Although the Google Traffic Estimator tool is useful to give a good idea of what Max CPC and daily budget may be required for your keywords and keyword groupings, it’s important to keep a few quirks and constraints in mind.
1. The figures do not account for Quality Score.
Your account Quality Score history and/or the keywords’ overall historical performance in Google will impact your actual CPC when in an ad auction.
2. The figures do not account for how much your competitors are willing to spend per click.
Since the tool is a rough estimation based on actual CPCs and not Max CPCs, the estimated average CPCs do not reflect how aggressive your Max CPCs may need to be to compete in ad auctions.
For example, you run your keywords through the tool with a Max CPC of $13.00. The result is that the Estimated Average (Est. Avg.) CPC is about $8.00.
However, this doesn’t tell you that most of your competitors are bidding $20.00 and have fairly good Quality Scores. So, if you decided to use $13 or $8, when you enter the ad auctions your ad may not show on the first page or may show consistently near the bottom. This likely means your CTR will be low. This in turn will hurt your keyword Quality Score, causing you to have to bid even higher to overcome that low score and your competitor’s positive score and/or higher Max CPC.
3. The number of keywords you are estimating impact the estimations.
When considering the estimated data, take into consideration how many keywords are in your list. The Max CPC and Daily Budget are ad group/campaign settings, so think of these keyword lists as an ad group and how it may perform within those settings.
Example: When I run two keywords with a $100 Daily Budget, I’m seeing an Est. Avg. CPC value of about $7.50.
Running those same two keywords with an additional seven keywords, the Est. Avg. CPC values changed slightly up or down.
In addition to trying a different Max CPC or Daily Bid, are any of the new keywords more competitive or match types too broad? If so, remove the one or two drastically different keywords to see how the remaining would be estimated to perform. Would they show improvement or no change without the more heavily weighted term?
Continuing with the above example: The two keywords with high searches but no click estimates were changed to Phrase. Notice that the competition increased, searches decreased, and with it the Est. Avg. CPCs decreased as well, in addition to how this change altered the keywords above them.
4. Setting a Daily Budget will impact keyword estimations.
Running a set of keywords with no Daily Budget, Google will show estimates to keep your ads in positions one through three. However, you can constrain your keyword list by setting a Daily Budget limit.
Example: When I run a list of keywords in the Traffic Estimator with a $13.00 Max CPC and the Daily Budget left blank (unlimited), my Estimated Average CPC is about $7.50.
However, if I include a $100 daily budget, this changes the Estimated Average CPC per keyword as well as estimated positions and clicks, up or down.
NOTE: A Max CPC value is now required. Even though the help pop-up (at the time of this writing) states, “If you leave these fields blank…”, if you try to run an estimate without a Max CPC you will see the following “value is required” error.
Understanding some of the basics of how the Traffic Estimator tool works, can help create a more refined and targeted list of keywords to reach your audience and achieve your pay per click goals.
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