The pay per click industry is a huge market with hundreds of different PPC networks and millions of users.
If you’re new to PPC then you probably have a LOT of questions about how it all works. Maybe you’re not sure if PPC is for you, or you just want to know how much Google Ads costs.
Whatever your question, we’re here to help shed some light on the subject and get you up to date with the world of PPC.
In this post, we’ll be specifically answering the question “How much does Google Ads cost in 2021?”.
Although it doesn’t have a simple answer, we’ll break it down into steps that everyone can understand. So no matter if you want to start PPC advertising for your online store or business, you’ll know exactly how much you need to put aside for your first campaign.
To get things started, let’s take a look at some of the most expensive PPC keywords to give you an idea of how pricey Google Ads can be.
The Most Expensive Google Ads Keywords
When it comes to paid advertising, there are some keywords that everyone wants to bid on. These keywords are often popular with large companies and can easily result in a bidding war between two giants.
When two international businesses step into the ring, you can only expect one thing: expensive prices!
On one end of the extreme, you have cheap keywords that can be picked up for pennies (although that’s not a good idea). While on the other hand, you have super expensive keywords that can often go into the hundreds of dollars per click.
Luckily these keywords are only for certain industries and it’s likely you won’t have to pay anywhere near that much for your ads. Some of the most expensive keywords come from industries such as law, insurance, and finance.
To see a comprehensive list of the most expensive keywords, we suggest checking out our previous post to see the full details. There’s far too many to mention here, but we’ll give you a sneak peek. Some of the most expensive keywords go into the $500 dollar range.
If you thought paying $1 a click was bad, then be thankful you’re not paying $500. Speaking of expensive keywords, how exactly do you find out how much a keyword costs in the first place?
How Do I Find How Much A Keyword Costs?
If you’re thinking about running a campaign in Google Ads, then you’ll probably want an idea of how much it will cost. Although there are various factors that determine how expensive a campaign will be, the best starting place is the keyword. The keyword itself will vary in price from industry to industry so getting a rough estimate is ideal.
To get a rough idea of how much a particular keyword might cost, you can use the Keyword Planner tool as a good benchmark. Simply enter an industry term or keyword, and the tool will find plenty of relevant keywords for you.
You can fine-tune the targeting below the search box to only show the cost of advertising in the UK, USA or whatever country you desire. This can often have a slight impact on price as some countries are more expensive than others.
Once the results load up you’ll notice a “suggested bid” column. This estimate is calculated by looking at all the current advertisers running ads for that keyword and working out a network average. Your actual cost might vary depending on other factors (such as quality score which we’ll cover later), but overall, it’s a good indication of how much a campaign might cost.
Depending on your industry you’ll be able to determine if the cost per click is considered expensive or not. If all of the keywords in the planner are $10+ then you’re probably in a fairly expensive niche. However, if you’re looking at $1 and $2 keywords then lucky you!
Device Targeting And It’s Impact on CPC
With so many options and settings available in Google Ads, tweaking just one of them can have a huge impact on your cost per click and how much you pay. As mentioned earlier, different targeting options such as the country you want to target can have a big impact on the average cost per click. Another targeting option that’s available in Google Ads is the ability to target different devices.
As you probably know, not everyone visits websites on just their computers anymore. In fact, there is a range of devices that users use on a regular basis that you can take advantage of. From mobile phones to tablets and desktops, these are the 3 main devices that you can target in Google Ads.
Each of these devices will have a different CPC depending on if you target them all or just one in particular. Depending on which you target will directly affect your cost per click and therefore how much Google charges you.
Trying different device traffic is a good way to see if you can improve your campaign or not. Some campaigns might actually perform better if you only target mobile traffic, while others will perform better if you get rid of the mobile traffic.
The only way to find out is by doing it yourself and checking the results. Some industries might find mobile traffic converts better and therefore value them more. Whereas another industry might not invest a lot into mobile traffic and focus on desktop only. Each industry has its own preference and it’s down to you to find out which traffic is the best for yours.
How Much Does Google Ads Cost?
Now you’ve seen how expensive keywords can be and how to use Google’s tool to estimate your cost per click, it’s time to bring it all together to work out the cost. So just how much does Google charge for advertising on their network?
This answer might sound confusing to people new to PPC but bear with us. The answer to the question is that it’s actually the user who decides how much Google charges. Wait, what?
Yes, you read that right. It’s the user who decides how much Google charges per click (although that isn’t always the best idea.)
Google Ads can be both an automatic or manual platform. This sometimes means users will want to let Google adjust their bids for them automatically. While other times users will want to be in complete control themselves.
Being in control means you can decide how much Google charges you per click. You simply change the number to your maximum bid per click and Google takes care of the rest. However, just because you enter a low number doesn’t mean you’ll receive lots of clicks at that price. Enter a number too low, and you won’t receive any at all!
To make sure people see your ads you’ll have to set your bid around 50 cents higher than the industry average CPC.
Like we mentioned earlier, the price you pay for the keyword will mostly depend on the industry and how competitive it is. If it’s super competitive, then it’s best to let Google take care of the work and bidding automation.
