CPC and want to keep your spend at around the same level that it is currently, you should adjust your CPC target to your 30 day average spend.
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 that you've set) to compete harder for those clicks. If a click seems less likely to convert, Google Ads will lower your bid. ECPC will try to keep your average CPC below the max. CPC that you set (including bid adjustments), but may exceed your max. CPC for short periods of time.
Suppose that you sell shoes on your website, you've set your max. CPC for £1, and you have ECPC bidding turned on. If the Google Ads system sees an auction that looks likely to lead someone to buy shoes on your site, it might set your bid to £1.70 for that auction. If ECPC sees another auction that looks unlikely to lead to a sale, it might lower your bid to £0.30 for that auction.
ECPC is a form of Smart Bidding that uses a wide range of auction-time signals such as demographics, 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. For Hotel ads, ECPC works when a traveller clicks a link from the Hotel ads booking module.
ECPC is available as an optional feature with Manual CPC bidding or as a portfolio bid strategy.How conversion tracking works with ECPC
The Google Ads 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. You'll get optimal performance if you use conversion tracking with ECPC.
ECPC will increase your max CPC bid (after applying any bid adjustments that 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 that you 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 when it sees a good opportunity, don't be surprised if your Google Ads 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.
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 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
- 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 bids separately for mobile devices. This means that you don’t need to set any bid adjustments (aside from mobile) for ECPC to maximise 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 Google Ads 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.
Find out more About bid adjustments.
How to enable ECPC
Bear in mind that ECPC works slightly differently for Shopping and Hotel campaigns than it does on Search and Display. Learn how to set up ECPC for Shopping campaigns. Or learn about ECPC for Hotel campaigns.
The new Google Ads experience is now the exclusive way for most users to manage their accounts. If you’re still using the previous AdWords experience, choose Previous below. Learn more
- Sign in to your AdWords account.
- From your Campaigns tab, click on the name of the campaign that you want to work with.
- Click on the Settings tab.
- Find the "Bid strategy" section. Click Edit.
- Choose Manual CPC bidding from the drop-down, and select the Enable Enhanced CPC option.
- When you choose ECPC, AdWords automatically sets your ad rotation setting to "optimise for conversions", even if it's currently set to "optimise for clicks".
- Select Apply.
- To create a portfolio bid strategy for ECPC, read Create a portfolio bid strategy.
Tip: Choose what conversions to bid for
The Include in "Conversions" setting lets you decide whether or not to include individual conversion actions in your "Conversions" and "Conversion value" reporting columns. The data in these columns are used by bid strategies like target CPA, target ROAS and ECPC, so your bid strategy will only optimise based on the conversions that you've chosen to include. Learn more
Cross-device conversions from Display Network, Video, Search and Shopping campaigns are included by default.