PPC Study – 2019 Google Ads Industry Benchmarks – Search & Display Ads

The following article is based on a case study completed by Wordstream, a company that develops Search Marketing Software for PPC advertisers.  MGR utilizes WordStream tools synced-up with Google Ads and Bing on a regular basis to optimize our clients PPC campaigns. I strongly recommend that you read and review the article below to view the latest industry benchmarks and analyze how your own paid campaigns rank against them. And of course, if you have any questions or comments, you can also reach our MGR SEO Team for assistance.

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Google Ads Industry Benchmarks

Whether you’re doing PPC for the first time or you’ve just signed a new client, it can be daunting to know whether or not you’re doing a good job. Sure, we all want to create unicorn ads that have highest CTRs and the best conversion rates, but what’s a good metric for one industry isn’t necessarily good for another. So what numbers should you be looking to beat in your industry?

We dug into our data to find out! Check out the Google Ads industry benchmarks our clients are seeing, including:

  • Average Click-Through Rate (CTR) in  Google Ads by industry, for both Search and Display
  • Average Cost per Click (CPC) in Gooble Ads by industry, for both Search and Display
  • Average Conversion Rate (CVR) in Google Ads s by industry, for both Search and Display
  • Average Cost per Action (CPA) in Google Ads by industry, for both Search and Display

You’ll find averages across these Google Ads metrics for twenty industries: Advocacy, Auto, B2B, Consumer Services, Dating & Personals, E-Commerce, Education, Employment Services, Finance & Insurance, Health & Medical, Home Goods, Industrial Services, Legal, Real Estate, Technology, and Travel & Hospitality.

Average Click-Through Rate in Google Ads by Industry

adwords-industry-benchmarks-average-ctr

Dating and personal services really click with PPC – boasting an average search CTR of 6%! No doubt, it’s easy to write powerful emotional ad copy when your prospects are searching for love. Other industries with high search CTRs include Advocacy, Autos, and Travel.

When we first collected this data in 2015, legal services could struggle to attract attention on the SERP (with a relatively low average 1.35% CTR) – in large part due to advertising restrictions enforced by both Google and government organizations. Legal advertisers have improved their stats in the past few years!

As of 2018, the industries with the lowest average click-through rates including Technology, B2B, and Consumer Services.

The average click-through rate in Google Ads across all industries is 3.17% for search and 0.46% for display.

Both of these averages are higher than they were a couple of years ago: Good news for Ads advertisers and agencies!

Average Cost Per Click in Google Ads by Industry

Average Cost Per Click

It’s no surprise that legal services have some of the highest CPCs among all Google ads on the search network. Both “Lawyer” and “Attorney” make the top 10 most expensive keywords on Google and on Bing. Average CPCs in the legal industry are over $6. Consumer services aren’t too far behind, with an average CPC of $6.40.

Advocacy and nonprofit groups are fortunate to have a cost per click under $2, likely as a result of the $2 max CPC bid Google Grant advertisers have to set on all of their keywords.

Most industries have pretty inexpensive CPCs on the Google Display Network. The only industry with costs per click over $1 on the Display network is Dating & Personals.

The average cost per click in Google Ads across all industries is $2.69 for search and $0.63 for display.

The news here is good too: These average costs have increased very little over the figures we found a couple of years ago (when the averages were $2.32 and $0.58 respectively).

Average Conversion Rates in Google Ads by Industry

average conversion rate

A couple of years ago, the Finance and Insurance industries were leading the pack when it came to conversion rates.

However, our newly updated data shows that the Dating & Personal industry is way out ahead now, with search conversion rates on average over 9%! Other standouts include the legal industries, consumer services, and autos.

In many of these cases, the best converting advertisers aren’t afraid to change their offer or their conversion flow to boost their conversion rates. Or they may be taking advantage of conversion-boosting tactics such as video landing pages.

Ecommerce clients may not have many options to change their offer and consequently suffer one of the poorer average conversion rates on both search and display. To boot, they often have gigantic inventories, which prevents doing fine-tuning on ad copy across all ecommerce keywords.

While removing barriers to purchase will always be an important CRO tool to help ecommerce clients, AdWords advertisers should focus on improving the performance of their keywords with high commercial intent to yield the most out of their search campaigns.

The average conversion rate in AdWords across all industries is 3.75% for search and 0.77% for display.

Since the last time we compiled this data, search conversion rates have risen slightly, but display conversion rates have fallen slightly, perhaps a sign that display advertisers need to pay more attention to placements and audience optimization. If you want to create more enticing display creative, check out our free Smart Ads Creator.

Average Cost Per Action in Google Ads by Industry  

average cost per action

CPA’s have shifted quite a bit in the past couple of years. The lowest cost per action across industries is now autos, coming in at just $33 per action. B2B, real estate, and tech companies, on the other hand, confront average costs per action over $100.

We generally expect costs in advertising to rise over time, but the average CPA on the search network is actually lower now than it was a couple of years ago. Display CPA’s, however, have gone up a little bit.

The average CPA in AdWords across all industries is $48.96 for search and $75.51 for display.

What Does It All Mean?

If you find yourself on the lower end of these numbers, that just means there’s plenty of room for improvement! Try running WordStream’s free Google Ads Grader to diagnose exactly where your campaigns are failing when compared to peers in your industry. If you’re hitting these benchmarks – don’t stop and settle for average either! Always strive to be a unicorn by writing the best ad copy and creating landing page unicorns that convert better than anyone else!

Data Sources:

This report is based on a sample of 14,197 US-based WordStream client accounts in all verticals (representing over $200 million in aggregate Google Ads spend) who were advertising on Google’s Search and Display networks between August 2017 and January 2018. Each industry includes at minimum 30 unique active clients. “Averages” are technically median figures to account for outliers. All currency values are posted in USD.

About the author:

Mark is in charge of strategic partnerships at WordStream. He was named the #1 Most Influential PPC Expert of 2019 by PPC Hero.

2019-11-11T13:40:00-07:00

About the Author:

Manuel Gil Del Real is the owner of MGR Consulting Group, an Interactive Marketing Agency providing marketing solutions to companies worldwide. He’s also an auto racing enthusiast and a blog author who enjoys sharing his thoughts and ideas on eCommerce, SEO, Social Media, Website Design, Video Marketing Internet Marketing, entrepreneurial advice, lifestyle and travel experiences among many others.