In Q1 and Q2 of 2017, Merkle (my employer) reported on a positive trend for advertisers that showed a decline in brand cost per click (CPC) year over year. The CPC of brand terms is often determined by Google’s algorithm as opposed to the competitive landscape, so brands are often left to Google’s mercy in determining the price paid for this traffic.
In the case of the mid-2017 decline, it seems advertisers were benefiting from Google’s May ad rank change, which appeared to reduce first-page and top-of-page minimum bids in the search results. However, despite a continued decline in minimum bid estimates, brand CPC rebounded sharply in Q4.
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