Top Search Engine Advertising Tips for Lower CPAs

July 16, 2020

With an estimated 5.8 billion web searches per day and 94% of internet searches happening on Google property, it’s clear why brands in retail, nonprofit, insurance, and gaming rely heavily on search engine advertising to reach consumers and drive revenue. 

No matter what type of paid search advertising goals you have for your brand, it’s important to ensure that your search engine advertising budget drives revenue in a cost-effective way that delivers the best ROI. To drive better ROI in paid search advertising, it’s vital to focus on acquiring new customers at the lowest possible CPA.

Lower CPAs offer more return on your PPC investment, which drives budget-efficient customer acquisition and helps you do more with less. This is especially vital as we all continue to navigate changing consumer behavior, due to impacts of COVID 19, and adapt to lower media budgets as a result. 

So how can your business react to changing consumer behavior and see lower CPAs while continuing to bring in new business? Read on to learn our best tips for driving new customers with lower CPAs in the most commonly used paid search management platforms such as Google Ads, and Google Search Ads 360. 

Tip #1: Improve ad targeting in Google paid search marketing campaigns

Improving your ad targeting and setting up correct targeting for your Google search ads is a quick win for more efficient paid search management. To do this, you’ll need to make sure you aren’t trying to reach too broad of an audience via your audience targeting settings in Google Ads or Search Ads 360. 

Audience targeting settings that are too broad can cause wasted ad spend trying to capture users that are not relevant to your product or service. This budget could be better spent targeting relevant users with a higher likelihood of converting and therefore offer better ROI and ROAS for your PPC investment. 

Both Google Ads and Search Ads 360 offer strong audience targeting capabilities, allowing you to attract new customers based on affinity and demographics. You can also build and share remarketing audiences across multiple channels in Google paid search.

By building audiences across multiple channels, and remarketing to them, you can build larger qualified audiences and reach those audiences across multiple channels faster. This cuts down on wasted time and resources otherwise spent manually entering your target audiences into each ad platform. 

You can then better use this time to test and evaluate your audience targeting to achieve the lowest possible CPA for your Google paid search campaign.  

You can also learn more about specific audience targeting capabilities in Google Ads in our blog post here, or learn more about advanced paid search management in Search Ads 360 here. 

Tip #2: Choose the right bidding strategy for your unique campaign goals

Choosing the right bidding strategy depending on what you’d like to achieve in your paid search advertising helps you evaluate the success and cost of your paid search campaigns against your specific campaign goals.  

Understanding this also helps you determine if you are properly allocating paid search dollars. As a result, you can avoid wasting budget on paid search campaigns that don’t drive a strong ROI for your PPC investment. 

There are a variety of bidding strategies that translate across both Google Ads and Search Ads 360. To drive customers at lower CPAs, it’s crucial to understand each of the bidding strategies and use them based on your specific campaign goals. 

For example, if your paid search campaign’s primary goal is to drive traffic to site (such as an awareness campaign), a CPC bidding strategy is best since the goal of your campaign is to generate clicks. 

However, a CPA bidding strategy is a better fit for search engine advertising campaigns focused on driving conversions. You can use CPA to understand the true cost of each conversion. Understanding the true cost of each conversion can help you better allocate your paid search budget. 

Google paid search advertising also offers smart bidding strategies. These strategies use machine learning algorithms to optimize bids and group together multiple campaigns into a single bid strategy with a common goal. 

This not only saves you time but also helps give you a complete picture of your paid search campaign performance. As a result, you can spot trends and quickly make changes to your bidding strategy to achieve the lowest possible CPAs. 

When using Target CPA, for example, Google automatically sets bids to help drive as many conversions as possible at the target cost-per-action (CPA) you determine. While some conversions may cost more or less than your target, this is a great bidding strategy for cost efficiency since you can test accounts with high conversion volume and optimize them accordingly.

Additionally, smart bidding strategies allow you to test campaign results before and after enabling smart bidding. This helps you determine if you can achieve the same campaign results with a lower CPA via help from machine learning. You can learn more about smart bidding in our blog post here. 

Tip #3: Optimize Your Google Quality Score

Optimizing your Google quality score is another quick win option for lower CPAs in your paid search advertising. Higher quality scores result in lower CPAs. In fact, for each point, your score is above the average Quality Score of 5, your CPA will drop by about 16%.

Google uses an algorithm to assign a quality score to your site based on your website’s keywords, ads, and landing pages. This algorithm measures the relevance of your messaging and website copy relative to your target keywords, through the full paid search user experience. 

Lower CPAs resulting from higher quality scores incentivize brands to create an accurate, cohesive messaging throughout that paid search experience, optimized against the quality score. 

Your quality score also impacts your search rankings. A lower quality score results in higher CPCs when bidding for the top position for a given keyword. This can cause inflated CPCs due to a low-quality score. Inflated CPCs also inherently increase CPAs, since it will ultimately cost your brand more of your media budget to drive users to click through to a page on your site. 

You can find your Google quality score via your Google Ads or Search Ads 360 account. Then, you can optimize your score by creating highly specific ad groups, choosing keywords relevant to both landing pages and ad group themes, and including your target keywords in your ad. 

Bottom Line

Driving new customers at a lower CPA supports more efficient paid search management. When you can continue to bring in new customers at lower CPAs, you’ll see better return on your PPC investment, and therefore better ROAS and ROI from your paid search advertising campaigns. 

To learn more about our best practices and tips to run cost-effective search engine advertising, read our blog on search engine marketing best practices, or discover the similarities and differences between Google Ads and Search Ads 360. 

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