Google Adwords Bid Creep is Real, and it’s Here

Google Adwords Bid Creep is Real, and it’s Here

It has been a few months since Google removed the right side ads from search results pages. In case you missed it, we recapped the change and what that means for your business in our April article Google Removes Right Side Ads, What this Means for Your Adwords Marketing.

One prognostication I made at the time was that we may see costs increase, perhaps in the mid term, perhaps in the long term, as less position inventory is available. Well, I have to tell you, it’s real, and it’s happening right now.

At the end of May I performed a multitude of end of month reviews for a variety of client campaigns. Interestingly enough, there were notices from Google that minimum first page bids had increased in all of them. Now let’s be clear, we are not talking about incremental CPC bids requiring a small adjustment upwards to maintain or improve position within the first page. These were wholesale increases to the CPC to even show on the first page at all.

What Does this Mean?

Well, it means you need to buckle up because costs will be on the rise. Until some advertisers that struggle with ROI drop out of the competition, this will be our new reality.

What Can You Do About It?

Here are a few recommendations that you can employ to help fight bid creep. All related to assessing your Google Adwords campaign foundation and ensuring you are employing best practices throughout.

  • Check your keyword match types. Broad match keywords may need to be switched to tighter match types like modified broad, phrase and exact if you are not using them already.
  • Check your keyword quality scores. Attempt to improve QS through better ad writing and landing page optimization. If you can’t improve QS through optimization…
  • You will want to create more campaigns with tighter keyword groupings. If none of these work you may want to abandon some keywords altogether.
  • Check your keyword impression shares. If you have keywords that perform well with impression share available, ramp up your spend there first.
  • Cull your matched keywords and add more negative terms to keep you out of searches that don’t perform well.
  • Be sure you are testing ads that stand out from the competition to increase your click-through rates.


Are you seeing bid creep in your campaigns?