Whether you’re managing paid search for a local business or you’re the VP of Marketing for a national brand, you’ve certainly discovered that entering a new market can always be a daunting undertaking. Our country is a melting pot of different demographics, interests, and what we’re searching for differs in each state.
Well, this all plays into how smart advertisers structure their campaigns and ultimately what they pay per click in each state. How much PPC costs, it turns out, depends on what state you live in. What states cost us the most per click? We dug into the PPC cost data and created this infographic showing the most and least expensive states for paid search advertising based on average local cost per click (CPC):
Below are all 50 states, ranked in order of the average CPC in each state from highest (most expensive) to lowest (least expensive):
To determine the relative CPC for each state, I used our free keyword tool to create a list of over 15,000 high volume English search keywords across over 20 different industries. I then took this list and ran it through the Google Keyword Planner to get average CPC estimates for these keywords in each state & the entire US to see how Google estimated their costs per clicks would differ in each state. With this list of estimated CPCs by state, I then indexed it and compared each state’s estimated CPC against the estimated CPC of the whole US to complete this analysis.
Having this data be as unbiased as possible was a priority for me. The decision to use estimates from the Google Keyword Planner data protects this research from any biases from individual clients who target different states or use geo bid modifiers. The volume of keywords considered across different industries protects this analysis from a bias of a rogue keyword or industry with spiked regional interest.
There are some interesting trends in this regional CPC data.
The top 5 states (Alabama, West Virginia, Maine, Alaska & Louisiana) fill out a much more rural profile than the US average. With fewer nearby businesses, it’s very likely that these states’ residents more frequently turn to Google when they look for a service or product. Consequently, advertisers have more to gain from bidding aggressively in these markets.
Of the 10 most populated states, not a single one made the top 10 or the bottom 10. For instance, the most populated state, California, sits nearly directly in the middle at #23 with a CPC similar to the US average. This is likely telling us that many advertisers targeting these regions are doing so in the same campaigns targeting the rest of the nation – driving their average CPCs closer to the national average.
I thought this was interesting: 9 of the 10 states with the lowest average CPCs also have unemployment rates below the national average – in most cases by a comfortable margin (Rhode Island was the sole exception here). Full employment is typically a sign of lots of local businesses in the area – so there’s less need for local users to need to turn to Google to fulfill their needs and advertisers don’t need to be as aggressive with their bids.
Do you see any other interesting trends in the data? Are you seeing similar trends in your accounts or in your industry?
Mark is the Director of PPC at SearchLab Digital. Previously, Mark worked at WordStream and was named the Most Influential PPC Expert of the Year by both PPC and Microsoft.
See other posts by Mark Irvine
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