NZ CPCs not yet at $272 a click, but rising

Would you pay $272 per click for an AdWords keyword? That’s the price of the most expensive AdWords keyword in the US, according to competitor analysis firm AdGooroo.

AdGooroo ranked “mesothelioma attorneys tx” as the keyword with the most expensive cost per click (CPC) in the US, ahead of nine other +$200 USD keywords.

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer commonly associated with exposure to asbestos. And lawyers have long competed with high bids formesothelioma-related keywords due to the substantial payouts (often in the millions) awarded plaintiffs in successful lawsuits.

That said, these terms are not the most expensive in terms of ad spend — that honour goes to “free credit report”, followed by “car insurance” and “car insurance quotes”. Last year, annual spend for those three keywords exceeded $100m USD according to AdGooroo’s estimates.

Insurance-related terms are amongst the most expensive in New Zealand as well. And PPC platform provider Wordstream reports that cost per click pricing in this country averages just 14 percent below that of the US.


Here, as in the US, AdWords CPCs appear to be increasing, with advertisers in both countries recently reporting sharp increases in brand-related CPCs.

Why should you care?

You may be prepared to put a high maximum bid on an infrequently-searched keyword that converts well and is highly profitable — fair enough. But what do you do if prices for your brand terms keep going up?

Brand term CPCs generally increase when a new competitor enters the market. You can simply tough it out, if you have the budget available and your AdWords campaigns remain profitable. But there are other options worth exploring when you want to cut brand keyword costs.

First, we’d suggest you might want to revise your ad copy (something you should always consider doing in the face of new competition).

Have all the ad extensions appropriate to your business been set up and activated? Ad extensions not only take up more space in search results, making it more difficult for your competitors to appear, but usually increase clickthrough rates. Improve your clickthrough rates and you’ll generally be rewarded with lower CPCs. Now you’re getting more search traffic at a lower price — what’s not to like?

We also suggest you check what search queries your brand terms are being matched to (and add negative keywords where necessary). While you’d expect all your brand terms to have high Quality Scores, any that don’t are likely being matched to less relevant search terms. Oh, and while you’re at it, make sure that brand-related queries aren’t triggering ads associated with higher CPC keywords.

Look also at your bid modifiers. Depending on the results you are getting, we might recommend adjusting your bids for mobile devices, by time of day and day of week, and refining your location targeting.

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About the Author Jeremy Templer

Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in the development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and oversees the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.