Why Higher Costs-per-click Can Be a Good Thing for Google Ads Campaigns

In Google Ads, a major benefit for advertisers is that Google charges when a searcher actually clicks on an ad, not just when an ad is served (i.e., an impression). Here’s how it works: when a user enters a search, advertisers bid for the right to show up in the results based on how much they’re willing to pay for a click, determined by how relevant the search term is to their business. But, ad slots don’t necessarily go to the highest bidders. Google determines ad positioning by balancing the amount each advertiser is willing to pay for a click with how relevant their ad is in order to return the best results for each search.

This setup makes cost-per-click (CPC) – the amount advertisers spend for each keyword – a popular metric in Ads. But, clicks don’t guarantee conversions, and most advertisers are more concerned with the number of qualified leads their ads bring in (and rightfully so).

Still, there’s a pervasive belief among Ads advertisers that lower CPCs mean lower cost-per-lead (CPL) results. But, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Here’s the flip side of that argument: properly-managed campaigns have higher bid amounts for the keywords that drive the most qualified traffic (i.e., traffic that converts to sales). Conversely, these campaigns set lower bids for the keywords that don’t generate sales.

To get a better understanding of this line of reasoning, let’s start with a couple of factors that determine CPC in Google Ads.

No. 1: Google Ads Quality Score

Quality Scores are Google’s way of determining the quality and relevance of ads based on their selected keywords. Basically, the more relevant an ad is for the specific keyword it’s assigned to, the higher the ad’s Quality Score. Higher Quality Scores lead to lower required bids to get into the search results, which means lower average CPC.

A significant factor determining Quality Score is click-thru rate (CTR) which is the number of times an ad is clicked on divided by the number of times the ad is seen. The better a campaign’s CTR, the more relevant the ads are to Google and the higher the Quality Score.

CTR =  Clicks / Impressions

No. 2: Ad Rank

Ad Rank is the average position of a brand’s ads in search results compared to their competitors. An ad’s positioning in a search result can have a significant impact on how often the ad is clicked – and, as discussed in the previous section, CTR is an important factor in determining CPC and Quality Score.

Since getting rid of competitors is unfortunately not an option, it’s important to stay on top of the game by optimizing bids for the right keywords. Is there a secret sauce for this? You bet, and these are the ingredients:

  • Increasing bids on keywords that positively impact conversions, CPL and return on investment.
  • “Pruning” keyword lists by either decreasing bids or pausing keywords that are negatively impacting the account (i.e., those expensive/ineffective keywords that garner clicks but don’t produce conversions).
  • Diving through search term reports and assigning negative keywords (terms your ads won’t show up for) and adding new keywords that are likely to convert.

Focusing on qualified traffic, not clicks

Let’s get back to why higher CPC numbers aren’t necessarily a symptom of underperforming Google Ads campaigns. By looking at industry trends, we can see that average bids (and, therefore CPC numbers) have been on the rise over the past few years. While the impact varies across industries and ad types, it’s important to note that higher CPCs, when handled appropriately, can indicate positive overall performance.

Within reason, higher CPCs are not a problem for campaigns that attract relevant searchers and generate qualified leads. The more aggressively advertisers bid on top-performing keywords, the more likely they are to outrank competitors in the searches that matter most to them. This may increase overall CPC, but the tradeoff is worth it because the traffic from these clicks is more likely to lead to sales.

Advertisers should think about CPC this way: do you want to get cheap clicks from searches that aren’t likely to drive sales, or would you rather pay a little more for keywords that drive conversions and contribute to your bottom line?

[Infographic]: The Consumer Buying Journey for Multi-Location Brands

When developing marketing strategies, it’s important for brands to understand their customers’ buying journeys. I.e., how does someone go from a consumer realizing a need to a customer making a purchase? It can be tough. Buying journeys have become increasingly malleable, it’s no longer about trying to figure out if the journey is linear or cyclical. It’s about understanding what consumers need at each stage of the buying journey and delivering them the right message at the right time. 

This is especially true for multi-location brands, who not only have to define target audiences by demographics, behavior and intent like any other brand, they also need to refine that audience to consumers within a set radius from their locations. 

