Laura Phillips

Three Conversion Optimisation Techniques To Reduce AdWords Cost Per Conversion

14th Nov 2013 PPC Blog, Google AdWords 6 minutes to read

CRO AdWordsConversion Optimisation is a hot topic when it comes to increasing sales and sign ups on your website via SEO and it also works great for Paid Search campaigns. In this post we look at specific ways it can increase your conversions through Google AdWords, which will in turn help reduce your Cost per Conversion.

Let’s take a look at three of my favourite ways to do this;

Google Campaign Experiments

What are Google Campaign Experiments?

AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE) allow you to test the impact of changes to your keywords, bids, placements and more on just ‘some’ of the auctions where your Ad may appear (as defined by you). This alleviates the risk you would have to take by actually making these changes to the whole of your campaign.

ACE allows you to measure these changes and their statistical significance.

How To Set Experiment Parameters

1. Head to the Ad campaign that you want to experiment with and hit the ‘Settings’ tab.

2. Scroll down to ‘Advanced Settings’, click ‘Experiment’, then click ‘Experiment Settings’.

AdWords Experiment Parameters

3. Specify a title, percentage split, start and end date.

4. Remember, only one active experiment is allowed per campaign.

Defining Experimental Changes

1. Decide what element of the campaign you would like to experiment with, for example, adding more keywords, or increasing bids.

Defining Experimental Changes

2. If you would like particular keywords to run only in the control or experiment section then mark them as such in the AdWords interface by right clicking the current status and selecting the appropriate option:


3. Select your experiment start and end date.

4. When you’re ready, go back to Advanced Settings and click ‘Start Experiment’ to get started.

Monitoring Your Experiment

Keep a close eye on your AdWords experiments and regularly compare them to your control data. You can check your results by choosing your campaign and date set, then clicking ‘Segment’ and ‘Experiment’:

Monitoring Your Experiment

Evaluating Success

This will show data for your experimental and control groups. Compare results, and use this information to decide whether to adopt the changes made in your experiment, discard them, or leave them running for a bit longer.

Enhanced CPC

How It Works

Enhanced CPC (ECPC) is designed to increase campaign ROI by raising your bid for clicks that Google determines are more likely to lead to conversions. As with the Conversion Optimiser below, how these decisions are made is based upon historical conversion data. It uses this information to adjust your maximum CPC bids upwards when it deems a conversion to be likely. This will most likely increase your conversion rate and lower the bid for auctions where conversion is less likely.

In Google’s own words…

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…”

If an ad auction looks positive, ECPC may increase your keyword/ad group/placement bid by up to 30%. Less relevant auctions and those deemed less likely to bring conversions will have lower bids.

Where Can I Find Enhanced CPC?

Your Bid Strategy options can be found in the Settings tab of your campaign:

Bid Strategy Options
Things To Be Aware Of

  • When you select ECPC your Ad Rotation settings will automatically be reset to Optimise for Conversions regardless of what was previously set
  • ECPC can increase your bids by up to 30%
  • If you don’t have conversion tracking up and running, ECPC will not work

Evaluating Success

Keep an eye on your data, but ECPC by its nature should improve your figures, or at least not cause them to decrease.

Conversion Optimiser

Simply put, Conversion Optimiser is designed to help you get the most conversions for your budget. According to Google, Conversion Optimiser achieves an average of a 21% increase in conversions and decreases CPA by 14%.


There are a few requirements to use the Conversion Optimiser:

  • Conversion tracking has been implemented for the campaign
  • The campaign has received at least 15 conversions in the last 30 days
  • The campaign has been receiving conversions at a relatively steady rate for a number of days

These stipulations enable AdWords to make more accurate predictions about the future performance of the campaign based on historical data.

How It Works

Conversion Optimiser looks at your past conversion tracking and uses this to sow your ad when it expects you to get the most conversions for your budget or target.

Setting Up Conversion Optimiser

Changing your bidding strategy to Conversion Optimiser couldn’t be easier. On opening your AdWords account, you will be alerted to any campaigns which are eligible to use Conversion Optimiser but are not doing so.

All Online Campaigns

Click view, and these campaigns will show. Choose a campaign you would like to use Conversion Optimiser on, and click on the Settings tab. Scroll down to Bid Strategy, select Conversion Optimiser, set your target or maximum bid, and click Save. That’s it.

Conversion Optimiser

If you need more help, here’s a little video from Google to help you set up Conversion Optimiser.

Potential Outcomes

Obviously the idea is that your conversions will increase once you start using the tool, but there are other possible results to be aware of, and Conversion Optimiser doesn’t work like a dream for every campaign.

Performance will of course depend in the maximum bid you specify. In order to perform well with a smaller bid, this tool places quite conservative bids and goes for ‘easy wins’. This means cheaper conversion costs, but Conversion Optimiser may also provide less conversions overall initially. By specifying a higher target CPA the tool will be able to bid more aggressively bringing in more conversions, though at a higher cost.

Evaluating Success

Working out whether Conversion Optimiser is for you or not is pretty simple.

  • Are you getting more conversions that when you were bidding manually?
  • Are your conversions cheaper than when you were bidding manually?

Remember, before and after results will not be 100% directly attributable to Conversion Optimiser, as there are many other factors affecting your performance. However, overall you should be seeing an increase in conversions and a decrease in CPA.

If the campaign is not performing quite as you’d hoped, try experimenting with your target or maximum bid. If after testing you are still not seeing an improvement, it may be that you are better off bidding manually.

What’s The Difference?

In Google’s own words…

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.”


Results for both appear to be mixed; I’d suggest you experiment with both bid strategies over a decent amount of time/conversions before making any more permanent decisions.

If you would like to share your experiences with either of these options please leave them in the comments below;

Image Source

Abstract Money Background via BigStock

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