What am I Bidding?

What am I Bidding?

Pay Per Click Bidding

The Truth About How Much You’re Really Bidding

If you work in a competitive industry, you probably know (or think you know) what your CPC bid is. Logging into AdWords gives you anxiety, but you do your best to balance the incredibly high bidding suggestions with your conversion and CPA goals.

Whether you’re a conservative bidder, or someone who’s willing to pay top dollar for first position, your strategy may be based on skewed information.

PPC Has Evolved

Pay Per Click marketing is more complex than ever before. In its infancy, PPC was much more transparent. In the olden days, advertisers were able to log in to a platform, view what their competitors were bidding, and bid higher or lower based on their goals. That transparency led to some sketchy practices, including bid jamming.

When Google AdWords entered the market, they invented something called a “quality score.” Ad placement no longer solely depended on bids, but factored in the quality of an advertiser’s ad, content, and website. In AdWords, advertisers can view and adjust max CPCs, but are left in the dark when it comes to what they are bidding in auction.

Then Came Bid Adjustments

Maximum CPCs allow the advertiser to see up to how much they’ll spend per click. With the introduction of bid adjustments, the max CPC became a launching point. To get an actual bid price, you need to multiply the bid with your bid modifiers, which are often percentage increases.

For example, AdWords says that in order to rank on the first page for the keyword “loans” you need to bid $8. However, you notice that your ad isn’t appearing at the top of page results, and your quality score isn’t a 10/10. You decide to create a new bidding strategy to secure top placement. You set the threshold up to $100, meaning you’ll bid up to 100% times the original bid in order to be number one.

When using bid adjustments there’s no way to tell what you actually bid in auction for top position.

AdWords Scripts

For those who can’t live in a world with that much ambiguity, there are AdWords scripts. By using the AdWords CPC script, you can see CPC ranges for each of your keywords. You simply copy the script and paste it into an AdWords account.

The result is a spreadsheet with two tabs “Campaigns” and “Keywords.” The campaigns tab will show your highest and lowest bid modifiers for mobile, geographic locations and dayparts by campaign. The second tab will show each keyword with the base CPC and the highest possible CPC. It also shows estimated CPCs from Google for the top of the page above organic results.

With this information you can better understand what you’re actually bidding, and optimize your campaigns accordingly.


Always follow industry best practices and all applicable rules and regulations with your advertising and marketing materials. ArrowShade takes compliance very seriously. We are also here to help. For questions regarding compliance, please email us at compliance@arrowshade.com.

One Response

  1. […] results and how much you’re charged per click. Basically, the better your Quality Score, the lower your CPC and the higher you rank in search results. Google will also show your ad more if you score […]

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