Google AdWords Benchmarks for YOUR Industry [Updated!]


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, and all figures have been updated with fresh data for 2018!

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 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 AdWords 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 AdWords advertisers and agencies!

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  4.41% 0.59% 
 Auto  4.00% 0.60% 
 B2B  2.41% 0.46% 
 Consumer Services  2.41% 0.51% 
 Dating & Personals  6.05% 0.72% 
 E-Commerce  2.69% 0.51% 
 Education  3.78% 0.53% 
 Employment Services  2.42%  0.59% 
 Finance & Insurance  2.91% 0.52% 
 Health & Medical  3.27% 0.59% 
 Home Goods  2.44% 0.49% 
 Industrial Services  2.61% 0.50% 
 Legal  2.93% 0.59% 
 Real Estate  3.71% 1.08% 
 Technology  2.09% 0.39% 
 Travel & Hospitality  4.68% 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 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 AdWords 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 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 $1.43 $0.62
 Auto $2.46 $0.58
 B2B $3.33 $0.79
 Consumer Services $6.40 $0.81
 Dating & Personals $2.78 $1.49
 E-Commerce $1.16 $0.45
 Education $2.40 $0.47
 Employment Services $2.04 $0.78
 Finance & Insurance $3.44 $0.86
 Health & Medical $2.62 $0.63
 Home Goods $2.94 $0.60
 Industrial Services $2.56 $0.54
 Legal $6.75 $0.72
 Real Estate $2.37 $0.75
 Technology $3.80 $0.51
 Travel & Hospitality $1.53 $0.44

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

Average Conversion Rates in AdWords by Industry

average conversion rate in adwords

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.

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 1.96% 1.00%
 Auto 6.03% 1.19%
 B2B 3.04% 0.80%
 Consumer Services 6.64% 0.98%
 Dating & Personals 9.64% 3.34%
 E-Commerce 2.81% 0.59%
 Education 3.39% 0.50%
 Employment Services 5.13% 1.57%
 Finance & Insurance 5.10% 1.19%
 Health & Medical 3.36% 0.82%
 Home Goods 2.70% 0.43%
 Industrial Services 3.37% 0.94%
 Legal 6.98% 1.84%
 Real Estate 2.47% 0.80%
 Technology 2.92% 0.86%
 Travel & Hospitality 3.55% 0.51%

Average Cost Per Action in AdWords by Industry  

average cost per action in adwords

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.

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 $96.55 $70.69
 Auto $33.52 $23.68
 B2B $116.13 $130.36
 Consumer Services $90.70 $60.48
 Dating & Personals $76.76 $60.23
 E-Commerce $45.27 $65.80
 Education $72.70 $143.36
 Employment Services $48.04 $59.47
 Finance & Insurance $81.93 $56.76
 Health & Medical $78.09 $72.58
 Home Goods $87.13 $116.17
 Industrial Services $79.28 $51.58
 Legal $86.02 $39.52
 Real Estate $116.61 $74.79
 Technology $133.52 $103.60
 Travel & Hospitality $44.73 $99.13

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 14,197 US-based WordStream client accounts in all verticals (representing over $200 million in aggregate AdWords spend) who were advertising on Google AdWords’ 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.


Mar 01, 2016

Awesome infographic! Sharing this with our digital team. Thanks!

Dec 27, 2016

Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of.
I say to you, I certainly get irked while people think about worries that
they just don't know about. You managed to hit the
nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing
without having side-effects , people can take a signal.
Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

Spencer C
Mar 01, 2016

Great info! Did the AdWords API policy change again to allow this industry-specific data?

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 01, 2016

We're able to share this data due to the statement of disclosure both in this post (data sources) and in our master service agreement, hope that helps!

Mar 01, 2016

How about people in the home improvement, bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling, and replacement window space? Which of these industries does that fall under? Or is that another industry?

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 01, 2016

Either "Consumer Services" or "Industrial Services" depending on the market.

