Are typos worth including in your PPC campaign and at what cost?

By Sean Corso | Jul 6, 2007
More Articles by Sean


Are typos worth including in your PPC campaign and at what cost?

Once you determine to test an appropriate set of misspellings and typos for your campaign, break each of them out into separate AdGroups based on keyword variation. There can literally be hundreds of typos for any given word or phrase, and it’s not typically best practice PPC management to intermingle them with the original keyword.

In most cases it’s at least worth experimenting and testing typos, especially if there are a fewer competitors and you can get a reasonable position for the same or less than the original.

Among the typos that generate the most ad impressions, it’s worth taking a closer look to determine if the bang is worth the buck.

Being in the first position for a misspelled phrase can be very valuable because your ad will appear above the “Did you mean:” option that will take searchers to the results for the correct spelling.

If a campaign is reaching its daily budget without a problem or even sooner than you would like, perhaps it is not best practice to bid too high for the number one position for a typo.

Take a look at the misspelled keywords that are above the average cost per click of the campaign as a whole, as well as the CPC of the original AdGroup and the CPC of the individual original keyword. Make sure the impressions are high enough over a relevant time period to have an impact.

In one particular scenario, here’s what I found:

Campaign Avg CPC: $0.75
AdGroup Avg CPC: $0.42
Keyword Avg CPC: $0.78

Taking it a step further, the original keyword also has a current click through rate of 7.04%.

In the typo AdGroup, the misspelling with the most impressions has an Avg. CPC of $1.17 with an average position of 1.6 and a CTR of 3.73%.

While the CTR and the cost would seem decent from a quick overview, a closer look shows that the bid for this mis-spelling should probably be lowered, if not paused.

Based on a campaign where the budget is reached prior to the end of the scheduled run, pausing this keyword will save money by allowing more impressions for keywords with a lower cost per click, including the correct spelling.

The second option is to drop the bid on the individual typo to the average CPC of the correct spelling. Because the position will drop, it will be interesting to see how much this affects CTR. My expectation is that most people click on the “Did you mean:”

If this is indeed the case, this strategy would most likely decrease the overall CTR. However in many instances, individual keyword performance along with a lower Average CPC can be a better indicator of success.

Once the typo bid is lowered, it begs the questions: Must you be in that first position to reap any benefit, do most people click the “Did you mean:” option, and how much will dropping from the first position affect CTR.

At the same time, you may change the bid for the entire AdGroup. For example, if the original AdGroup has a CPC no higher than $1.20, the default bid for the typo could be set to a $1.20 and individual typo bids can be adjusted from there as necessary.

Of course these are only general guidelines for analyzing the success of a typo keyword set. Don’t forget that exceptions are always the rule. If a typo variation is popular or widely used, i.e., it garners a significant number of impressions as compared to the original, it may be worth bidding the same or more (as the correct spelling), especially if the CTR is about the same or higher than the original.

There’s always the potential though to find a few typos achieve the number one position at a very low bid and those clicks can be considered a bonus.

Keep in mind, most typos do not recieve nearly the number of impressions as the original, which is a big reason it may be worth sacrificing the typo in favor of the original.

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