Google AdWords Benchmarks for YOUR Industry [DATA]

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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 AdWords industry benchmarks our clients are seeing, including:

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

You’ll find averages across these AdWords 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 AdWords by Industry

average click through rate in adwords 

Dating and personal services really click with PPC – boasting an average search CTR of 3.40%! 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 Finance (2.65%), B2B (2.55%), Consumer Services (2.40%), and Technology (2.38%).

Legal services 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 to be extra smart and crafty to do well in PPC. Other industries that often have poor CTRs are eCommerce (1.66%) and industrial services (1.40%).

Tech companies should find a lot of reach with strong CTRs (0.84%) on the display network, as many apps host display ads with high CTRs for these products and services. On the flip side, employment service advertisers have struggled on the display network to create ads to entice potential job searchers and typically have poor performance, averaging a 0.14% display CTR. Maybe they fare better on LinkedIn!

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

Average Click Through Rate (CTR) The average CTR in AdWords across all industries is 1.91% on the search network and 0.35% on the Google Display Network.
Industry Average CTR (Search) Average CTR (GDN)
 Advocacy  1.72% 0.52% 
 Auto  2.14% 0.41% 
 B2B  2.55% 0.22% 
 Consumer Services  2.40% 0.20% 
 Dating & Personals  3.40% 0.52% 
 E-Commerce  1.66% 0.45% 
 Education  2.20% 0.22% 
 Employment Services 2.13%  0.14% 
 Finance & Insurance  2.65% 0.33% 
 Health & Medical  1.79% 0.31% 
 Home Goods  1.80% 0.37% 
 Industrial Services  1.40% 0.35% 
 Legal  1.35% 0.45% 
 Real Estate  2.03% 0.24% 
 Technology  2.38% 0.84% 
 Travel & Hospitality  2.18% 0.47% 

Average Cost Per Click in AdWords by Industry

average cost per click in adwords

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 $5.88 – 40% more costly than the next most expensive industry, employment services ($4.20 CPC).

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

Whereas most industries have pretty inexpensive CPCs on the Google Display Network, the Employment Services industry is a notable exception – paying $1.66 per click on GDN. No doubt, some of their troubles stem from their abysmal CTRs on Display (0.14% CTR) which hurts their display network quality score, making them pay considerably more per click.

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

Average Cost Per Click (CPC) The average CPC in AdWords across all industries is $2.32 on the search network and $0.58 on the Google Display Network.
Industry Average CPC (Search) Average CPC (GDN)
 Advocacy $1.72 $0.32
 Auto $1.43 $0.39
 B2B $1.64 $0.37
 Consumer Services $3.77 $0.69
 Dating & Personals $0.19 $0.18
 E-Commerce $0.88 $0.29
 Education $1.74 $0.40
 Employment Services $4.20 $1.66
 Finance & Insurance $3.72 $0.72
 Health & Medical $3.17 $0.37
 Home Goods $3.19 $0.70
 Industrial Services $2.00 $0.60
 Legal $5.88 $ 0.60
 Real Estate $1.81 $0.88
 Technology $1.78 $0.20
 Travel & Hospitality $1.55 $0.24

Wondering how you measure up? Grade your account for free!

Average Conversion Rates in AdWords by Industry

average conversion rate in adwords

The Finance and Insurance industries convert amazingly well on both the search (7.19% CVR) and Display (1.75% CVR) networks. 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.

Home Goods and Real Estate are conversion rate standouts on the Display network (2.19% and 1.49% respectively), no doubt because both are visual industries where a sexy picture can inspire people to click and investigate.

Ecommerce clients may not have many options to change their offer and consequently suffer one of the poorer average search conversion rates (1.91% CVR). 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 2.70% for search and 0.89% for display.

Average Conversion Rate (CVR) The average CVR in AdWords across all industries is 2.70% on the search network and 0.89% on the Google Display Network.
Industry Average CVR (Search) Average CVR (GDN)
 Advocacy 4.61% 0.37%
 Auto 2.27% 0.79%
 B2B 2.58% 0.96%
 Consumer Services 5.00% 0.96%
 Dating & Personals 2.75% 0.41%
 E-Commerce 1.91% 0.96%
 Education 4.13% 0.50%
 Employment Services 3.97% 1.28%
 Finance & Insurance 7.19% 1.75%
 Health & Medical 2.51% 0.77%
 Home Goods 3.68% 0.77%
 Industrial Services 2.58% 0.88%
 Legal 4.35% 0.98%
 Real Estate 4.40% 1.49%
 Technology 2.55% 1.04%
 Travel & Hospitality 2.57% 0.53%

Average Cost Per Action in AdWords by Industry  

average cost per action in adwords

(Almost) free love on the SERP! Dating and personal sites have, by far, the lowest average cost per action from search ($6.91 CPA). While Google may be a great place to find a boyfriend, it is an expensive place to find an employee, doctor, or lawyer – average search CPAs for employment services, medical services, and legal services are $105.79, $126.29, and $135.17, respectively. Of course, the lifetime value of a new client in these industries is very high, making it all worthwhile in the end.

On the display network, technology companies take an easy win with CPAs below $20 ($19.23). While it should be obvious that Google and Technology pair well together, this is also in no small part due to the success of tech advertisers promoting their app installs across the search and display networks.

The average CPA in AdWords across all industries is $59.18 for search and $60.76 for display.