Michael Stricker
Mar 01, 2016

Very exciting to see this data, thanks Mark Irvine and WordStream. While everyone runs to their own KPIs for benchmarking against their industry, I need to ask if it was intentional that the image size is enormous (3493X12506) thus it resists Pinning to Pinterest? It is quite readable (and manageable) at 1000X3580 -- would love to help spread this comparative info that you've been so kind as to share!

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 01, 2016

Wow, good point! I'll see if we can shrink them down.

Mar 02, 2016

I too would like to share - great information here!
But can I get a couple of details so I can put in context:
1. time period this data covers
2. number of accounts this data covers.
Time period in particular sets you up to do a really interesting comparison of before and after the loss of the right hand ads column!

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 03, 2016

Hi Bridget, the "data sources" section at the bottom of the post should answer all your questions. Thanks!

Corey Zeimen
Mar 03, 2016

Very nice graphic.

You guys should do one that breaks down by niche some time, what a link magnet that would be.

I can say if you are even moderately good at writing ad and landing page copy, these benchmark ctr's and conversion rates are very easy to beat. So many people out there are just flying by the seat of their pants.

Jeremy Templer
Mar 03, 2016

Good answers to some frequent questions from advertisers.

I'm curious to know if (1) you restricted data to generic keywords so that results would not be skewed by any well-known brands in your data set and (2) if you see much variance in average CTR and conversion rates in other geographies.


Mark Irvine
Mar 07, 2016

Hi Jeremy,

This data did go through some cleansing to remove advertisers whom were exclusively bidding on their branded terms to prevent that upward skew. Additionally, averages noted here were measured as medians to avoid any one large advertiser from being able to skew the averages.

While these advertisers were all based in the US, we do see differences in performance internationally:

Preston Miller
Mar 04, 2016

Mark, thank you for sharing. I have been trying to find this kind of data for quite a while now. I'm curious to see how Google's recent right rail ad changes will effect CPCs, CPAs, and conversion rates in the future.

Mark Irvine
Mar 07, 2016

Hi Preston,
So far, we haven't seen drastic changes in the performance since the changes last month. The change last month only affected advertisers on desktop, particularly in the lower positions. We've looked into the effects of that change in this post:

The data here is for accounts in all positions on all devices.

Mar 06, 2016

Do these figures include branded keywords or just generic keywords?

Mark Irvine
Mar 07, 2016

The figures omit advertisers whom were exclusively bidding on branded terms.
Averages presented were median values to prevent a large advertiser with particularly good or bad performance from skewing the average.

Mar 08, 2016

amazing job! easy to understand, and very well focussed. thanks a lot.
Miguel Girón

Mar 08, 2016

Greta job! Any accounting for the impact of fraud and bots on CTR?

Mark Irvine
Mar 09, 2016

The data was pulled directly from AdWords, which does have provisions for omitting automated or fraudulent traffic, as opposed to Google Analytics.
Additionally, reported averages are medians to prevent any skew from any account that may have artificially high CTRs due to automatic traffic.

Mar 09, 2016

Very good and practical info! It could be great to have the same info for Canada so we could compare. ;)

Mark Irvine
Mar 09, 2016

Hi Rachel,

We see similar CTRs and CVRs up north in these industries for the most part, but CPCs and CPAs certainly differ.
You may want to check this post out for more information on international CPCs.

On average, we see Canadians pay roughly 29% less than their US peers per click.

Mar 10, 2016

Is the above benchmark is worldwide data ?

If yes, can we have country wise segregation as well ?

Mark Irvine
Mar 14, 2016

Hi Chandan,

The above data is reflective of a sample of US based accounts.
We have some international data in this post:

Mar 15, 2016

These do seem quite low in terms of CPC.

The brand/non-brand split has been mentioned and your response has been "some cleansing to remove advertisers whom were EXCLUSIVELY bidding on their branded terms to prevent that upward skew." (Caps mine)

So if an account had brand/non-brand terms, i.e. not exlusively bidding on just brand, their average CPC would be included in your data set for calculating that metric?