Since prices can change so fast, having a manual bid wouldn’t give you the best results. The chances are your competitors will be using some kind of automated system that automatically adjusts the bid prices giving them an advantage over anyone doing it all manually. Just imagine trying to manually change a campaign of 100 keywords twice a day…
For smaller businesses, it’s pretty common to be able to get away with paying 50 cents per click. However, if you want to be in the top 4 spots on Google then you’ll always want to bid more than your competitors. This brings us to our next question, how much does it cost to get on the first page of Google?
How Much Does It Cost to Get on the First Page of Google?
Getting to the first page of Google with your ad can be easy or hard depending on the keyword you’re targeting. If a keyword has no competition, then you simply make an ad and hey presto you’re on the first page.
However, keywords that have been around for longer often have numerous ads already running. These keywords can be much trickier to get into the number 1 spot. As a rule of thumb, if you want to rank higher on Google then you need to pay more.
If the keyword planner can give you the average price other advertisers are paying, then you want to pay more. We suggest paying an additional 30 – 50% per click to see how high you rank. Sometimes you’ll be still on page 2, while sometimes you’ll shoot straight to number 1. Unfortunately, there’s no simple calculation. The only way to find out how much it will actually cost you to get on page 1 is by adjusting your bid and playing around with it.
If you do have to pay 50% extra or more in order to get on page 1 then don’t panic. There’s a clever way to reduce your cost per click without having to reduce your bid price.
Quality Score and It’s Effect on Prices
Earlier we mentioned that there are several factors that affect the price you pay per click. One of the most important factors (after the keyword’s average bid) is your quality score.
Every advertiser and ad campaign on Google Ads is given this quality score metric. A good quality score means you save money and pay less per click compared to other advertisers. A bad quality score means your cost per click actually increases and you can end up paying 100% or more just to compete with other advertisers paying a lower price.
This system forces advertisers to ensure that their ads are relevant as well as their landing page, to give visitors the best user experience. The last thing Google wants to do is put a bad ad in the top spot as it’s less likely to get clicked, meaning they’re less likely to get paid.
To give you a brief overview of the quality score metric, advertisers who optimise their landing pages and adverts to include their focus keyword receive a better score. In such a competitive industry, many businesses will go to extreme lengths to ensure their quality score is good. After all, with huge savings to be made why wouldn’t you?
To learn how to improve your quality score and save drastically reduce your cost per click, be sure to read our AdWords Quality Score guide to find out more information. Having a good quality score can often be the difference between a profitable and unprofitable campaign.
The Top Factors That Affect Google Ads Pricing
To bring everything together let’s have a quick recap of the top factors that affect how much you pay on Google Ads.
Since Google Ads uses an auction bidding system, every industry is unique and the level of competition will greatly influence how much keywords costs per click. If you’re in a super competitive industry such as car insurance, finance, or payday loans, then expect to pay tens if not hundreds of dollars per click.
Compare this to a very new or less popular industry and the chances are your cost per click will be much lower. Keywords with less volume and buyer intent also usually cost less as they require more clicks to convert a user.
Targeting different areas of the world can have a huge effect on the cost of your clicks and overall campaign. Think of countries as different tiers when it comes to price.
The most developed countries in the world (UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany etc) are often classed as “tier 1” traffic. These countries have the highest CPC due to the high quality of traffic. Compare this to a lower tier of countries such as India, Pakistan, Brazil and the cost of clicks will be much much lower. This is because advertisers don’t value those countries as highly compared to others out there and things such as language can also be important when choosing the target location.
When setting up your campaign be sure to keep an eye on which countries you are targeting and ask yourself if you really need to target them. Excluding some countries could potentially save you a bunch of money!
Just like locations, device targeting plays a huge role in the price you pay per click in Google Ads. Split into 3 main categories of mobile, tablet and desktop traffic, each device has it’s own CPC.
Usually, desktop traffic has the highest CPC but depending on the industry, sometimes mobile traffic can actually be more expensive. Experimenting with different types of traffic for your campaign is the best way to see if you can save some money or not.
You might think Google only has one network in which they can display your ads, but you’ll be surprised to know they have two. Known as the Google search and display network, these two different networks display ads in different ways.
The Google search network is what most people commonly think of when they think of Google ads. These are the ads that are displayed when you search for something in the Google search engine.
On the other hand, you have the display network that works differently. This network is still controlled by Google but allows you to display your ads to a larger audience by using other people’s websites.
Webmasters run ads on their websites in exchange for receiving revenue from people clicking on their ads. This, in turn, allows users to target a larger audience.
As you can probably guess, these different networks have different prices and can greatly affect how much it costs to advertise on Google. The search network is usually a lot more expensive than the display network as the quality of users is a lot higher. If you want to get some cheap traffic from Google’s network then be sure to give their display network a try.
The final factor that affects how much you pay for Google advertising is the quality score of your campaign and account. As mentioned earlier, the quality score can save advertisers a lot of money, or cost them a lot more.
A good quality score can reduce the average cost per click of an ad by up to 50%. While a bad quality score can increase the cost of a click by up to 400%. Making sure your campaign is optimized to have the highest quality score possible is essential if you want to reduce your Google advertising costs.
Now you know how much Google charges for advertising, it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth your time and money. There’s no guarantee you’ll make money from advertising on Google, but it’s certainly worth trying. You never know, you might end up being able to pick up high-quality clicks for only 50 cents each! If you don’t then one of your competitors will.