Average Cost Per Action (CPA) The average CPA in AdWords across all industries is $59.18 on the search network and $60.76 on the Google Display Network.
Industry Average CPA(Search) Average CPA (GDN)
 Advocacy $37.31 $86.49
 Auto $63.00 $49.37
 B2B $63.57 $38.54
 Consumer Services $75.40 $71.88
 Dating & Personals $6.91 $43.90
 E-Commerce $46.07 $30.21
 Education $42.13 $80.00
 Employment Services $105.79 $129.69
 Finance & Insurance $51.74 $41.14
 Health & Medical $126.29 $48.05
 Home Goods $86.68 $31.96
 Industrial Services $77.52 $68.18
 Legal $135.17 $61.22
 Real Estate $41.14 $59.06
 Technology $69.80 $19.23
 Travel & Hospitality $60.31 $45.28

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 our free Google AdWords 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!

Check out the full infographic below:

google adwords benchmarks by industry

Data Sources:

This report is based on a sample of 2,367 US-based WordStream client accounts in all verticals (representing $34.4 million in aggregate AdWords spend) who were advertising on Google AdWords’ Search and Display networks in Q2 2015. “Averages” are technically median figures to account for outliers. All currency values are posted in USD.

About the author:

Mark is a Data Scientist at WordStream with a background in SEM, SEO, and Statistical Modeling. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google +.

 

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Comments

Elisa Gabbert
Dec 19, 2016

The Search Network is just regular old Google -- when you do a search on Google and see text ads, those are ads on the Search Network.

Dave
Jan 04, 2017

Sorry but these numbers are way off. Not sure where this person got their data from but the numbers are way off. For example, the dating industry average CPC rate with AdWords is not .19 cents. It's way more than that. Better add another dollar to it. Even optimized you can't get that low. That and other things show this data is 100% inaccurate.

Elisa Gabbert
Jan 04, 2017

The data sources are listed at the bottom of the article -- these averages are based on data from almost 3,000 accounts. We believe they provide a really good sense of the state of the industry, though of course results may vary in individual accounts.

Honest Roots
Jan 05, 2017

Great information but the Cost Per Click is undoubtedly low.

nick
Jan 17, 2017

How would I find the conversion rates and average CPC for reactive / emergency maintenance (plumbing, electrics, drainage etc.)

Charlotte
Jan 17, 2017

Hi,

Do you have search data on the restaurant industry?

Thanks,
Charlotte

Charlotte
Jan 18, 2017

What is a CTR benchmark for Search Non Brand?

Eric Arsenault
Jan 25, 2017

Hello,

Great info.

I'm very curious to know what is included in the CPA metric. What is considered an "Action"? In AdWords, you can select the type of action that counts. In this data, is it any action? Or is it a purchase?

Thanks!
Eric

david
Jan 26, 2017

What is the time frame for these stats?

david
Jan 26, 2017

What is the time frame for these stats?

barry
Feb 14, 2017

Hi,
Thanks for this! I was wondering if you chose Hospitality and Navigation and not just Navigation.
In addition, are these numbers for search and GDN on Android or iOS or both?

Pascal
Feb 28, 2017

I am wondering how some of these actions really compare in between Industries...

For instance, the "actions" for the Financial segment could be application forms started while Employment could be applications submitted... Because I find the Financial CPAs fairly low (among the lowest in the chart) for such high involvement category.

Seipati Mosoeu
Mar 03, 2017

I have actually read this report and have found it to be a very good report and is very informative.

Alberto
Mar 20, 2017

Hi! The title says "NEW DATA": Was data updated for these graphs? How recent is this data? Or is everything still from Q2 2015? Thanks!!

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 21, 2017

It hasn't been updated - I just updated the headline though. :)

Thanks!

kathrina lewis
Mar 23, 2017

It’s important to track your performance over time and make sure you’re constantly improving, but using only your own data tells you nothing about how you’re doing against your competitors

mcneil
Apr 17, 2017

why are the numbers different for each picture

Arkev
Apr 19, 2017

Thank you very much for keeping this information updated, it has served as a reference for my projects

Melissa
May 04, 2017

I have some questions about how conversions and actions are defined by category (especially real estate) for calculating the CPA and CVR. Can you advise or connect me with someone who can answer?

Brittney H
May 08, 2017

what about those who are event services and entertainment sales? what category do they fall under?

Perry
Jun 15, 2017

Quick question on data source date and update date. The updated date says March 21, 2017, but the data source at the bottom of the post says "who were advertising on Google AdWords’ Search and Display networks in Q2 2015."

Is the data from Q2 2015, or more recent e.g. 2017?

Thanks! This data is extremely helpful and well presented.

Elisa Gabbert
Jun 15, 2017

Hi Perry, the data is from 2015, but we don't believe the benchmarks have changed much. Hope that helps!

Dan Twohig
Jul 07, 2017

This is great information but considering that Google's paid search ads changed in 2017 to the expanded text format, it would be interesting to see how that has impacted these benchmarks.

Also, I understand that this is for the US market. What about other countries, particularly those in Europe? Any information there?

Sarah456
Jul 19, 2017

Hi. I wanted to clarify "conversion rate". Is that percentage of people who click on the ad? Eg. 1.9% click on the ad, then 2.7% of that 1.9% make a purchase.Thanks

Yash
Jul 20, 2017

Do you have the same data for South East Asia?Precisely for the Philippines or where can i find one which is updated?

ryan
Aug 23, 2017

why would conversion rate higher than CTR? By definition CTR is alwayts higher than conversion rate isnt it?

Elisa Gabbert
Aug 24, 2017

No -- the total number of conversions will be lower than the total number of clicks, but the conversion RATE can be higher. For example, if only 1 out of 100 people click your ad, but every single person who clicks your ad converts, that's a 1% conversion rate but a 100% conversion rate. The conversion rate is based on people who click, not the total # of people who saw the ad from the beginning.

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