Brands may be at Google’s mercy when it comes to the price of branded traffic, but Columnist Andy Taylor outlines steps they can take to reduce their CPC pain.
In Q1 and Q2 of 2017, Merkle (my employer) reported on a positive trend for advertisers that showed a decline in brand cost per click (CPC) year over year. The CPC of brand terms is often determined by Google’s algorithm as opposed to the competitive landscape, so brands are often left to Google’s mercy in determining the price paid for this traffic.
In the case of the mid-2017 decline, it seems advertisers were benefiting from Google’s May ad rank change, which appeared to reduce first-page and top-of-page minimum bids in the search results. However, despite a continued decline in minimum bid estimates, brand CPC rebounded sharply in Q4.
Brand CPC up massively in Q4
Looking at the data featured in the Merkle Q4 digital marketing report, we find brand CPC went from a 13 percent year-over-year decline in Q3 to a 23 percent increase in Q4, by far the largest increase of the past seven quarters: