Simyo uses ECPC bid strategy to grow AdWords conversions and cut costs

September 2017

Simyo focuses on selling SIM-only and prepaid service plans without a device across the Netherlands. The SIM-only space is especially competitive in the Dutch market, so Simyo and its performance agency BlooSEM faced the challenge of controlling the costs of campaigns geared towards acquiring new clients. The team was on the lookout for strategies to manage spend while maximising conversions.

About Simyo

SIM-only and prepaid plans

Founded in 2005

About BlooSEM

Performance agency

Based in Hilversum, Netherlands


Control cost per acquisition.

Maximise conversions.


Tested Enhanced CPC (ECPC) against regular max CPC over six weeks.

Set ECPC as default bidding strategy on all campaigns.


In test period, ECPC produced 20% lift in conversions and 22% growth in conversion rate, while overall spend increased by 1%.

For brand campaigns, ECPC produced 23% lift in conversions and 18% growth in conversion rate, while spend fell by 2%.

Using its parent company KPN’s mobile networks, Simyo positions itself as a reliable player at a reasonable price point in the Netherlands. Since the market for these products is highly volatile, Simyo and BlooSEM rely heavily on automation to ensure control and maximise performance. Together they’re constantly looking for ways to use machine learning to improve efficiency.

Hoping to get the most out of their Dynamic Search Ads, streamline their bidding and gain more affordable conversions, the team decided to test Enhanced CPC (ECPC) in AdWords. ECPC works by looking for ad auctions that are more likely to lead to conversions, and then raises the max CPC bid (after applying any bid adjustments set by the advertiser) to compete harder for those clicks. If a click seems less likely to convert, AdWords will lower the bid. ECPC tries to keep average CPC below the max CPC that’s been set (including bid adjustments), but may exceed the max CPC for short periods of time.

With help from Google, Simyo and BlooSEM ran a simulated A/B test over a six-week period to compare ECPC against the standard max CPC. They found that performance improved when using ECPC – a 20% lift in conversions and a 22% lift in conversion rate, while overall spend increased by only 1%. The insights about the difference in performance helped establish the added value of ECPC. Simyo and BlooSEM opted to use ECPC as a default going forward – while also testing other automated bid strategies – to ensure Google’s algorithms help the business find the right potential customers and drive performance.

“ECPC is used as a default over regular max CPC, because it takes many more signals into consideration in determining which auctions to enter, and which ones not to participate in”, explains Bart Hoogland of BlooSEM. “This makes bidding much smarter and allows for many more signals than could be monitored if done manually. ECPC in this way helps in driving conversion rates while bringing costs down.”

This has proven true even for brand campaigns, where Simyo and BlooSEM weren’t expecting to see significant improvement. Their core strategy has always aimed for top positions in search results for branded terms, and this has delivered a high impression share. However, with ECPC the dedicated branding campaigns showed a 23% improvement in conversions and 18% growth in conversion rate, while spend on these campaigns fell by 2%. “These results have shown that ECPC can really contribute in finding the right individuals in the auction and weed out those with low potential”, Bart says. “The additional signals used by ECPC help in finding the right users when they’re ready to purchase.”

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