With this infographic, you will learn:

  • How the flow of the buying journey has changed for multi-location brands
  • What multi-location brands should be doing to reach consumers at each stage of the journey


Consumer Buying Journey for Multi-Location Brands


Related: 3 Strategies to Help Multi-location Brands Connect with Local Consumers


3 Tips to Help Multi-Location Brands Optimize Their Local Search Presence

After a couple of years of touting a rise in “near-me” queries, Google recently announced that these explicitly local searches have fallen out of favor. The search company was quick to point out that this didn’t mean local searches were decreasing, just that “over the last two years, comparable searches without ‘near me’ have grown by 150 percent.”

Google’s VP of Marketing for the Americas, Lisa Gevelber, summed it up like this: “We’re now seeing a shift toward dropping location qualifiers (like ZIP codes, neighborhoods and ‘near me’ phrasing) in local search queries, because people know that the results will automatically be relevant to their location — thanks to their phone.”

The implication: As digital platforms continue to customize experiences based on individual users, searchers now just assume – and pretty much expect – Google will know when they’re searching for something nearby and automatically return local search results.

To continue reading, check out the full post on LSA Insider

Mindstream Media wins Yext’s Trailblazing Agency of the Year

Mindstream Media, a locally focused, national digital agency won Yext, Inc.’s (NYSE: YEXT) Trailblazing Agency of the Year Award at the ONWARD 17 global conference in New York City last week.

“These awards are for the companies and people who are challenging themselves to think differently about the future of their businesses and industries,” said Brian Distelburger, Co-Founder and President of Yext. “The winners of the Yext Explorer Awards are constantly innovating, and are leveraging Digital Knowledge Management technology to light a new path into the Intelligent Future.”

From left to right: Eric Webb – President, Mindstream Media; Brian Distelburger – Co-Founder and President, Yext; Chris Malone – Executive Vice President, Mindstream Media; Jonathan Cherins – Executive Vice President, Yext.

Mindstream Media’s Trailblazing Agency of the Year award is one of the eight Yext Explorer Awards. As the Trailblazing winner, Mindstream Media was celebrated for taking a 360-degree view of the universe of marketing leveraging Digital Knowledge Management to prepare its clients to better compete. Mindstream Media was among the first agencies to partner with Yext at the company’s inception.

“We are proud of our partnership, as together, we transform brands with their valuable content to create engaging experiences with consumers – when and where it matters most,” said Mindstream’s EVP Chris Malone. “Leveraging the Yext technology, Mindstream Media powers growth for national brands across the ever-changing digital landscape. We appreciate the recognition from an industry-leading partner as it confirms the value we deliver to clients we proudly serve.”


About Mindstream Media

Mindstream Media designs and executes sophisticated digital media strategies that increase sales for national brands by growing brand awareness and generating qualified local leads. Teams in San Diego; New York City; St. Louis; Milwaukee; Peoria, Illinois and Cedar Falls, Iowa provide search marketing, SEO, social, listings management and hyper-targeted display solutions. Mindstream Media proudly represents these, and many other, advertisers: Enterprise Rent-A-Car, American Express, Verizon Wireless, Samsung, Roto-Rooter, ServiceMaster, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and The UPS Store. Mindstream Media is a recognized Google Premier Partner specializing in search advertising and display advertising. Learn more at mindstreammediagroup.com.

About Yext

Yext is pioneering a new category called Digital Knowledge Management, which gives businesses control of all of the public facts that they want consumers to know across the intelligent ecosystem. The Yext Knowledge Engine™ lets companies manage their digital knowledge in the cloud and sync it to over 100 services in the PowerListings® Network. Yext Listings, Pages and Reviews enable businesses around the globe to facilitate face-to-face and digital interactions that boost brand awareness, drive foot traffic and increase sales.

[Guide]: 3 Strategies to Help Multi-location Brands Connect with Local Consumers

From our Digital Marketing Playbook series: A roadmap to help brands reach their target audiences anytime, anywhere.

As a multi-location brand marketer, you know about the unique challenges your business faces when it comes to identifying and reaching target audiences. Not only do you have to define target audiences by demographics, behavior and intent like any other brand, you also need to refine that audience to consumers within a set radius from your locations.

This playbook was designed to help multi-location brand marketers develop cohesive marketing strategies that connect with target audiences and drive results at the local level.

What you can expect to learn from this playbook:

  • How the buying journey has changed for multi-location brands’ customers
  • Three local marketing strategies multi-location brands should be leveraging
  • How to determine the right media mix for your multi-location brand

3 Strategies to Help Multi-Location Brands Connect With Local Consumers




Contact Mindstream Media Group to learn how our digital marketing solutions can help your multi-location brand connect with local consumers.