How to Predict Your AdWords Cost Per Click

You won’t know your AdWords cost per click until you actually have to pay it. It may vary greatly for each keyword you are targeting, and based on how well your campaign is set up. The best way to really determine your cost per click will be to start running your campaign. You’ll be able to see exactly where you stand within a day or two.

For those with less patience (or to see if you are even in the right ballpark with what you think you’ll need to pay), Google’s Keyword Planner will give you some useful information.

Here’s my method…

  1. Open the Keyword Planner. You will need to be logged in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click on “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”
  3. Enter a keyword you know you will want to target. For this example I’ll use “dentists in chicago” (don’t enter a landing page and don’t select a product category).
  4. Change “All locations” to the location you’ll be targeting. For this example I’m choosing “Chicago IL, United States – Nielsen® DMA® region”
  5. Click “Get ideas” (there are more settings you can tweak here, but for the general purpose of estimating your cost per click we will keep this simple).
  6. You’ll end up on a page that says “Ad group ideas”. Click the “Keyword ideas” tab.
  7. I can now see that “dentists in chicago” has a suggested bid of $7.10 (at the time I’m writing this). Looking down the page there are also related keywords that all have different suggested bids:

Keyword Suggested bid
dentist chicago $9.10
dentist in chicago $9.52
dentist chicago il $13.45
pediatric dentist chicago $5.07
dentists chicago $8.23
emergency dentist chicago $9.22
best dentist in chicago $7.90
cosmetic dentist chicago $7.67
dentist in chicago il $2.85

So why is the suggested bid for “dentist chicago il” almost five times more than the suggested bid for “dentist in chicago il”? Well, because this tool isn’t perfect.

It will, however, give you a general idea of what you’ll need to pay per click so you’re not completely surprised once you start your campaign.

If you are a dentist in Chicago who is relying on $1.00 clicks in order to be profitable, then AdWords probably isn’t going to work for you. A better starting point would be to improve your lead capture process, improve your offer, improve your customer retention, and increase the value of each customer. Then come back to AdWords when you’re at the point where you will be happy to pay $10.00 per click.

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