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Think you’re paying high CPCs in Adwords – check these out!

Wordstream have published the top 20 most expensive Adwords keywords to bid on. Unsurprisingly, 4 out of the first 5 keywords are finance-related – in fact this is ironic!

Let’s Analyse the Top 10

1. Insurance

There are lot a of insurance products out there and some will have higher CPCs than others but this is an extremely competitive market with providers, lead generation sites and comparison sites all in the mix. But the leader of the pack is car insurance – this is the most expensive of all the insurances and really pushes the category to number 1 position on the list. Insurance is able to command such high costs because it is a necessity – home, car and travel insurance especially are requirements by law. I have seen examples of keywords going up to £80 per click on life insurance (poor quality score).

If you are an insurance advertiser, the bottom line is, do not pay above the profit you will be making on a conversion (take conversion rate into account here!). If you are selling single travel insurance policies for £9 (cheapest on the market) and make £5 off each one, you probably cannot enter the generic space if you are estimated more than £10 CPCs. However, because of this the travel insurance generic space is actually not that expensive – more in the region of £3-£7, dependent on quality score. Therefore you can see the most expensive keyword list is really driven by how much the advertisers make out of selling the product and can thereby afford to inflate the CPC market by, that’s why car and life are the top CPC keywords.

2. Loans

Again, a finance product and a competitive market. The top end include student, homeowner and debt consolidation. I have seen CPCs in debt consolidation above £25 even with good quality score. Like insurance, this is a highly searched for area – a lot of people turn to the internet for loans as it is hassle-free and saves the embarrassment of face-to-face discussions about this topic. Repayment profits can be extortionate – e.g. Wonga’s iPhone app is up to 3000% so this is why advertisers inflate the market.

3. Mortgages

Aligned and similar to loans, mortgages also commands high prices for keywords. The keyword list is not that sophisticated and there is only a small and concentrated pool of keywords which are the most popular user searches. Firstly, mortgages make providers big bucks, especially at high rates and remortgages. Secondly, a mortgage is a necessity product for most people. Very often, with loans and remortgages, the user is in a desperate situation therefore will be willing to go in at any rate. And again the market is cluttered with providers, banks, building societies, estate agents, independent brokers, lead generation sites and comparison sites. If you think about, a mortgage can be for 25 years – that’s 25 years of profits which advertisers want to lock in consumers for so they have inflated the costs to $47.

Very often, with loans and remortgages, the user is in a desperate situation therefore will be willing to go in at any rate.

4. Attorney

An example is ‘personal injury attorney’ – these advertisers are everywhere and they can afford to spend on TV and PPC alike because they make so much of their clients.

5. Credit

Credit cards are big business – I think this may actually be the search query off the Wordstream list with the most Google results at 643,000,000! Again, like loans, high profits for the providers mean a highly saturated marketplace willing to pay as much as possible to get that custom.

6. Lawyer

Extending from ‘attorney’ at number 4, lawyers also make big money so can afford to pay above the odds.

7. Donate

Donation online is now a key channel for charities. It’s easy for users to do and they know the money is really going to the website – rather than door-to-door collectors and money boxes in shops which are not always that trustworthy. This is surprising as charities really ought to spend their money on the causes they support but I guess the proportion they spend on PPC and other advertising like TV is miniscule in the context of how much they raise for some very worthy causes.

8. Degree

Online degrees have exploded in the last 10 years, as has researching degrees and universities online. The whole student process has been simplified as users can now find out everything about a course and a place of study from the comfort of their own home. This entry at number 8 demonstrates the massive source of information which the internet is. Yet again though, universities and degree providers earn a lot of money out of students (£9k a year for UK students, foreign students even more!) and so that is why CPCs rocket up to $40.

9. Hosting

Another high-profit area and a no-brainer really. Hosting can only be sold on the internet and it is an internet-based product/service. Therefore, if you have a hosting business, you’re unlikely to spend advertising budget anywhere else other than Adwords. I can hear Google’s coin purse tinkling from here.

10. Claim

Like the personal injury aspect of lawyers and attorneys, claim falls under the same area and therefore rounds out the top 10!

Most Expensive Adwords Keywords



2 thoughts on “Think you’re paying high CPCs in Adwords – check these out!

  1. It is scary how high AdWords CPCs can be, but I guess they are largely relative to the potential profit a sale might generate. Either way, most advertisers would like to pay lower CPCs, so thought I’d share a similar article I recently wrote on the subject after similarly finding Wordstream’s infographic:


    Hope it is of use.


    Posted by Alan Mitchell | July 29, 2011, 4:24 am
    • Thanks Alan, that is a very interesting post – I think your point about finding uncompetitive themes is key as by finding a niche or getting into a market before your competitors can ensure low CPCs for your product or service. Thanks for sharing!

      Posted by jk73 | July 30, 2011, 1:32 pm

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