If that is the case, that will certainly have a dampening effect of the reported CPC. Would you agree that is a fair assement?

Mark Irvine
Mar 15, 2016

Yes, those accounts are included in the sample. The median value of all of these accounts is reported as the average CPC here.

Mar 16, 2016

Great info! Passing it on to everyone!

Jason Hulott
Mar 18, 2016

I would be interested in UK centric data or at the very least have finance and insurance split as they are very different animals. Be interesting to see if one or the other is carrying the high conversion rate.

Inez Mahony
Mar 21, 2016

I love this report! Is there any more recent data than Q2 2015 and when are you planning to release the next update?

Mar 23, 2016

How does search look with branded & non-branded segments? Last AdWords click conversion attribution?

Mar 24, 2016

Could you define "CPA"?
Depending on industry or product, the CPA could be a sale, or just a newsletter sign up. I managed many ppc accounts and every client had a different definition of an "action".

Elisa Gabbert
Mar 25, 2016

Cost per action or cost per acquisition, but as you note, the exact definition of "action" is going to vary depending on the business.

Mar 28, 2016

Can you define your "education" industry and what exactly it represents? It is higher education, education and tutoring, etc...? Some clarification on exactly what type of organizations make up each industry would be helpful.

Apr 07, 2016

Any sense of how these CPCs and CTRs compare to prior years? Curious how they might have changed as Google has changed their SEO/SEM formats and rankings.

Apr 12, 2016

Great content, and so well presented! I'm having trouble figuring out under what category we would fall - a residential electrician and heating & cooling contractor? Please advise, as I've not been able to find any benchmarks like these with which to compare our efforts. Thank you!

Elisa Gabbert
Apr 12, 2016

I think that would fall under home services!

Apr 21, 2016

Thank you for sharing so much info. Very useful. We are planning to move our corporation to a different jurisdiction. I was wondering if the effective rates paid by Google depends on the country from which the broadcasting of AdSenses adverts is done. Please advise, since this would be helpful in our decision.

Jun 22, 2016

If you would like to get much from this post then you have to apply these methods to your won weblog.

david Akinwale
May 03, 2016

Nice one. I have to read and read, although I am searching for something and I came across this site

Jun 28, 2016

Is this in US context or global?

Elisa Gabbert
Jun 28, 2016

Just US -- more info in the "data sources" section

Aron G. Katz
Jul 04, 2016

Little bit amazed at the numbers if you take into consideration international values we are still lower (Mexico). Still this is some outstanding info we all shall keep and stick into our office space :)

Vicky Bolivar
Jul 06, 2016

What type of business are include in the 'Industrial Services' industry?

Thank you

Jul 26, 2016

I'd love to see an update on this topic as we've seen ctrs improve by a full percentage point since the right rail was killed off. Curious if the same effect has been observed across the industry.

Sep 09, 2016

FYI. Your implied CPM on google search is $57.42. I don't think so. In general, I think you're numbers skew more favorable to the search network than reality. Just sayin...

Oct 06, 2016

Quantity & Quality of data, i have use the PPC software reaching those number in some industrys, but these report gives me info that it was hard to reach.


Christina Mandico
Nov 07, 2016

Hi Mark,
This article was very helpful for some research I am doing for an ed-tech start-up company. I looked at the education and technology industries, which was very helpful... but is there any way I can access data on subcategories in industries, like tech within education, or education within tech?
Let me know if you are able to share any thoughts or information on this... thank you!

Nov 18, 2016

This is a wonderful infographic article you share with us. Thank you!

Consultoria UFRJ
Nov 20, 2016

Amazing post! It would also be nice to have a volume comparation between the industries.

Dec 16, 2016

I'm confused by one aspect of the infographic. What does the SEARCH portion of the infograph mean? In the context of this discussion, what is Search? I get that Google GDN is Google adworks but what is search?


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