Google advertising performance across such industries as technology and dating sites changed in some surprising ways over the last two years. WordStream, a digital advertising adviser, has updated its key performance indicators for Google search and display advertisements.

Results from more than 14,000 advertisers reveal which business sectors are seeing more success than others, for a variety of reasons. Overview slides compare 2018 with 2016 data for four key measures:

  • click-through rate
  • cost per click
  • conversion rate
  • cost per acquisition

SERP and Display Advertisement Click-Trough Rate Changes Across Industries

Average CTR Changes Across Industries

Advocacy is the biggest winning business sector, leading click-through rate (CTR) growth in search engine response pages (SERP). Driving the change is Google’s new minimum 5% click-through rate requirement for advertisers who want to maintain their Google Grants, and resulting loss of lower performing advertisements.

Travel, auto, real estate and health/medical also surged in growth for SERP, thanks to improvement in remarketing lists for search advertisements and better demographic targeting. The technology sector, along with B2B and consumer services, are notable exceptions to the growth trend. Technology ad CTR dropped furthest. Poorly targeted audience is likely an issue, suggesting that tech advertisers may benefit from carefully applied negative key words (e.g., deselect for “free”), among other strategies.

CTR for display advertisements in nearly every sector are up as well, thanks to more user-friendly advertising formats and better audience targeting. Real estate leads the pack for display, with growth up 3.5 times over 2016 levels. Again however, technology CTR are the exception, dropping 0.54%.

Cost-Per-Click Is Up, But Not in Every Sector

CPC rates for search advertising exploded at more than 1,300 percent in the dating sector. Meanwhile, although legal CPC rates increased only modestly, advertisement purchasers in this space pay the most. WordStream notes that mobile offers the most affordable cost per click rates. CPC dropped in employment services and finance/insurance segments, among others.

Cost-per-click for display advertisements generally increased across the board. However, as with search advertisements, display ad CPC rates dropped for employment services.

Most Industries Saw a Rise in Conversion Rates

Cost per conversion or action, such as a sale or form submit, generally rose for search advertisements across most industries over the last couple years. The financial services sector, however, notably saw a 29% drop in conversation rates. Advertisers who leverage multiple types of digital campaigns tend to achieve more success, according to WordStream.

On the display advertisement side, most industries saw modest conversion increase, with dating and personals advertisements delivering the biggest jump at 7.15%. WordStream strongly endorses remarketing as a conversion rate strategy, or targeting users who already have visited a company’s website, as well as testing different offers and calls to action.

Cost Per Acquisition Rates Were Mixed

The cost to acquire a paying customer or cost per acquisition (CPA) for search ads as well as display advertisements, rose, dropped or held steady depending on the industry. A measure of efficiency and not profitability, CPA is down for both search and display advertisements for autos, employment services and legal, for example.

For expert guidance in maximizing your search and display spend, contact the digital marketing pros at Modern Foundation,