Pay Per Click (PPC): Who Spends the Most?!

October 7, 2017

Whether you’re doing Pay per Click for the first time or you’ve just signed a new client, it can be frightening to find out whether or not you’re doing a good job. Sure, we all want to make unicorn ads that have the highest click-through rate (CTR) and the best conversion rates, but a good metric for one industry isn’t automatically good for another. So, what numbers should you look to beat in your industry? Also, which industries are spending the most?

You’ll find averages across the AdWords metrics for twenty industries, such as Advocacy, Auto, B2B (Business-to-business), Consumer Services, Dating & Personal. It also includes eCommerce, Education, Employment Services, Finance & Insurance, and Health & Medical. Finally, there are also industries like Home Goods, Industrial Services, Legal, Real Estate, Technology, and Travel & Hospitality.

Largest Industry Spenders

The finance and insurance industry spent $4 Billion on AdWords in 2015. Banking, mutual funds, shares, property insurance, health and life insurance are included in this industry.

The retail sector is always on the top spenders list. Big players like Amazon, Walmart and other eCommerce stores spend around $2.8 Billion per year.

The next largest spenders are the travel and tourism industry of about $2.4 Billion. Tour packages and flight bookings are highly competitive. Expedia is one of the popular and highest spenders in this industry.

Online courses receive tons of attention and are well received by everyone. Over the next few years we can expect to see that spend double and even triple! Apollo education is one of the top spenders in this education industry.

Home and garden industries, which is comprised of real estate, interiors, fertilizers, etc. are also big spenders for PPC campaigns.

Other industries that spend high for PPC are Dealerships, technology, and internet and telecom sectors.

Average Pay per Click-Through Rate in AdWords by Industry

Dating and personal services really click with Pay per Click boasting an average search CTR of 3.40%. No doubt, it’s simple to write powerful and emotional ad copy when your viewers are searching for love. Other industries with high search CTRs are Finance (2.65%), B2B (2.55%), Consumer Services (2.40%), and Technology (2.38%).

Legal services struggle to draw attention on the search engine results page (SERP) due to advertising constraints enforced by both Google and government organizations. Legal advertisers have to be extra smart and crafty to do well in Pay per Click. Other industries that often have low CTRs are eCommerce (1.66%) and industrial services (1.40%).

Tech companies should find a lot of reach with robust CTRs (0.84%) on the display network as many apps host display ads with high CTRs for these products and services. On the other side, employment service advertisers have struggled on the display network to make ads that attract new customers. Probable job searchers normally have poor performance, averaging a 0.14% display CTR— maybe they are better on LinkedIn!

The average PPC click-through-rate in AdWords across all industries is 1.91% for search and 0.35% for display.

Average Cost Pay per Click in AdWords by Industry

It’s no wonder that legal services have the highest CPCs among all Google ads on the search network. Both “Lawyer” and “Attorney” make the top 10 most costly keywords on Google and on Bing. Average CPCs in legal industry are $5.88— 40% more expensive than the next most costly industry (employment services $4.20 CPC).

Advocacy and nonprofit groups have some of the lowest costs in PPC— just under $2. Likely the result of the $2 max CPC bid Google Grant advertisers have to set on all of their keywords.

Most industries have low-cost CPCs on the Google Display Network(GDN). The Employment Services industry is a prominent exception – paying $1.66 per click on GDN. No doubt, some of their troubles stem from their terrible CTRs on Display (0.14% CTR).This hurts their display network quality score, making them pay much more per click.

The average CPC in AdWords across all industries is $2.32 for search and $0.58 for display.

Related: How to sell your digital marketing services?

Average Conversion Rates in AdWords by Industry

The Finance and Insurance industries convert astonishingly well on both the search (7.19% CVR) and Display (1.75% CVR) networks. Oh…CVR stands for conversion rate!

Home Goods and Real Estate have the highest CVRs on the Display network (2.19% and 1.49% respectively). No doubt, this is because both industries are extremely visual. A stimulating picture can encourage people to click and investigate.

Ecommerce clients may not have many choices to change their offer and subsequently suffer. Ecommerce has one of the poorer search conversion rates (1.91% CVR). They often have huge inventories which prevents from fine-tuning ad copy across all industry keywords. Removing barriers to purchase will always be a vital CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) tactic used with ecommerce clients. AdWords advertisers should focus on enhancing the performance of their keywords with high commercial intent. This is to get the most out of their return for their search campaigns.

The average conversion rate in AdWords across all industries is 2.70% for search and 0.89% for display.

I will talk more about PPC in the coming week, stay connected and follow me on Facebook @

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